If you’ve visited Wrexham cemetery on Ruabon Road over the past couple of years you’ll have noticed a lot of restoration work going on.

This was all thanks to a £1.5 million National Lottery grant (through the Heritage Lottery Fund) which was used to conserve the listed buildings, refurbish the listed fencing and entrances and research and display the history of the site.

The cemetery is thought to be one of the finest examples of a Victorian cemetery in Wales with a well preserved “gardenesque” landscape which was typical of the time it was built in the 1870s at a cost of £5,000.

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“Listed grade 2 area”

It is on the register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Wales and is a listed grade 2 area. At the time of the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund the buildings were on the buildings at risk and were in need of restoration and improvement.

The funding provided the opportunity for the necessary works to take place and Cllr David A Bithell, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, thanked National Lottery players when the opening took place. He said: “Without the generous funding of National Lottery players these beautiful buildings would still be at risk and the history of those buried here would be a mystery to us all. I would like to pass on my thanks to everyone who buys a National Lottery ticket, and to everyone involved with this great project.”

“Important Victorian landmark preserved”

Malcolm Smith, Heritage Lottery Fund Committee Member, said: “This has been a truly fascinating restoration project and the finished cemetery that we can see today is the result of a lot of hard work over a number of years. Without people playing the National Lottery this just wouldn’t have been possible, and Wrexham wouldn’t now have this important Victorian landmark preserved for their community and future generations. Thank you National Lottery players.”

All the work has now been completed and the Grade 2 listed East Chapel was unveiled by the Mayor of Wrexham, Cllr Andy Williams, at a short ceremony recently. After a tour of the restoration and conservation works The Mayor said: “It’s been a very impressive project and the work has been completed to a very high standard. Everyone should be very proud of the work undertaken and the legacy they have left in the community.”

“Huge project for the area”

The community involvement, which played a large part in the National Lottery funding bid, will continue through the work of the Cemetery Development Officer to create a strong link with the local community. Local Member, Cllr Alun Jenkins, said: “The cemetery has been a huge project for the area and everyone involved has shown genuine commitment and passion for the cemetery and I look forward to finding out even more about who is buried here and their significance to the local area. The enthusiastic support of the National Lottery has been very much appreciated and I would like to thank them as without their help this project would never have gone ahead.”

A vote of thanks was also given by the Parks, Countryside and Rights of Way Lead, Martin Howorth who paid tribute to the hard work of the Harrison Design Development, Robin Bayliss and Lawray Architects who ensured the high standards set by the Heritage Lottery Fund were met.

Thanks also went to Grosvenor Construction, Flintshire Fabrications and their contractors for delivering a refurbished cemetery that will last for many years to come.

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