Gravestones and chapel to get a make over and records go digital thanks to Lottery funding for Wisbech cemetery

PUBLISHED: 13:07 19 June 2017

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

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Wisbech Society marked Civic Day with a reception at Wisbech General Cemetery to celebrate a £303,800 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to preserve the cemetery’s chapel and monuments.

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

Opened in 1836, the General Cemetery is nationally significant as one of very few non-denominational burial places in English towns and cities during Victorian times.

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

It is also the resting place of several people of local significance.

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

Now the Society is preparing for the next stage in its ambitious plans for the site, including an extensive restoration of the chapel, equipping it to modern standards for a wide variety of community and educational activities.

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

Working with the Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery, Wisbech Society will also repair and restore gravestones, and co-ordinate the digitisation of cemetery records. In addition, a booklet detailing its history will be produced.

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

The total cost of works to the chapel will be £351,600 and the Society has pledged £15,000 towards this from its own resources. The Robert Hall Charity has also kindly offered £10,800, and the value of volunteer time contributions amounts to £19,000.

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

In its HLF submission, the Society committed to raise a minimum of £3,000 by way of a general appeal – Civic Day offers the ideal opportunity to begin the effort. It’s hoped that this minimum sum is exceeded so that even more work can be completed in the cemetery, further preserving this important part of Wisbech’s heritage.

National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter National Civic Day at Wisbech General Cemetery PHOTOS: Ian Carter

Members of the Society’s project team, and Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery, will be on hand between 2 and 4pm on the 17th, explaining the project and detailing the work that’s about to commence. Visitors will be free to walk around the cemetery at their leisure, taking in its uniquely atmospheric setting.

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