Lye and Wollescote Cemetery Chapels
Location: Stourbridge, West Midlands
FormerOwner: Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
The West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust (WMHBT) is bringing the redundant Lye and Wollescote Cemetery Chapels near Stourbridge back into use. The chapels were previously owned by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.
After they closed in 1993 the buildings suffered from deterioration and the effects of anti-social behaviour. A Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant enabled the trust to take full ownership in March 2014.
The WMHBT has received a £1.025m grant from HLF to conserve the Grade II Lye and Wollescote Chapels (1879). Part of a Victorian cemetery in the style of a landscaped park, are a rare surviving example of two chapels within a single building, comprising identical Anglican and non-conformist chapels.
The £1.15m scheme aims to create a new life for these chapels by providing a 'new' registrar venue for civil ceremonies. In addition to saving these important buildings, learning, heritage-based activities and interpretation will complement their conservation and re-use.
A successful model
Some 40 activities were included in the Activity Plan and 18 are now being delivered.
- Engaging a local professional glass artist to work with a group of secondary school pupils, students from the Ruskin Glass Centre and members of the local community to prepare new coloured glass windows to augment existing plain glass in the chapels;
- Producing a video diary and photographic record of the conservation involving media from students from Birmingham Metropolitan College working with local primary schools;
- Commissioning a 10-year maintenance and management plan for the cemetery as a first step to obtaining a Green Flag Award;
- During the centenary of the First World War, writing, researching, designing and publishing a highly illustrated book telling the story of the 29 soldiers connected with the cemetery (15 are buried here in Commonwealth War Graves, while the names of 14 others killed in action appear on family graves and memorials);
- Producing an interpretive exhibition to complement the book, which will be demountable for location in various venues including Lye Library, Dudley Archives, schools and community centres.
The conservation contract began in October 2014 and lasted for seven months.