Offbeat Video

By Joe McFarlane


Deadman’s Island lives up to its name as amateur adventurers discovered human remains on one of its muddy banks.

When friends Simon and Stephen took a hovercraft past the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, at the beginning of 2019, little could they expect what they would find.

As the small river island was used as a burial place for prisoners who perished from disease in the 19th century, coffins were buried six feet below the mud.

Walking along the banks, the adventurous pair came across a pile of bones, including half a dozen jaw bones, ribs, pelvises and a metatarsal.

Simon said: “I felt shocked and saddened. 

“Even though these people are more than likely criminals, they don’t deserve their bodies to be left like this.

“In a perfect world, these would be gathered up and reinterred somewhere.”

As London’s prisons became so overcrowded around 1800, boats were used to house the overflow,

As cholera gripped the crowded vessels, it spread fast, and the victims were buried on the island.

Due to rising sea levels and natural erosion some of the coffins are now being exposed and the remains are on the mud flats in front of the island.

Simon said: “We were very respectful of the environment and didn’t step onto the Island itself.

“All the bones we found were left in situ on the foreshore and we have notified people at the Museum of London.”