Published Friday, 19 March 2021
A £1.7m project to restore several historical sections of London Road Cemetery has been completed.
The work has seen repairs to the Anglican Chapel, removing and replacing damaged stones, cleaning and repairing the weathervane and iconic rose window, and new lighting and heating installed.
New metal gates and a balustrade which resembles the original features have been installed 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.
The cemetery is Grade I listed, with many of its buildings being Grade II listed, and 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 trees he had brought back from a trip to the Americas. Historic England recognises London Road Cemetery as one of the top five historic cemeteries in the country.
Councillor 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. And now thanks to this investment I hope we have safeguarded its future for years to come.
“A range of very skilled craftspeople have painstakingly restored important elements of the site including the Anglican Chapel dating back to the 1840s. This means the site will be enjoyed not just for today, but for future generations as well.
“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.”
Councillor Patricia Hetherton, Cabinet Member for City Services, said: “It’s wonderful to see the works at London Road cemetery 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, providing lots of educational activities for visitors and local people, which is especially wonderful as we celebrate our year as UK City of Culture. Hopefully many more people will discover this very special place.”
The improvement works came in thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £1.7m, alongside a grant award from Wolfson Foundation, with the work being 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 £254m in the regeneration of national, regional and local public parks and cemeteries for the benefit of local communities.