One of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries, West Norwood is to be renovated following the award of a £4.6 million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
One of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries, West Norwood was established in 1836 to relieve the overcrowding in small parish graveyards caused by the huge increases in the capital’s population during the 19th century.
The Grade II* listed cemetery was also the first in the UK to be designed in the Gothic Revival style.
It has become run down in recent years and many of the cemetery’s 69 listed monuments are currently at risk. In 2018, two listed monuments were found to be at risk of collapse and a 5cm crack appeared in St Stephen’s Chapel.
Alongside the monument restoration work, two new entrances will be created and pathways and walls will be repaired. St Stephen’s Chapel will be restored and the cemetery’s lodge will be extended, transforming both into spaces for visitor and community activity.
West Norwood Cemetery is also an invaluable wildlife haven for London’s urban critters, with bats, stag beetles, woodpeckers and tawny owls living among veteran oak and lime trees. Increased management will enhance the cemetery’s biodiversity and see more people engaging with nature.
The £4.6m National Lottery money has been jointly awarded by HLF and the Big Lottery Fund. Lambeth Council will also contribute £2m, bringing the total investment to £6.7m.
Work will commence in April 2019 and last for five years.
The Friends of West Norwood Cemetery hold general tours on the first Sunday of every month, special themed tours of the cemetery during the summer.