Coronavirus: Morgue the size of two football pitches being built in UK
Coronavirus: Morgue the size of two football pitches being built in UK

A morgue the size of two football pitches is being built near the new London hospital for coronavirus patients.

The temporary mortuary is under construction on Wanstead Flats, in Manor Park, east London, near the City of London crematorium and cemetery.

The new 4,000-bed NHS Nightingale Hospital is only a few miles away and patients who pass away at the facility are expected to be taken to the morgue.

It will serve as a holding place for the dead before burials and cremations can go ahead.

Building work on the complex got underway yesterday, with the site set to be ready within a few weeks.

Residents found out about the development in a letter from their Mayor (Image: Peter Macdiarmid/LNP)

Residents near the construction site found out about the development when they received a letter from Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz.

She wrote: “The facility will act as a holding point before a respectful and dignified cremation or burial can take place to send a loved one on their final journey.’

“We know that coronavirus is deadly and so far 1,789 people have died in the UK. We know that the number of deaths will rise.

Contractors prepare the large new morgue facility in East London (Image: Phil Harris)
The new mortuary is near the NHS Nightingale Hospital (Image: Peter Macdiarmid/LNP)

“That is why as part of the Government’s response, additional mortuary space is being found and one of those is Manor Flats in the Manor Park area of Newham.”

The letter said that relatives will not be able to visit the site due to Public Health England guidelines.

She acknowledged that residents would be worried about potentially being infected and provided a FAQ document to help them.

Relatives of the dead will not be allowed to visit the facility (Image: Peter Macdiarmid/LNP)
The barriers have gone up at Wanstead Flats in East London (Image: Phil Harris)

Local resident Joe Clancy, 68, a retired journalist, told Mail Online he only found out a ‘massive morgue’ was being built when he received the letter.

He had previously asked one of the workmen at the site what the project was, although all they knew was that it had some link to the outbreak.

A Flourish chart

Mr Clancy said it was ‘pretty depressing’ to think that potentially tens of thousands of bodies could be stored opposite his home, although he appreciated the difficult situation.

Last week a makeshift mortuary was erected behind Westminster Coroners Court and another is being prepared at an ice rink in Milton Keynes.