Release Date: 22/06/2012
More than 100 dilapidated memorials in cemeteries across the borough have been restored to their former glory, thanks to Richmond Council.
Detailed masonry work was carried out to honour the memory of local people’s ancestors who are buried in the area. Expert craftsmen, contracted by the Council, have reinstated 121 graves in four cemeteries where stones and crosses had deteriorated over time, making them unsafe and unsightly.
The Council have fixed 46 crosses back into their original position at East Sheen Cemetery and 34 memorials at Twickenham. A further 23 were repaired at Teddington Cemetery and 18 at the Old Mortlake Burial Ground. The team have worked on crosses and stones close to the main walkways. Work involved re-cutting stones and fixing them to ensure they are safe and stable. The Council have also pledged to restore around 50 gravestones at Hampton Cemetery in the next phase of restoration work.
Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council’s Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment, Planning, Parks and Highways, said: “This is really important and worthwhile work that is making a real difference.
“Our cemeteries are places of remembrance and dignity for families and although maintenance of gravestones is not the Council’s direct responsibility, we’re nevertheless, committed to helping ensure they’re well maintained and attractive for visitors and as a mark of respect to our forbearers.
“The stones have deteriorated over many years and it’s always sad to see gravestones in a bad way, so it’s really good to see so many being restored. This is an excellent start and we now plan to repair around 50 more memorials at Hampton Cemetery and will then look at further restoration work across the borough’s cemeteries.”
Cemetery staff attempted to contact relatives of people buried in the graves where memorials needed maintenance, as it is their responsibility to look after the plots. In most cases, due to the age of the graves, this was not possible. A number of stones and crosses which could no longer stand upright were previously laid down and the work has focused on securing them into an upright position again.