Little London Cottages

RECENT letters about Little London cottages aroused considerable interest. I recall to mind 40 very small headstones lined up in St Wendreda’s churchyard, each with a capital ‘C’ depicting cholera and the initials of deceased and the year.

RECENT letters about Little London cottages aroused considerable interest.

I recall to mind 40 very small headstones lined up in St Wendreda’s churchyard, each with a capital ‘C’ depicting cholera and the initials of deceased and the year. There were so many deaths stone masons had no time to incise full names.

To the shame of the church authority and others a few decades ago these headstones were reduced to rubble by the council and used for hard core. The headstones honoured the memory of March’s impoverished paupers. They died in miserable circumstances, one family existing in an upturned cart in White Lion Lane (St Peter’s Road). The destruction of these historic headstones was grossly insensitive.

High Street where several affluent families lived got off lightly. They could afford good food and boiled water before drinking it and using it for hygienic purposes. Even newspapers were ironed before handling. Impoverished pauper families had no choice.


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The only man that cared for them and, at great risk to his health, brought blankets to their bedsides and comforted the dying, was the rector of Doddington, a truly Christian gentleman.

My book BRING OUT YOUR DEAD (out of print) gives fullest details of that terrible period, and how March cleaned up after government intervention.

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Nowadays it seems everything centres on lust for wealth. This can detract from visual areas of history. Little London cottages are visual history and hide a grim secret of debilitating illness and abject poverty.

Perhaps planning departments, conservation societies and dare I say it? speculators will care to re-shape priorities and give equal consideration to the past as well as the present and the future.

TREVOR BEVIS

St Peter’s Road

March

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