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York Cemetery chapel reopens after £70,000 refurbishment
THE historic chapel at York Cemetery has reopened after a £70,000 refurbishment, including the installation of a new marble and granite floor and underfloor heating.
The building hosted a photoshoot to promote the Northern College of Costume’s seventh annual exhibition in York, featuring models in flamboyant 18th century frock-coats and breeches, bustle gowns and wartime daywear.
An underfloor heating system, provided through an air source heat pump – which uses air drawn through the catacombs underneath the chapel – means the building can finally be used comfortably throughout the winter for events ranging from concerts and religious services to exhibitions.
Dr Richard Keesing, chairman of York Cemetery Trust, said the chapel had been derelict, and the cemetery was overgrown, when the trust took it over in 1987 and had been restored with a wooden former gymnasium floor.
He said the building had proved almost impossible to keep warm in the winter months because the heat had all risen into the ceiling, which was 25 feet high, but underfloor heating had not been appropriate with a wooden floor.
The heat pump means the heating will be almost free and very carbon friendly, with only a little electricity needed to work the pump.
The cost was raised through grants from various charities and an £18,000 donation from the waste management company Yorwaste.
He said the chapel was suitable for a range of “sensible” activities, which needed to be appropriate for a chapel in the centre of a cemetery where 126,000 people were buried and burials were still regularly carried out.
The first event after the reopening will be a literary day from 10am until 4pm on Saturday, when local writers, including The Press journalist Julian Cole and the Ryedale author of All Teachers Great and Small, Andy Seed, will be speaking about their work.
The college of costume’s exhibition will take place between 2pm and 8pm on Friday, and 11am and 5pm on Saturday, at the college, situated on the top floor of 26, Market Street, York.
Eight students have been learning the art of theatre costume making there over the past 15 weeks, taught by experienced costumiers.