What’s So Special About This Place?
The Lye and Wollescote Cemetery Chapels are a rare surviving example of two chapels within a single building, comprising identical Anglican and one Non-Conformist chapels. These handsome red brick and slate roofed Gothick style chapels lie at the heart of the formally landscaped grounds, surrounded by the burials of many generations of local people making this an important local and national asset.
Why Were The Buildings Under Threat?
The Chapels closed for use in the 1993, after a fire in the Anglican chapel, and the condition of the buildings deteriorated rapidly. Local people were concerned, not only about the state of the chapels, but that fact that the dereliction was attracting anti-social behaviour, leaving family graves broken and the local area blighted.
How Was It Saved?
It took West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust ten years of fund raising and negotiations to secure a sustainable new use for the buildings. Working with former owners, Dudley Council, a Community Asset Transfer to WMHBT was agreed and funding secured from HLF and others to convert the chapels to secular uses that could generate income and jobs.
Project: Lye and Wollescote Cemetery Chapels
Client: West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust
Grade II Listed
New Use: Stourbridge Registration Office
Find out more at www.lyeandwollescote.info
Architect: Hayward, Brownhill and Brown, Architects
Quantity Surveyor: Graham Hale and Co
Structural Engineer: Hancock, Wheeldon and Ascough
Project co-ordinator: David Trevis Smith, WMHBT
Other project funders
Heritage Lottery Fund £1,025,000
Dudley MB Council £25,000
William A Cadbury £500
William Morris Charitable Trust £1,600
Sylvia Waddilove Foundation £20,000
Charitable Trust donations £2,000
How Is The Building Used Now?
The Chapels are now leased by WMHBT to the local registry office for civil ceremonies. One chapel is dedicated to weddings, whilst the other chapel houses offices for staff on a mezzanine gallery in the roof and meeting rooms, which can be used by the local community. The project has been the focus for much community involvement, especially for research, interpretation and other heritage activities. Parking has been improved and the restoration of the building also encouraged the formation of a friends group whose dedication at weekend working parties has transformed the once overgrown cemetery into a calm and beautiful setting for the restored building.
How Did The AHF Help?
The support of AHF has been key to development of this project, especially at the early stages of development. It first offered funding in 2006 towards a feasibility study, which identified potential uses. This was followed by both a Project Administration Grant and a Project Organiser Grant, which enabled the project to get to the stage of bidding for HLF and other monies. Once capital funds had been confirmed, an AHF working capital loan was used to underwrite the project costs during construction, which was completed in October 2015.