CONSTRUCTING A BIG school building is a grave matter, nowhere more so than in one of central London's historic precincts.
When the bulldozers and diggers moved in to excavate the foundations of St Marylebone School's new buildings, the first task was to move the remains of 3,000 bodies buried in an 18th-century cemetery. Among them were George Stubbs, the painter, and Charles Wesley, the Methodist preacher.
Wesley's skeleton, which unlike most of the others was in a coffin, was reinterred under his nearby memorial stone. Archaeologists from the Museum of London said the graveyard was in use between 1750 and 1850, when Marylebone was fashionable, attracting sophisticates ranging from Continental aristocrats fleeing the French revolution to a bare knuckle boxer.
The new secondary school buildings, featuring an underground performing arts and sports complex where the citizens of London once rested, were opened last week by Lord Puttnam, the film director.
Pupils using the arts complex can rest assured they are not dancing on people's graves.