Wanstead Flats coronavirus morgue will make way for a meadow


A temporary London mortuary used to store bodies during the height of the coronavirus pandemic is being dismantled to make way for new wildflower habitat.

The site, opened in April at Wanstead Flats in east London, was one of six emergency morgues set up to deal with the deaths.

But as the death rate has dropped, the four-acre site near Epping Forest “will be reseeded with native species” and is expected to open to the public next summer, the City of London Corporation, owner of the land, said. .

Graeme Doshi-Smith, chairman of the Epping Forest and Society Commons committee, said: “While the coronavirus is probably still with us for a long time and we must not be complacent, the withdrawal of the mortuary is a welcome sign the green shoots of normal life are starting to return to our open spaces.

“In the coming weeks, our teams will prepare the soil before sowing the soil with a mixture of wildflower seeds, including seeds collected from neighboring areas of the forest.

“When it grows up, the prairie will provide a rich habitat for visitors and wildlife, and will mark a natural and lasting reminder of those who lost their lives to the coronavirus. ”

The site will be seeded with wild flowers such as sheep sorrel, daisy, knapweed and heather, as well as grasses such as fescues, squash and the rare heather and mats.

The meadow will remain fenced until summer 2021 to allow wildflowers and grasses to grow.

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Chris B. Hall

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