The Situation: The Dissenters’ Chapel stands in Kensal Green Cemetery, London, a Grade II* open space on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens and a designated conservation area. Along with the Anglican Chapel, the Main Entrance and Colonnade, the Dissenters’ Chapel was designed in Greek Revival style by John Griffith of Finsbury in 1834. By the late 1990s, the building was derelict and subject to vandalism.
Vision/goals: The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery decided to restore the Chapel for community use.They wanted to add an extension on the site of a former maintenance yard, with an exhibition space, kitchen, store and toilets, and upgrade the former vestry into an office. They also planned to restore the historic 1860s paint scheme and reinstate the Chapel furnishings, provide disabled access, better utilities and a burglar alarm. They decided to approach the Historic Chapels Trust, to assist them.
What was the funding strategy? The total cost of the initial project (and subsequent works to 2008), has been £572,000 . The Historic Chapels Trust made over 100 applications on behalf of the Chapel to a range of grant giving bodies, both public and private. Funders included the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, and North Kensington City Challenge.
Were other partners involved? If so, who were they and what was their role? The General Cemetery Company, freeholders of the Chapel, gave a long lease free of charge to the Historic Chapels Trust. The Friends Of Kensal Green Cemetery signed a tenancy agreement with the HCT.
What lessons were learnt? The early arrival of the HLF ensured the subsequent success of the project. Restoration of the Chapel was one of the first cemetery regeneration schemes, and the Chapel has remained financially successful for over a decade.
Outcomes: The main work was started in 1996 and completed in 1997. The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery regularly host events in the Chapel, such as exhibitions and meetings. It provides a base for leading walks and tours in the Cemetery. The Chapel space is available for hire by members of the public. Vandalism has been eradicated.
Social Cohesion: The local community has a valuable public space for all kinds of events, which is regularly used.
Any future plans for the building? To upgrade the heating system in the Chapel.
Many other people may be interested in what you have achieved and may like to get in touch to talk to you or arrange to pay a visit? Are you willing to be contacted and if so, can you give details of a contact person? Chairman of the FOKGC, Barry Smith or Dr Jenny Freeman