The proposed entrance on Stoke Newington High Street, with a new café.
Image: Hackney Council

Ambitious plans for Stoke Newington’s Abney Park Cemetery are set to become a reality after the council was awarded £4.4 million by the National Lottery to fund further improvements.

Proposals signed off by cabinet last year include a new building with a café and events space, an accessible entrance on Church Street, and more refurbishments to the historic chapel, which could host weddings, stage productions and community get-togethers.

The Town Hall, which will contribute an additional £710,000, will install an environmentally friendly heat pump in the park to provide heat and hot water to the new buildings. 

Mayor Philip Glanville said the council is “thrilled” with the funding, describing the cemetery – one of London’s ‘Maginificent Seven’ – as a “special place” for Hackney residents.

He added: “Radicals, anti-slavery campaigners and dissenters all form part of its incredible history, which the new cafe, classroom and restored chapel will help to open up to more people and generate income towards the ongoing improvement of the park.

“I’d like to thank the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund, as well as the Abney Park Trust, Abney Park User Group and officers in the council’s parks service for their belief in this project and work to make this happen.”

An artist’s impression of the interior of the chapel.
Image: Hackney Council

Abney Park Trust chair Shelagh Taylor said: “We are delighted at the award of this funding which will greatly improve the facilities at the park, make it more sustainable, and enable us to put on more events and activities.”

Lorraine Tillett, secretary of the Abney Park User Group, said the funding is “excellent news”.

Abney Park Cemetery Chapel is the only surviving public building by architect William Hosking, according to the Victorian Society.

It is also the oldest non-denominational chapel in Europe, and only reopened to the public in 2017 following extensive repair work. It remains on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

Work to restore the chapel’s interior will include a new floor, toilet facilities, electricity, lighting and seating at balcony level.

To find out more, head to hackney.gov.uk/abney-park

Support us


The coronavirus outbreak has meant that the Hackney Citizen has been unable to print a monthly newspaper for the last three months.

The need for quality news and reliable reporting is crucial - however, this is an increasingly challenging time for local journalism.

Our main source of income, print advertising revenue, fell suddenly - and so we are asking you, the readers, for your help.A one-off donation from anyone who can afford it will help our small team get our newspaper back in print and keep the website and social media feeds running through this unprecedented crisis.

Find out how you can donate.

Thanks in advance for your support, and stay safe.