The project

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The journey and impact of the Heritage Lottery Fund at Wisbech General Cemetery.

Heritage lottery fund

The Wisbech General Cemetery Project is being undertaken by The Wisbech Society and Preservation Trust with the physical support of The Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery and financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

 

The Wisbech Society has taken an active interest in the fate of the Wisbech General Cemetery since it was closed in 1972.

Project progress

Firstly, a Lease to the Wisbech Society for the 30-year period required by HLF from Fenland District Council, the current owners of the Cemetery and Chapel was finalised and agreed by HLF.

Planning Permission and Listed Building consent for the Grade 2 listed Chapel, subject to some conditions, had been obtained during the Development Stage.

Contractor, North Cambs Developments Ltd., was appointed in December 2017 with a start date of 3rd January 2018 and a completion date of July 2018.

Preliminary work by tree surgeons to trim the trees that had overgrown the Chapel over several decades was carried out in September, after the nesting season had ended, permitting more natural light to penetrate the canopy.

Work on site commenced as scheduled with the careful uplifting to storage of the original sandstone slabs and tiles, 170 years since they were laid.

At the same time ducts to carry the new electrical supply cable, telephone and broadband connection and wastewater pipe were installed in a trench.

On a very rainy day between Christmas and New Year, the plants were dug up and stored by a team of Society members and Friends who later reinstated them.

At the time of writing in February, the access scaffolding has been erected both inside and around the outside of the building and the repair work to the top of the walls and the incorporation of gutters and internal down pipes is under way.

With the addition of the new wooden framed windows and door, the building will then be weather tight for the first time for over 40 years.

All the works are being overseen by the Architects, Brand Associates and to the approval of the FDC Conservation Officer.

In parallel with the construction programme, a great deal of time and progress has been achieved with many of the other project activities including:

  • The orders for the CCTV coverage have been placed

  • The fusion glass artwork for the two small sash windows at the end of the chapel has been designed ready for application

  • The prioritised schedule of repairs to old and vandalised monuments in the vicinity of the Chapel has been prepared and quotations for the work are being obtained

  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission are actively arranging for the provision and placing of 10 new headstones, to mark the final resting places of local soldiers who died of their injuries received in WW1

  • The assembling of the records of the burials continues and very interestingly, the raised profile of the Cemetery through this project is attracting more and more information about the people buried there and their modern-day descendants

The objectives for the General Cemetery Project are:

  1. To conserve, restore and maintain the neoclassical chapel building and create a flexible, usable facility for the local community, available as meeting room, exhibition room, schoolroom, activity room, records storage etc.
  2. To continue and increase the conservation and maintenance of the wider cemetery, including its landscape, monuments and gravestones
  3. To increase awareness and use of the cemetery by all parts of the local community
  4. To improve interpretation and understanding of the site as a significant local historic, cultural and ecological asset.
The objectives for the General Cemetery Project are:

One of our main objectives is to conserve, restore and maintain the neoclassical Chapel building and create a flexible, usable facility for the local community

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Project timeline

April 2013

Lambert’s Walk land purchased

June 2014

Heads of agreement with FDC for lease of Chapel and Cemetery

January 2015

Submission to HLF

April 2015

HLF feasibility grant awarded

April 2016

HLF Round 1 grant awarded

November 2016

HLF Round 2 submission submitted

March 2017

HLF Round 2 grant awarded

August 2017

Permission to start from HLF

January 2018

Building start

March 2018

Website launched

July 2018

Building complete

September 2018

Chapel ready to use

April 2020

Project completion

Volunteers

Volunteers

We always welcome new volunteers to help with conservation work and research of the Wisbech General Cemetery.

 

If you are interested in being a part of the project or would like further information, please get in touch.

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