Newbury Town Council has recently installed a disabled access toilet at Newtown Road Cemetery to improve the facilities for those hiring the Chapel.
The refurbished Cemetery Chapel is available for hire, and has been used in recent years to host local ‘Open Studios’ art exhibitions and for the Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery to meet.
The Chapel has space for a seating area, exhibition, small performance area and can be used for schools groups after a tour of the Cemetery. The new toilet facility will be available only to groups who hire the Chapel.
Cllr Adrian Edwards, Leader of the Council said, “There is a long and interesting history of the Cemetery and the earliest recorded burial was on 21 May 1850. Although the new Municipal Cemetery (now referred to as Shaw Cemetery) opened in 1913 there have still been many interments (mostly ashes), with the last full burial taking place in November 2007”.
He continued, “The Newtown Road Cemetery Chapel is a lovely building, and with the new toilet facility it should be easier for groups and schools to be able to make use of the Cemetery and its grounds”.
Records show that the Cemetery walls and lodge were built first, followed by the two chapels, the Anglican one in 1852 and also a ‘Dissenters Chapel’, as it was then called, in 1854. This Chapel was demolished in 1956 because of its unsafe condition, which is when the Borough of Newbury took control.
The fire that allegedly destroyed the Dissenters Chapel is also claimed to have consumed nearly all the Cemetery records. Newbury Town Council took on the management in 1998, which was shortly after it was formed as a Town (Parish) Council.
The Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery regularly hold open days and more information on the Cemetery can be found via their website: www.fnrcnewbury.org.ukIf you would like to enquire about hiring the Chapel please contact Newbury Town Council’s Community Services Department on 01635 35486 or email firstname.lastname@example.org