Brookwood Cemetery has received a financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help meet the cost of repairs during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The fund administered by Historic England has been made available to protect the country’s ‘at risk’ heritage sites while also supporting the highly skilled businesses that form a key part of the heritage sector.

Brookwood Cemetery has received £30,000 (the maximum grant) towards the ongoing restoration of the Columbarium, which until acquired by the council, had been blocked up and closed off to the public due to its condition.

The largest and most notable of its kind within the cemetery, the Columbarium is a listed monument in its own right. The cruciform (crossed-shaped), stone-built structure is defined by its central dome and elegant classical features.

Cllr Graham Cundy, Woking Borough Council’s Lead Member for Brookwood Cemetery, said: “This grant from the government’s recovery fund will help us to get our repair programme back on schedule, which has been severely hampered by the virus.

“With the winter months now upon us, we need to make urgent repairs to the roof of the Columbarium to prevent any further water damage.”

Originally intended as a mausoleum, it was commissioned by the 5th Earl Cadogan towards the end of the 19th century. The Earl however sold the building to the London Necropolis Company in 1910 at which point it was used if for the storing of ashes.

Inside the Columbarium there is a gallery at entrance level and towards the back, an internal staircase leading to an underground vault.

Cllr Cundy continued: “Prior to the pandemic, the council approved an ambitious and exciting set of plans to safeguard the future of the cemetery and encourage greater use of this diverse site. The Columbarium is one of the larger public monuments in the cemetery with an interesting history, which should be more accessible to our residents.”

For more information about Brookwood Cemetery and to review the approved plans for new visitor and heritage centre, please visit www.woking.gov.uk/brookwoodcemetery