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This rectangular timber structure, found during excavations 85 Stepney Way, Whitechapel, could be the remains of the stage of the elusive Red Lion playhouse, the earliest purpose-built Elizabethan playhouse in London. Historical documents tell us a stage and galleried seating were built in land associated with the Red Lion farmhouse in 1567 by John Brayne, who would later go on to construct The Theatre, Shoreditch with his brother-in-law and actor John Burbage.
At 12.27m north-south by 9.27m east-west this timber structure closely matches the dimensions of the stage described in historical lawsuits. The structure was flanked by a series of postholes that may represent the seating. Archaeologists also found building and artefact evidence for the Red Lion itself, a 15th/16th century post-medieval farmhouse that evolved over time into a formal inn.
Investigations are ongoing into this structure and the other archaeological evidence at the site. After 500 years, has the Red Lion finally been found?