Town Mayor cuts a ribbon to open the cemetery chapel

Cemetery Chapel Reopens following Refurbishment

Knutsford’s 120-year-old cemetery chapel was officially reopened on Thursday 22nd July by Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner following an extensive refurbishment by Knutsford Town Council.

In stark contrast to the thick snow in which the chapel was first opened in December 1901, Cllr Gardiner cut the ribbon at a small ceremony in hot sunshine, inviting local clergy, funeral directors and special guests to enter the Grade II listed building to see the transformation.

The chapel was built as part of creating a new cemetery for Knutsford at the start of the 20th century and until 1974 was administered by the Knutsford Urban District Council. Following local government reorganisation in 1974 the chapel and cemetery were run by Macclesfield Borough Council, although the new Town Council retained ownership.

Cheshire East Council handed the building back to Knutsford Town Council in 2016 in a poor condition. A structural survey highlighted £52,000 of essential structural maintenance and the building was visibly tired with peeling paintwork, stained floors and cracking plaster. The Town Council secured the £52,000 needed to undertake the work to the Grade II listed building from Cheshire East Council but set its aspirations higher to undertake a full refurbishment and bring the chapel back into active use.

BEFORE

Knutsford Cemetery Chapel

AFTER

The total refurbishment programme included the installation of new water and electricity supplies, the creation of a kitchenette and accessible toilet in the anterooms and a thorough redecoration including repointing, stonework repairs, replastering, sanding and varnishing the parquet flooring and installing new heating. Various repairs were undertaken to structural beams, gutters and drainpipes and a new glass door was installed to the front. The majority of the old pews were removed to create a more flexible space with new lighting installed alongside fire and intruder alarms and a new septic tank. The total cost of the renovations, including professional fees, was £145,000 with the £93,000 balance being drawn from the proceeds of the sale of the Cemetery Lodge in 2018.

The chapel is available to hire for funerals and other suitable uses including remembrance services, community meetings and appropriate activities. The chapel will be routinely open for visitors to the cemetery for quietly reflection.

Cllr Jan Nicholson, who oversaw the project as part of the Cemetery working group said “After many years of neglect, I am absolutely delighted with the refurbishment of the Cemetery Chapel, a project instigated by my late husband Clive and I am looking forward to seeing the chapel used by the community of Knutsford.”

“Over several years our working group has toiled many hours to achieve and restore this wonderful chapel.”

During the works the council discovered the damaged remains of the original weathervane stored in the tower and is now exploring having this refurbished and reinstalled alongside the restoration and reinstallation of the chapel bell.

For information on hiring the chapel please see the Cemetery Chapel page

Cllr Stewart Gardiner hands a giant cheque to Lisa Barcroft-Lee

Support given to new Scout Hut

1st Knutsford Scouts has received a grant worth £1,500 from Knutsford Town Council to support the development of their new HQ. The council’s grant will fund the purchase of the toilet facilities including toilets, sinks, hand dryers and accessibility safety rails.

The new scout hut, nestled in the corner of the Moor on Moorside, will be the new home for 1st Knutsford Scouts, a group which has been supporting children in Knutsford for over a century.

The new timber clad scout hut, with its large glass windows overlooking the Moor will be a drastic improvement for the community compared to the previous hut which was suffering from damp, vermin and a rotten floor.

“We are very grateful to Knutsford Town Council for their welcome contribution to our new Scout Hut” said Lisa Barcoft-Lee, Chair of 1st Knutsford Scouts.

Once complete the new hut will be available for wide community use from local meetings and events to children’s birthday parties.

“Our vision for the hut is that it becomes a community resource that all of Knutsford can benefit from and therefore it is really important to us that we work with all our local partners to get the hut up and running as soon as possible” Lisa added.

Due to the impact of coronavirus and global price increases for materials, the scouts need to raise several thousand pounds of additional funding to get the scout hut completed. Anyone who is able to help get them over the line can contact Lisa at lisa.barcroftlee@knutsfordscouts.org.uk

A view of an under construction scout hut whilst two people converse in the background

The Town Council Community Grant Scheme is open to community organisations delivering services or running assets which benefit Knutsford’s residents. It looks for projects which provide improved services/opportunities for those under 18 or over 65, which provide a new or improved asset or service or projects which enhance the profile or reputation of the Town.

The council operates two schemes; a small grants scheme makes awards of up to £1,500 three times per year and a large grant scheme which considers applications for over £1,500 annually. The next deadline for the small grants scheme is 29th October and the 2021 large grants deadline is 31st August.