Restoration of roofless Wisbech General Cemetery chapel receives £23,700 boost from Heritage Lottery Fund

The Wisbech General Cemetery chapel.

The Wisbech General Cemetery chapel. - Credit: Archant

The restoration of Wisbech General Cemetery chapel has received a big-money boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Wisbech General Cemetery.

The Wisbech General Cemetery. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech Society has received initial support of £23,700 from the Lottery Fund, which, coupled with funds from the society and the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, will help towards the £300,000 needed to complete the project.

A total of £26,000 has been raised so far, meaning that Wisbech Society can proceed to a fully developed application.

Success at the second stage would release more funding from the Heritage Lottery, which would help refurbish the chapel which has been roofless for many years since its closure in over 30 years ago.

The chapel was built in 1848 at a cost of £412, but has fallen into a state of disrepair since it closed in 1972.

Using a £1,500 grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund, Wisbech Society completed a study that outlined the practicality of restoring the chapel as a space providing modern indoor facilities, especially for the benefit of local schools and as a community meeting place.

A spokesman for Wisbech Society said: “Historically important as one of very few non-denominational cemeteries established in Victorian times, the General Cemetery became the final resting place of several locally significant people. It has also become a haven for wildlife and rare plants, doubling its value to the town as a conservation area close to its centre.

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“Working hand-in-hand with the Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery, Wisbech Society will also make the burial records of those interred available digitally. The intention is to provide a resource for researchers and historians, who will also be able to use the restored chapel as a centre for visiting the cemetery.”