Abney Park restoration progresses with new accessible ramps on Church Street entrance

The Abney Park restoration has progressed further with new accessible ramps and wider footpaths being introduced to the Church Street entrance in Stoke Newington.

The restoration project began in September 2021 and is part of a two year effort by the Abney Park Trust and Hackney Council, aided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to save the space.

The restoration will include a new café, community classrooms, and workshop spaces.

It will also include work on the Grade II listed chapel at the centre, which is the oldest surviving non-denominational chapel in Europe.

Once restored, the chapel will host music performances, poetry readings, and occasional weddings.

Abney Park is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries built in Victorian London after overcrowding meant new cemetery space had to be made.

Some of the others include Highgate Cemetery, Brompton, and Kensal Green.

Abney Park is distinguished as being one of the only cemeteries to have also been planted as an arboretum, which gives it the appearance to some people of an eerie forest and to others as a calm haven away from the high street.

Sam Schaeffer, 30, producer, said: “I live nearby and come here all the time.

“It puts me in such a different head-space and really makes me reflect on where I am in a grounding way.

“It’s important to have places like this around.”

The park was Hackney’s first designated nature reserve and biodiversity has been planned into the future of the park with grass roofs being installed on the buildings.

Featured image credit: Nick Ogris

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