Abney Park’s historic chapel will be brought back into use as a venue after Hackney Council was awarded £4.4m by the National Lottery to improve the park.
As part of the improvements, an environmentally friendly heat pump will be installed in the park to provide heat and hot water to the park’s new buildings.
The Council will contribute an additional £710,000 to the National Lottery funding, which will bring total investment to over £5m.
Philip Glanville, mayor of Hackney said:
“We’re committed to investing in our parks and green spaces – of which a record 27 have green flags – so we can encourage more people to come and enjoy their incredible variety, history and biodiversity. High quality green spaces are not only beautiful, but a vital common resource that improve wellbeing, help us respond to climate change and bring communities together. We’re thrilled to have been awarded this funding to protect and improve Abney Park Cemetery, which has a special place in the hearts of people in Hackney. Radicals, anti-slavery campaigners and dissenters all form part of its incredible history, which the new cafe, classroom and restored chapel will help to open up to more people and generate income towards the ongoing improvement of the park”.
Abney Park is one of Hackney’s 58 green spaces. It is listed as a Grade II park on Historic England’s register of parks and gardens of historic interest. It covers 12.5 hectares and is located between Stoke Newington Church Street and Stoke Newington High Street.
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 – with its non-denominational design meaning it could be used by anyone.