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IDP scoops Paxton cemetery restoration

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IDP Group has landed a competitively-tendered commission to overhaul Coventry’s Joseph Paxton-designed Arboretum Cemetery

The local practice was chosen above a raft of unnamed rival firms for the Coventry City Council-backed £140,000 contract.

Planned to complete in 2018, the £1 million project will restore the Grade I-listed landscape and several Grade II*-listed structures to create a new visitor attraction on the high-profile site.

Designed by English gardener, architect and MP Joseph Paxton – the Arboretum Cemetery – also known as the London Road Cemetery – is thought to be one of the most architecturally significant cemeteries in the country.

William Wheeler, design director at IDP’s landscape division, said Joseph Paxton was at the height of his powers when he designed London Road Cemetery.

He added: ’This is a fantastic opportunity to retrieve and restore Paxton’s original design intent and at the same time refurbish an important and historic place which the people of Coventry will once again be able to fully enjoy and appreciate.’

Located around 1.5 kilometres south of Coventry city centre, the 17 hectare cemetery was constructed in 1847 on a former quarry next to the West Coast Mainline connecting London to Glasgow.

The project completed around seven years before Paxton’s most famous building – the 92,000 m2 Crystal Palace exhibition centre – was constructed.

Landmarks within the cemetery include an entrance lodge, the Prospect Tower, an Anglican chapel, Jewish chapel and a decaying non-conformist chapel (pictured), which has been disused since 1945. A memorial to Joseph Paxton, designed by Joseph Goddard, was also erected in 1865.

Notable Coventrians buried in the cemetery include George Singer, who founded the Singer Cycle Company and is thought to have invented the first curved fork for bicycles.

Concept plans for the landscaping works have already been drawn up by Land Use Consultants while PCPT Architects has drawn up an options study for restoring two of the chapels.


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