RESTORATION work on several historical sections of the Anglican Chapel at Coventry’s London Road Cemetery has now been completed.
The £1.7million project has seen repairs which have involved removing and replacing damaged stones, cleaning and repairing the weathervane and iconic rose window, and installing new lighting and heating.
New metal gates and a balustrade which resembles the gate’s original features have also been put in at the carriageway entrance and other restoration works include repair works to the Jewish Chapel, the 1871 mortuary room, the Bier Store and Paxton monument.
A range of very skilled craftspeople painstakingly restored important elements of the site including the 1840s Anglican Chapel so it can be enjoyed now and by future generations.
The cemetery is Grade I listed, with many of its buildings Grade II.
It was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton in the 1840s at the height of his career.
Paxton used a rich variety of trees and plants, including some varieties he brought back from a trip to the Americas.
Historic England recognises London Road as one of the top five historic cemeteries in the country.
Coun David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: “London Road cemetery is an important historical site, one which is much loved by local people and highly valued for its heritage value.
“Designed by Joseph Paxton, it is one of the best-preserved Victorian cemeteries in the whole country.
“The past 12 months especially have shown us how important open spaces our for both our mental and physical health, and we hope that people will be able to visit to see the improvements and explore again very soon.”
Coun Patricia Hetherton, Cabinet Member for City Services, said it was wonderful to see the works completed.
“Although it may seem strange to talk about a cemetery as being a relaxing place to take a walk, it’s a really beautiful setting to enjoy some historical architecture and nature, as well as being a peaceful place to pay respects.
“The team will be working with partners, such as Historic Coventry Trust, to deliver joint events and activities.”
They will also be doing work with schools and the local community groups, providing educational activities for visitors and local people while Coventry celebrates its year as UK City of Culture.
“Hopefully many more people will discover this very special place,” added Coun Hetherton.
Anne Jenkins, Midlands and East director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we were delighted to award London Road Cemetery with a grant that not only enabled urgent repairs but will also welcome new visitors, meaning this important heritage will resonate with the community for years to come.”
The improvement works were made possible by a £1.7million National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, along with a grant award from Wolfson Foundation.
Work was delivered by Midland Conservation Ltd.
Parks for People was a programme run by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, which invested £254million in the regeneration of national, regional and local public parks and cemeteries for the benefit of local communities.