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Prehistory, Playhouses and the Public: London's Planning Archaeology

Adam Single and Louise Davies

Cite this as: Single, A. and Davies, L. 2021 Prehistory, Playhouses and the Public: London's Planning Archaeology, Internet Archaeology 57.


Excavation works. © MOLA
Excavation works. © MOLA

Three recent examples of public benefit following archaeological discoveries in London are presented, alongside an explanation of the policy context that supports them. The examples are provided from the perspective of planning archaeologists, who advise decision makers and developers on managing archaeological sites in compliance with local and national policy.

The cases illustrate ad hoc public benefits secured following surprise discoveries at an excavation in Tottenham, as well as long-term benefits resulting from staged investigation and negotiation of two Elizabethan playhouses in Shoreditch and Aldgate. We discuss issues around encouraging and operating permanent visitor attractions and how to best secure the benefits deriving from those places through the UK planning system. We suggest some ways for this young field to develop further.

  • Google Scholar
  • Keywords: London, development control, planning conditions, public benefit, public outreach, Elizabethan playhouses, attractions, economics
  • Accepted: 6 Jan 2021. Published: 17 Mar 2021
  • Funding: The publication of this article is funded by the European Archaeological Council.
  • PDF download (main article text only)

Author: Adam Single
Historic England

Author: Louise Davies
Historic England

Full text

Figure 1: School children on site. © Pre Construct Archaeology

Figure 2: Explaining artefacts. © Pre Construct Archaeology

Figure 3: Excavation works. © MOLA

Figure 4: Excavated floor tiles. © MOLA

Figure 5: Exhibition space on the ground floor. © Nissen Richards Studio

Figure 6: Exterior of new development. © Gallus Studio

Figure 7: Excavation phase. © GLAAS

Figure 8: Tudor walls of the Boar's Head. © MOLA

Figure 9: GLAAS' Archaeological model of survival and significance. © Historic England

Figure 10: Exhibition space. © ArchitecturePLB

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Frearson, D. 2018 Supporting Community Archaeology in the UK Results of a 2018 Survey, Council for British Archaeology Research Bulletin 6.

Knight, H. 2013 4-6 New Inn Broadway London EC2A 3PR A Post Excavation Assessment, Unpublished. Museum of London Archaeology.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 2012 (revised 2019) National Planning Policy Framework

Reilly, S., Nolan, C. and Monckton, L. 2018 Wellbeing and the Historic Environment, Historic England

Simpson, F. and Williams, H. 2018 'Evaluating community archaeology in the UK', Public Archaeology 7(2), 69-90.

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