Hackney ,

Abney Park Chapel to be brought back to public use


Abney Park Chapel is set to be brought back into use thanks to a collaboration between Hackney Council and Historic England.

Abney Park Chapel, the magnificent 19th century gothic mortuary in Abney Park Cemetery,is undergoing works to stabilise its roof, as well as other repairs to the grade-II listed building to ensure its safety and preservation. Securing loose masonry; replacing missing architectural detail; and reformation of gutters and downpipes are just some of the elements of the work set to begin.

Fire and vandalism gutted the Chapel, currently on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register, in the 1980s, and the Council hoarded off the building in 2012 to protect the public.

Now the Council and Historic England are joint-funding repairs to the Victorian chapel, one of a series of planned projects for the Cemetery.

The work is being spearheaded by the Abney Park Development Board - made up of the Council, Abney Park Trust, ward councillors, Abney Park User Group, London Wildlife Trust and Historic England - which was formed when the Council resumed management of the Cemetery last year.

Immediate plans for Abney Park include the repair, restoration and repainting of the main listed gates at Stoke Newington High Street and gates at Stoke Newington Church Street; repairs to the boundary wall; improvements to the children’s garden; and works to improve the paths, especially those which become water-logged in the winter.

Rebecca Barrett, Heritage at Risk Principal in London for Historic England, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the repair of the mortuary chapel, an imposing gothic revival building which sits at the heart of Abney Park Cemetery.

“We are very pleased to be working so closely with Hackney Council to bring the Chapel back into good repair. With these stabilising works we are one step closer to removing it from the Heritage at Risk Register.”

The Chapel, which sits in the centre of the nonconformist cemetery, was designed by architect William Hosking, the first professor in architecture and civil engineering at King’s College London.

A spokesperson for Abney Park Trust added: "The Trust is delighted that the Chapel, such an important part of Abney's heritage, will be made safe and looks forward to it being brought back into use by the local community."

Historic England was previously known as English Heritage.