Council seeks lottery funding for Abney Park restoration

Abney Park Chapel, in the cemetery grounds Pic: Victoria Brush

Hackney Council is seeking help from the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue restoring Abney Park cemetery, one of London’s magnificent seven cemeteries.

Current restoration plans consist of improving the chapel and main paths throughout the park, updating the landscape around the chapel and bettering the accessibility of entrances and footpaths.

It has been reported that this second appeal for funding will help the council reach their overall goal of £5m for the whole restoration project.

A new café will also be added, as well as improving the listed lodges alongside the Stoke Newington High Street entrance.

The chapel’s roof has already been restored in the first phase of the project, as well as extensive stabilisation works to the spire.

The project hopes to revamp and conserve certain areas of the park which was abandoned by Abney Park Cemetery Company in the 1970s after it went into administration.

The statue of Dr Isaac Watts has been in the park since 1845 Pic: Victoria Brush

Councillor Feryal Demirci, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for health, social care, transport and parks, said: “Local people and those visiting from further afield will be able to fully engage with Abney Park and its heritage; be that as a nature reserve, a historic landscape, a place of remembrance or as a local park”.

The council previously received £21,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This began a separate project, led by volunteers from the local community, to research, map and learn about the people buried when the park operated as an active cemetery from 1840 to the late 1970s.

The restoration will also increase the number of events hosted by Abney Park’s volunteers.

The entrance to the Abney Park Cemetery Pic: Victoria Brush

The memorial park is one of London’s most central tranquil woodlands, popular with runners, dog walkers and wildlife. It offers guided walks, lessons in carving and chiselling spoons and nature walks throughout the 30-acre park.

Abney Park has approximately 600,000 graves plots. There are approximately 30,000 headstones and 200,000 people laid to rest, including William and Catherine Booth, the founders of The Salvation Army.

The work is scheduled to be completed by 2022.

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