North East Wales

Wrexham's Victorian cemetery opens after £1m restoration

Restored chapel at Wrexham Cemetery
Image caption The chapels, lodge, gates and railings have all been restored

A Victorian "showpiece" cemetery will be officially re-opened later after a major restoration costing £1.1m.

The seven hectare site in Wrexham has 37,000 graves.

Stories of some of those buried there will be chronicled in the next phase of the project.

The cemetery's designer, Yeo Strachan, wanted it to function like a park, with the idea visitors could stroll around and admire the grander monuments, built by wealthy industrialists.

During the 19th Century, social class was as important in death as it was in life, so the cemetery was laid out with its own class system, with the elaborate monuments and memorials in the more expensive plots at the front of the cemetery.

The paupers went unmarked at the back, with the middle classes in between.

Two years ago, Wrexham Council secured a £1.2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to refresh the Grade II-listed site.

The chapels, the lodge, gates and railings have all been restored and now the council has launched the next phase of the project.

A part-time development officer has been appointed to encourage community involvement, including gathering stories about some of the people buried there.

These include wealthy industrialists, like the Dennis family, who owned Gresford colliery and some of the World War Two Polish soldiers buried at Wrexham.

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