£100,000 investment to secure derelict heritage buildings

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Ince Cemetery Chapel

A cash boost of £100,000 has been confirmed to secure two listed and derelict Victorian chapels that have stood within a Greater Manchester cemetery for years.

The grade II listed chapels, which sit in Ince Cemetery in Wigan Borough; risked falling into further ruin but Wigan Council has recently pledged an investment of £100,000 to make the buildings water tight and secure.

The two buildings were built in 1855. One was built for the Church of England and one for Roman Catholics. Over recent years though, the buildings have deteriorated and trees have sprouted through the roof. 

Councillor Terry Halliwell, heritage champion at Wigan Borough said: “The two chapels at Ince cemetery are absolutely beautiful pieces of architecture. 

“Although we always ensured the buildings were safe, we haven’t been in a position to invest money into them and bring them back to life until now.  

“We are yet to fully explore what works can be undertaken with the money, but we are hopeful that it will allow us to replace the roof, remove the moss and trees and make the buildings water tight. Any restoration works will remain in keeping with the style and architecture of the time. 

“This would be a great start and will allow locals and enthusiasts to really appreciate the buildings traditional Victorian features.”

The funding announcement comes as Wigan Council prepares its very first Historic Environment Strategy, which will lay a foundation for the management and celebration of heritage sites across the borough over the next five years in a bid to further improve and restore the borough’s heritage.

Councillor Halliwell continued: “We’re continuously looking at ways we can improve our buildings and look to find support from investors and the community to help us reach our goals. 

“We will keep the public updated with the progress of the chapels and would welcome people’s ideas about what the end-use of the chapels could be in the long-term.” 

The chapels are the work of Alfred Waterhouse, an esteemed Victorian architect who also created the Museum of Wigan Life in Wigan town centre, Manchester Town Hall and London’s Natural History Museum.