‘Magical’ Abney Park Chapel reopens after repair work
The gothic beauty of Abney Park Chapel is now on show to the public again after extensive structural repairs to its roof and stonework.
Situated in the centre of Abney Park, one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries, the Chapel has been in need of repair work since being gutted by fire and vandalism in the 1980s.
The work, which included a new roof, was completed by Hackney Council in partnership with Historic England and jointly funded by both organisations. Hoardings, which have surrounded the Chapel since 2013, have now been removed to display the glory of the building to passers-by.
Abney Park Chapel was designed by William Hosking and is the oldest surviving non-denominational chapel in Europe. It was completed in 1842 and functioned purely as a chapel for funerals – not a place of worship – with its non-denominational design meaning it could be used by anyone.
A ceremony to celebrate the improvements to the Chapel took place last week with the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, cutting the ribbon alongside Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Transport and Parks, Rebecca Barrett from Historic England and some of Abney Park’s proud volunteers.
Our work to restore Abney Park Chapel, which lies at the centre of the cemetery where radicals, anti-slavery campaigners and dissenters are buried, is a testament to our commitment to Hackney’s radical history. We hope that as many people as possible come and immerse themselves in the fascinating history of both the Chapel and the Park.
It’s been a real privilege to help fund a first phase of urgent repairs to the chapel at Abney. The grade II listed chapel, which sits at the heart of the cemetery, has been on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk Register’ for over 25 years. To see it reopened to the community, used and loved once again, is a huge milestone.
Landscape volunteer Lorna Fray, who has been volunteering at the Park for around two years, said: “I think having the Chapel accessible again transforms the Park. People wander around it and find it quite magical.”
Tours of the Chapel take place at 2pm on the first Sunday of every month and meet at the park gates on Stoke Newington High Street.