Red Lion: Archaeologists ‘find London’s earliest theatre’

Red Lion: Archaeologists 'find London's earliest theatre'

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Archaeology South-East/UCL

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Archaeologists uncovered a rectangular timber framework produced up of 144 surviving timbers

London’s earliest playhouse could have been learned at a housing redevelopment in Whitechapel, archaeologists have mentioned.

The Purple Lion was thought to be the initial intent-created theatre of the Elizabethan era but its spot has extended been disputed.

Timber buildings, artefacts and properties were located throughout excavations in Stepney Way, east London, very last 12 months.

Archaeologist Stephen White explained it as an “extraordinary” discovery.

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Excavations took place ahead of housing progress is effective commenced at 85 Stepney Way

The Pink Lion is assumed to have been developed in about 1567 by John Brayne, forward of his development of The Theatre in Shoreditch, which he concluded with James Burbage in 1576.

Burbage was a member of performing company The Lord Chamberlain’s Guys and The Theatre was the 1st permanent dwelling for performing troupes, staging a youthful William Shakespeare’s plays in the 1590s.

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Archaeology South-East/UCL

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Archaeologists have designed a map of what they feel the website appeared like

Little is recognised about the Crimson Lion, with contemporary aspects limited to two lawsuits in 1567 and 1569 that mentioned “the crimson lyon” and “a farme residence”, which experienced an outdoor phase and seating.

In January 2019, archaeologists commenced to uncover a rectangular timber composition created up of 144 surviving timbers, with postholes about it, which could have been “scaffolds” or galleried seating.

The website measures 12.3m (40ft) by 9.3m (31ft) and closely matches the dimensions stated in the lawsuits, gurus mentioned.

The excavations ended up carried out by Archaeology South-East, section of UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, in advance of constructing get the job done began at 85 Stepney Way.

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Archaeology South-East/UCL

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Two beer cellars which had been imagined to be component of the advanced ended up found out

Mr White, who directed the do the job, mentioned: “Immediately after practically 500 yrs, the remains of the Red Lion playhouse, which marked the dawn of Elizabethan theatre, may well have last but not least been observed.

“The strength of the merged proof – archaeological continues to be of properties, in the proper locale, of the correct time period – look to match up with properties of the playhouse recorded in early documents.”

Buildings from the 15th and 16th Century that had been more made around the upcoming 100 yrs have been also found in the north-east corner of the internet site.

Industry experts said they considered these could have been element of the Red Lion Inn, which is assumed to have been developed from a farmstead on the web-site.

Two beer cellars, beakers, bottles and tankards were being learned among the the stays.

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Archaeology South-East/UCL

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A late 17th Century tavern mug with a Royalist medallion of Charles II was located amongst beakers and tankards at the internet site

The Theatre and The Curtain playhouses have been identified in the course of the earlier decade for the duration of excavations in Shoreditch, though the Boar’s Head has been found in Aldgate.

Emily Gee, from Historic England, reported the most recent discovery was “tantalising”.

She included the group would “proceed to perform closely with the developer to interpret these archaeological continues to be and display screen them”.

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About the author: Cory Weinberg

"Student. Subtly charming organizer. Certified music advocate. Writer. Lifelong troublemaker. Twitter lover."

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