It featured in the Bond film 'GoldenEye', is the final resting place of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and many say it inspired the names of characters in Beatrix Potter's books. Now, Brompton Cemetery, managed by The Royal Parks (TRP), is to receive £3.7 million of restoration money from The Big Lottery Fund and The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), it was announced today.
Spread over 39 acres, its historical significance, architectural splendour and the abundance of wildlife found there, attract visitors in their thousands every year.
The grant will contribute to the refurbishment of key monuments and memorials, the building of an information centre and restoring the landscape to better reflect the original design. Other aims of the conservation project include preserving the wildlife habitat, increasing educational activities, and repairing the Grade II* listed domed chapel for its conversion to an events and education space.
A stone's throw from Chelsea Football Club, the cemetery dates back to 1840 and is a member of the 'Magnificent Seven', a moniker given to the seven large London cemeteries built in the Victoria era to cater for the rapidly growing population in the Capital. Designed by Benjamin Baud, the garden cemetery is Grade I listed on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It has a formal layout, with a central avenue leading to a chapel built in the style of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.
Greg McErlean, Director of Projects at The Royal Parks said:
"We are delighted that our bid has been successful. Our proposals are reflective of the close work undertaken with the Friends of Brompton Cemetery and the local community to ensure Brompton Cemetery gets the sustainable future that its rich history deserves."
Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said on behalf of HLF and the Big Lottery Fund:
"Eighteen years of Lottery investment in our public parks has transformed tired and in some cases under used green spaces into thriving community hubs. Our historic cemeteries, with their wealth of heritage, also offer huge untapped potential and we're delighted now to include them specifically in this programme."
Arthur Tait, Chairman of the Friends of Brompton Cemetery said:
"We are pleased to be part of the Brompton Cemetery Conservation Project and thrilled by the announcement. The Lottery grant will ensure generations to come can enjoy the history and elegance of this remarkable Victorian cemetery."