The first programme of community events and activities has been launched following the £1.7 million restoration of Coventry’s London Road Cemetery.
The Autumn Winter Programme features a series of seasonal events at the refurbished Grade I listed London Road Cemetery, which was designed by Joseph Paxton as an arboretum in 1847. It is recognised by Historic England as one of the top five historic cemeteries in the country.
The major work – which has been led by Historic Coventry Trust – has involved removing and replacing damaged stones, cleaning and repairing the weathervane and iconic rose window, and installing new lighting and heating.
New metal gates and a balustrade which resembles the gate’s original features have been added at the carriageway entrance and the Jewish Chapel, the 1871 mortuary room, the Bier Store and Paxton monument have also been restored.
Historic Coventry Trust, Coventry City Council and Friends of London Road Cemetery have been involved in the restoration project which was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.
The centrepiece is the Anglican Chapel which was completed in 1847 and designed in a Norman style by Joseph Paxton along with his architectural assistants George Robertson and George Henry Stokes.
It has now had an underfloor heating system installed that is powered by an eco-friendly air-sourced heat pump which was funded by Coventry City Council’s Cultural Capital Investment Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.
‘Immortalising Nature in stitch with Michala Gyetvai’ will start the first Autumn Winter Programme funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Heritage Community Fund, part of the Parks for People programme. Visitors will take inspiration from the trees in the arboretum and stitch their own patterns reflecting the natural environment.
There is a Halloween Weekender Special with a film screening of Night of the Living Dead on Friday, October 28 at 7pm along with Do Touch – Monsters on Sunday, October, 30 between 11am and 4pm which is a sensory soft play date with interactive friendly monsters by Julia Snowdin.
Other highlights include Christmas Wreath Making on Sunday, December 4 and Wednesday, December 7 from 11am–2pm when Charterhouse head gardener Gianni Antoniazzi will teach visitors how to make foraged wreaths and festive panettone, and a Festive Heritage Open Day on Saturday, December 17 between 11am–4pm to drop-in for Christmas cracker making, community spirit and festive cheer.
Sarah Allen, Education and Engagement Manager at Historic Coventry Trust, said all the events were either free or highly subsidised:
“It is fantastic the final piece of the restoration jigsaw has been finished now the underfloor heating is up-and-running at the Anglican Chapel in advance of our Autumn Winter Programme.
“The events will change as the seasons progress and this is a wonderful time of the year to start it with the rich colours of the leaves and the changes in the weather during autumn.
“We are really excited about the wide range of community events and activities that we have lined-up to appeal to people of all ages.
“It is a wonderful setting within the Anglican Chapel which I’m sure will inspire everyone during their arts and crafts and wellbeing sessions.
“The Anglican Chapel is already working well for visual art installations of varying scales, exhibitions, and screenings. Over time, we want this to establish it as an eclectic, flexible, warm and welcoming space to escape to outside of the city centre.”
For full details of the Autumn Winter Programme and to book tickets, please visit: https://www.historiccoventrytrust.org.uk/whats-on/