In January 2011 Crossrail opened up an archaeological dig at a future construction site for the new project at Stepney Green. The site was opened to the public on Saturday 29 January offering members of the public an unique opportunity to delve into the neighbourhood's history and learn about the environment while it is being uncovered by the Crossrail building works.
A series of visits were also organised for local schools in conjunction with the Museum of London; 260 schoolchildren got to try their hand at some digging and explored two sand boxes filled with artefacts.
The archaeological dig at Stepney Green is necessary to protect and preserve the area’s rich history and is taking place before construction on a ventilation and access shaft for the Crossrail tunnels that will run 30 metres below the site.
Archaeologists have revealed the remains of Worcester House, a manor house constructed by the Marquis of Worcester in 1597 and remains of several other important buildings that occupied the east end of Stepney Green over a 500 year period.
Stepney Green is a fundamental worksite for Crossrail; it is where the railway divides with the southeast spur running underground to Plumstead and then onto Abbey Wood via the Isle of Dogs and the north east spur running underground to Pudding Mill and then onto Shenfield in Essex. Construction of a ventilation shaft for the Crossrail tunnels will begin in the coming weeks.