Temporary mortuaries capable of storing thousands of bodies built in London to cope with rising death toll

Two temporary mortuaries capable of storing thousands of bodies are being built in London to cope with the capital’s rising death toll.

Construction teams were working to finish a mortuary at Wanstead flats, east London. The site is close to the City of London crematorium and cemetery in Manor Park, Newham.

The facility is expected to receive the bodies of patients who die at the NHS Nightingale hospital. The 4,000-bed intensive care unit will open this week in the Excel Centre.

Another mortuary is being set up next to Breakspear Crematorium in Ruislip, west London.

Latest figures revealed 890 people with coronavirus have died in London since the start of the outbreak. The victims included a 13-year-old boy from Brixton.

The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, told residents in an email the Coronavirus Act 2020 gave ministers the power to demand the land.

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. Sadly relatives will not be able to visit the site.


The two new mortuaries are in addition to another temporary facility already set up in Westminster.

Plans are being developed based on possible additional deaths which will create pressures across the capital based on assumptions by Public Health England. Several suitable sites have been identified across London to host additional mortuary space. Construction of these temporary facilities has begun in some boroughs to fulfil the need in their coronial area. The structures will stay in place dependent on need and we will keep the plans under constant review to enable us to scale up or down as required. >

Strategic Coordination Group