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Newbury - Newtown Road Cemetery Grand-Reopening - Sunday 6th April 2014

Started by Administrator, March 29, 2014, 10:00:29 am

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Newbury - Newtown Road Cemetery Grand-Reopening - Sunday 6th April 2014

Newtown Road Cemetery has undergone significant refurbishment works over the last few years and is now fully open to the public as opposed to only by appointment.

Ground levelling and refurbishment work started in 2009. The historic chapel was refurbished inside and out to ensure the building was water tight and an electrical supply was established. The pathways have since been restored to provide safe access. Benches have been located around the cemetery to allow members of the public to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the area. New matching steel gates were installed to replace the wooden gates at the south end of the cemetery and the main gates and railing repaired and repainted.

Newbury Town Council is indebted to Sovereign Housing Association who granted a significant sum to assist with the overall costs.

During the summer of 2013 the Chapel's beautiful stained glass window was fully restored by Chapel Studio Stained Glass Limited.

An entry was discovered in the Newbury Weekly News, 25 March 1875 which stated that 'the window was installed as a memorial to the late Henry Godwin Esq. The subject is 'The Resurrection' which has been treated with great beauty and effect. Messers Heaton, Butler and Bayne were the artists employed'.

The window was in a fragile state with many holes and cracks. It has been restored and treated according to the procedures of Conservation and Restoration stipulated by English Heritage and the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi, an international body responsible for setting and maintaining standards in the protection of stained glass. We aimed to retain the original appearance of the window in every respect, keeping the original materials wherever possible.

The fully refurbished window was installed in November and the result of the works are magnificent.

Newbury Town Council has worked closely with the "Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery" to develop initiatives and create a number of historic tours for members of the public. The friends have created a website: www.fnrcnewbury.org.uk where families from all over the world are tracing relatives.

Wildlife and history information boards have been designed and installed so that visitors can recognise some of the flora and fauna which can be found at the cemetery and learn about its rich history.

The Mayor of Newbury, Cllr Anthony Pick will officially open the Cemetery at a grand opening event to be held on Sunday 6 April 2014 at 11am.

Julian Swift-Hook, Leader of the Council said, "The Newtown Road Cemetery was closed in 2000 for the Health & Safety of the public. Since that time it has undergone a great deal of works, and, together with the support of the Newtown Road Cemetery Friends Group, it is now a resource available to residents and visitors of Newbury. The newly refurbished Chapel is beautiful and the area is perfect for quiet contemplation whilst wandering this historical site."   

The Friends of the Cemetery will be conducting informative tours throughout the day, and offering a 'Find-a-Grave' service for those seeking the final resting place of their ancestors