Skeletons: London’s Buried Bones

  • Exhibition
Photograph of a family looking at a display case showing one of the skeletons that formed part of the Skeletons: London’s Buried Bones exhibition at Wellcome Collection.
Skeletons: London’s Buried Bones exhibition, Dave Sayer. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Drawn from the Museum of London’s collection of 17,000 skeletons spanning 16 centuries, this exhibition examined the bones of some of those who lived, died and were buried in our city.

The skeletons reflected London’s rich past and varied social geography: from the affluent district of Chelsea to the Cross Bones cemetery in Southwark, believed to have been established originally as a graveyard for prostitutes. Through careful forensic analysis by the team at the Museum, each skeleton revealed its own story, offering fascinating insights into the times in which it lived and the major health hazards of the day – syphilis, smallpox and rickets.