Everyone who went to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Kimberley Cemetery Chapel last year commented on how beautiful the building was.
Kimberley Town Council has been looking at renovating it for community use for a number of years, and the interest people showed during guided tours of the building
last April only reinforced councillors’ ambitions to make something more of it.
The town council now plans to ask members of the public what they would like to see the iconic building used for, and councillors will be at the next farmers’ market, where a consultation will take place.
Cllr Sue Cooper said: “Many people commented on the iconic chapel building, looking over Kimberley from the top of the hill and wished it could be better
utilised for the benefit of Kimberley residents.
“We really want to know what people think and how we can make the best use of this building.
“The church and the cemetery chapel have such history and it would be a shame not to take advantage of the building and put it to the best use we can,” added Cllr Cooper.
Kimbrley Town Council has been looking at using the chapel for civil weddings and a place where community groups can meet for a number of years, and is now looking at possibly starting renovation work in the next financial year.
The first mention of a church in Kimberley is in 1298. It was situated in the old hamlet opposite the Manor House, somewhere around what is now Chantry Close.
In 1448, Kimberley Church was united with Greasley St Mary’s – the ‘mother church’.
The Kimberley building, which was tiny, declined in status as parishioners now attended Greasley for burials and many of the services, and over the centuries, there were no remains worthy of being a parish church.
However, by the middle of the 19th century, the population of Kimberley had increased and it became necessary to provide a church and burial ground again.
In 1847, the new parish church of Holy Trinity was constructed at the bottom of, what is now, Church Hill.
By the 1880s rapid industrial growth left the existing churchyard full and further facilities were required. Land at The Knoll, originally donated by Earl Cowper,
the largest landowner in the area at that time, was put to use and the first burial in the cemetery took place in November 1883. Notable Victorian figures buried there are William and Eleanor Hardy and Robert Goodhall Hanson.
Until the 1950s, the chapel sported a bell turret designed by Richard Charles Sutton of Nottingham, who also laid out the grounds, which is now a wildflower conservation area.
On a clear day, views across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire are breathtaking.
Members of Kimberley Town Council will be at the next Farmers’ Market, Saturday March 2, to see what the views of Kimberley residents are, and what they would like to see it used for.
If you have any ideas for the chapel building contact Kimberley Town Council on 0115 938 2733 or come along to the Farmers’ Market on Toll Bar Square between 9am and 1pm.