Synopses & Reviews
Excavations in 2006-8 by Museum of London Archaeology on the site of St Giles Court, on the north side of St Giles High Street, Camden, illustrate the development of this London suburb from the medieval period to the early 20th century. Located opposite the parish church of the former medieval leper hospital of St Giles-in-the-Fields, the site was open ground and gardens until the mid-16th century when residential houses were built along the High Street. St Giles was at the heart of London suburban expansion by the mid-17th century. At this time it was a relatively prosperous district, with houses lining the main streets and businesses developing behind, including the Eagle and Child and Hampshire Hog inns. The numerous objects recovered indicate a varied standard of living among the inhabitants. By the late 18th century, the reputation of the St Giles area and its housing had declined and the site lay within the southern core of the area known as the Rookery - a notorious late 18th- and 19th-century slum. However, this study reveals that the area's image may not be entirely matched by reality: it found evidence of contrasting lifestyles, households, and businesses in this period, including a prosperous family brewery, before the area eventually lost its residential character and became almost purely commercial.