Historic parks and cemeteries have received £26.5m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme.
The funding will help restore and open up 15 parks and cemeteries across the UK, including £3.7m to refurbish the Grade I registered Brompton Cemetery in West London. The cemetery is the final resting place of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, John Keats’ muse Fanny Brawne and inventor of the Christmas card, Henry Cole.
Carole Souter, chief executive of HLF, said: ‘Eighteen years of Lottery investment in our public parks has transformed tired and in some cases under used green spaces into thriving community hubs. Our historic cemeteries, with their wealth of heritage, also offer huge untapped potential and we’re delighted now to include them specifically in this programme.’
Bexley LBC also secured almost £3.5m of lottery funding to improve local historic park Lesnes Abbey Woods (pictured above). The money will be used to improve access and facilities across the 88-hectare site in south east London.
Bexley’s cabinet member for environment and public realm, Cllr Gareth Bacon, said: ‘The grant will allow the council to implement a project worth £4.2m that will deliver a wide range of stunning improvements to this wonderful site, creating an enriched experience for today’s visitors and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.’
The HLF will be publishing a report in the spring, looking at the current state and challenges of the UK’s public parks.