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In pictures: 50 anonymous entries in Berkhamsted cemetery benches contest

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The Friends of St Peter’s has revealed the 50 anonymous entries to its competition for a series of cemetery benches in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Launched in September, the contest sought proposals for new ‘beautiful and well considered’ seating in various locations within the town’s 1.3ha Rectory Lane Cemetery.

Participants were invited to submit designs for up to eight individual benches or a composite scheme for all new seating structures throughout the space.

The proposals – each by an unnamed architect, artists or designer – featured in an online poll which closed last month.

A winner or several winners will be announced in late February following a meeting of the project board which will consider the poll results and feedback from an expert panel.

Berkhamsted is a market town 42km north-west of London. It was first settled during the Neolithic era and later became a royal residence and home to Thomas Becket and Geoffrey Chaucer.

Rectory Lane Cemetery, around half a km from the ruins of Berkhamsted Castle, is the burial ground for nearby Grade II*-listed St Peter’s Church on Berkhamsted High Street, originally built around 800 years ago.

The cemetery, which opened in 1842, is no longer open to burials, and is being transformed into a ‘vibrant and diverse contemporary garden of commemoration’ as part of a Parks for People restoration project.

It currently features an ‘un-coordinated’ variety of wooden-slatted benches and metal benches along with three ‘left-overs’ from a railway station seating renewal programme. In the centre lies the 1934 stone and timber Seat of Remembrance, commissioned in memory of Brigadier General Richard Mildmay Foot.

The winners, set to be announced later this month, will either receive prizes of £1,000, £500 and £250 for the best individual seat designs or £2,000 if a best composite scheme is chosen.

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