£3.7m funding for the East Lodge project at Nunhead Cemetery

13 May 2024

Southwark Council and the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery (FONC) have been awarded a £3.7m grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver the Nunhead Cemetery East Lodge: From Ruin to Revival project.

The Grade II Listed East Lodge is currently on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. The project, which had received initial support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to reinstate the building as a welcoming gateway to the cemetery with a new café, community space, and new base for Friends of Nunhead Cemetery and their volunteers.

A new role, the Outreach and Development Manager, will also be created to lead and grow the existing events designed to engage residents across all communities, such as oral history sessions, exhibitions and art events.

Activities will be offered to explore the main themes which have emerged from consultation:

  • Health, Wellbeing and Mindfulness
  • Connecting with Nature
  • Uncovering Heritage and Untold Stories
  • Remembering and Reflecting

Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will revitalise the cemetery, restoring the East Lodge to provide a new hub for community activity. Visitor experience will be enhanced by the provision of new café and toilet facilities.

The restoration of the East Lodge is a Southwark Council commitment and once complete, the council will have invested over £2m in the project. In addition to support from FONC, the project has also attracted grants from Historic England, The Garfield Weston Foundation and The Pilgrim Trust.

Nunhead Cemetery is the second largest of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries established in London between 1832 and 1841. Boasting its original path layout and character, it features over 44,000 memorials and is the final resting place for around 290,000 people.

With 52 acres of diverse woodland, grassland and wetland environments, the cemetery is now a haven of peace and tranquillity for both wildlife and people. It is a Local Nature Reserve and is part of the Green Chain Walk providing a respite from the surrounding urban landscape.

Cllr Catherine Rose, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Leisure and Parks, said: “Working to support Friends of Nunhead Cemetery and with the wider local community, we are securing Nunhead Cemetery as a leafy oasis steeped in history that is accessible to everyone. Restoring the East Lodge and opening it up for wider community use and benefit is an important part of our role as the current custodians. We are committed to conserving it for future generations, so we are delighted to have the support of the Heritage Fund.”

Stuart McLeod, Director, London & South, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “At the National Lottery Heritage Fund we have long recognised that cemeteries have huge value as social history archives, vital places for urban nature and valuable recreational green spaces. We have given pioneering support to cemeteries across the country as well as in London, including Highgate, Brompton and West Norwood, and this latest investment represents our ongoing commitment to saving heritage at risk as well as protecting our natural heritage.’

Jeremy Partington, Chair of Trustees at Friends of Nunhead Cemetery (FONC), added: “This grant will enable the realisation of FONC’s forty-year aspiration to see the East Lodge restored for community use and to further promote the heritage and ecological importance of this wonderful Victorian landscape for contemporary enjoyment.”

National Lottery Heritage Fund and FONC logos


Page last updated: 14 May 2024

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