North East Wales

Wrexham Cemetery £1m revamp bid's Heritage Lottery Fund help

Media captionWrexham Cemetery is in the running for a £1m restoration grant

A £1m bid to restore and conserve historic features at Wrexham Cemetery could get the go-ahead.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Wales has given Wrexham council officials £54,000 to develop a full application before making a final funding decision.

The first burial at the cemetery was in 1876 of 11-year-old local girl and there have been 37,000 burials since.

The Victorians designed it as "showpiece", said historian Alister Williams

Mr Williams, a Wrexham author, explained the parkland was also advertised as a place for people to enjoy a walk.

It was also an official Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.

It website records the graves of over 100 armed forces personnel from World War One and Two.

Image copyright geoff evans
Image caption Memorial to Polish soldiers are also at Wrexham Cemetery

A memorial to Polish soldiers is in the cemetery as many were treated at Penley hospital on the Wrexham-Shropshire border after the war.

Wrexham councillor Bob Dutton said: "We are very pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund has supported this project.

"Wrexham cemetery is one of the finest examples of a Victorian cemetery in Wales and to restore it to its original condition would be excellent for heritage in Wrexham.

"There are also some very interesting graves whose history could be researched further including war graves from both world wars of people from Poland and Belgium which would add to the knowledge we already have of Wrexham during these historic years."

Image copyright eirian evans
Image caption Over 37,000 burials have taken place at the cemetery since it opened in 1876

The cemetery's chapel, lodge and pillared entrance gates have previously been given protected Grade II-listed status.

Some grave memorials within the original Victorian sections of the cemetery are also listed as being of architectural interest.

The HLF has set aside £26.5m to restore cemeteries and parks in the UK.

Jennifer Stewart, head of the HLF in Wales, said: "We have awarded a grant to develop the plans further in recognition of the potential this project could bring to the local area."

It could be a year before the bid is agreed.

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