Architectural gems refurbished

Putney Old Burial Ground scheme to cost £43,000

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The council has embarked on a new conservation scheme to safeguard the future of a set of architectural gems that lie in a small green oasis in the heart of Putney town centre.

The £43,000 scheme will see the full restoration of seven architecturally significant tombstones that lie in Putney Old Burial Ground just off the Upper Richmond Road.

Four of the tombs have been listed by English Heritage and are important examples of their type from the mid to late 18 th Century.

One of the listed tombs was designed by sculptor Joseph Wilton, who was one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768, and created the monuments to James Wolfe and Stephen Hales that stand in Westminster Abbey. He is reputed to have designed the coach used for George III's coronation, and w as commissioned to create a statue of the King in 1761.

The listed tombs belong to Robert Henry Wood, an 18 th Century traveller and author, Joseph Lucas, Harriet Thomson and Stratford Canning, a relative of the Prime Minister George Canning.

The burial ground, which is close to the former Putney police station, is a mid-18 th century cemetery with a small mortuary building which became a public space in 1886 when it was closed to burial.

The tombs are being restored by the council's planning and park's departments in partnership with English Heritage and the Heritage of London Trust. The work is expected to be completed by the end of October.

Planning chairman Cllr Leslie McDonnell said: "This restoration project will see these magnificent tombs restored to their former glory. The borough has a rich architectural history and we are proud to be joining with conservation bodies like English Heritage to safeguard that for future generations."

September 21, 2007