The Friends of London Road Cemetery have recently published their latest newsletter and a very interesting read it is. The following update is taken from that newsletter with the kind permission of Ian Woolley the Chairman and author.
Restoration Work Continues.
The restoration work within the Cemetery continues with the main contractors Midland Conservation Limited (MCL) having to contend with some very heavy rain fall at times in the last couple of months leading to concerns over the state of the roadways with excess mud being left behind. This was quickly acted on by the contractors by bringing in a sweeper unit which is taken around the site at the end of each day’s work.
The Paxton Memorial has been treated to a steam clean from top to toe, with pointing work being carried out and a few minor repairs in the process. All of the steps that surround the base of the Memorial were removed and new brick foundations installed. When removing the steps the contractors discovered three time capsules in glass bottles, the first from 1847 when it was installed. The second from 1925 when repair work had taken place, this gave the most information telling us that the work was done by Taylors an old Coventry stonemasons family. The third was from 1976 when some more restoration was needed. All three were returned into the stonework along with the names of the people from MCL who worked on this most recent restoration and a couple of FOLRC newsletters.
The Anglican Chapel has undergone a complete makeover with more work needed on the spire than first thought and complete new sections of stone being installed. All the windows have had a full restoration treatment with new leading and the stained glass items being sent off site, they are now back in place. At one point it was doubtful that the rose window was to be included. However on closer inspection it was found that there was hardly any glass left leaving the Chapel open the elements it was I’m pleased to say restored to its former glory.
Once all the work is finished this window should look stunning with the light streaming through and projecting it’s colourers on the newly pointed interior walls. New lighting and sound system have been added. The new “pods” that are being installed either side of the main door are also nearing completion. These will provide toilet and baby changing facilities and a small kitchen area.
This magnificent Celtic cross has now been reinstated and cleaned which has revealed the symbolism to much greater effect. The top section shows the resurrection, while on other parts are the words Alpha and Omega which are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The meaning here being for the beginning, the continuation, and the end of all this. The grave is said to have toppled in the Hurricane of 1987 that weather man Micheal Fish famously said wouldn’t happen, so after 33 years it’s back in place.
As work nears completion in certain areas resurfacing some of the roadways has started with tarmac being put down leading from the grave of James Starley past George Singerand round under the large Copper Beach tree.
Carriage Way Entrance Tunnel
The entrance tunnel has now been opened up. Balustrades have been reinstated above, the flooring levels brought up to standard to meet up with the mortuary and electric cables being run for lighting etc.
The balustrades along the promenade have now been reinstated either side above the Entrance Tunnel and above the bier store. The design is similar to the originals.
The Bier store looking a lot smarter than in past years. Doors restored and stained. Also topped off with new balustrades. Unfortunately the balustrades around the Triumph Gloria Memorial have not been reinstated at this moment in time.
All photos are courtesy of Ian Woolley.