Hackney Citizen

Civilian memorial in Abney Park cemetery awarded listed status

English Heritage says the memorial is a ‘dignified and poignant reminder’ of the impact of Second World War on the local area

The restored civilian war memorial in Abney Park Cemetery. Photograph: Alex Sherratt

The restored civilian war memorial in Abney Park Cemetery. Photograph: Alex Sherratt

A memorial in Stoke Newington’s Abney Park Cemetery has been given listed status by English Heritage after its stonework was restored last year.

The memorial, which commemorates the lives of 113 local civilians who died in bombing raids during the Second World War, had fallen into disrepair and was restored through the joint efforts of the Abney Park Trust and TimeLine.

Camilla Loewe of TimeLine, a learning project in Hackney, submitted an application to the War Memorials Trust for the majority of the restoration funds.

Now English Heritage have recommended that the memorial be given Grade II listed status because of its national and historical importance, calling it a “dignified and poignant reminder of the impact of Second World War bombing on the community.”

A spokesperson for English Heritage said: “The memorial commemorates local people who lost their lives during the Second World War, and specifically the 122 who were killed by air raids in seven locations within the borough.

“Ninety-seven of the 122 died in a public shelter beneath a block of flats called Coronation Avenue on 13 October 1940, which took a direct hit.”

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The restored inscription on the stonework. Photograph: Alex Sherratt

Bernard Bourdillon, Chair of Abney Park Trust, who assisted with the project said: “It is one of the most important and touching memorials in the cemetery.

“You only have to read the listed names on it to realise you are in touch with a really important part of our history. It is important also, because it shows the costs of war.”

“We’re very, very, proud to have partnered TimeLine in getting it renovated and it is our job to manage it in the future. We will do so happily and with real commitment.”

Alex Sherratt of Matthew Lloyd Architects, who volunteered to draw up the plans for the restoration of the memorial described the English Heritage listing as “amazing”.

Mr Sherratt said: “I got interested in the history of it, the bombings affected a lot of the homes surrounding the local area. Although they are quite elderly, there are still some family members of those who died who live nearby and who remember the event we were trying to commemorate – we did it mainly for them.”

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