Abney Park Chapel reopens to the public after huge renovation project

Mayor Phil Glanville, Cllr Feryal Demirci and Rebecca Barrett from Historic England with Abney Park

Mayor Phil Glanville, Cllr Feryal Demirci and Rebecca Barrett from Historic England with Abney Park volunteers. Picture: Sean Pollock - Credit: Archant

Abney Park Chapel has reopened to the public after a huge renovation project restored the 19th century Gothic mortuary to its former glory.

Mayor Phil Glanville, Cllr Feryal Demirci and Abney Park mangager Tom Simpson in the chapel. Picture

Mayor Phil Glanville, Cllr Feryal Demirci and Abney Park mangager Tom Simpson in the chapel. Picture: Sean Pollock - Credit: Archant

The chapel, in one of London’s “magnificent seven” cemeteries, was gutted by fire and vandalism in the 1980s and fell into disrepair.

But now a new roof has been installed by Hackney Council and Historic England, and the hoarding which has covered the building for four years has been taken down.

Mayor Phil Glanville said: “Our work to restore the chapel at the centre of the cemetery where radicals, anti-slavery campaigners and dissenters are buried, is a testament to our commitment to Hackney’s radical history.

“We hope as many people as possible come and immerse themselves in the fascinating history.”

The inside of the restored Abney Park Chapel. Picture: Sean Pollock

The inside of the restored Abney Park Chapel. Picture: Sean Pollock - Credit: Archant

Abney Park Chapel was designed by William Hosking and is the oldest surviving non-denominational chapel in Europe. It was completed in 1842 and functioned purely as a chapel for funerals – not a place of worship. The graveyard has featured in numerous music videos, most notably Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.

Rebecca Barrett of Historic England said the reopening was a huge milestone and it had been on the organisations at risk register for 25 years.

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