Abney Park User Group Walkabout

On a lovely Sunday in July a small group of Abney Park User Group members and other interested parties walked through the Park on the trail of the developments proposed for the Heritage Lottery Fund bid money we’re hoping to receive for Abney Park over the next couple of years. Recent changes in the HLF funding have meant that our bid is now competing with others even though we passed the first round with flying colours. All the current development work is being funded by HLF.

The walk started at the front entrance where the thrust is to make the Park more welcoming. Some planting, the addition of benches and the removal of the non-listed barriers at the pavement edge should help enhance the look of the place to passers-by.

The South Lodge and current office building will be refurbished inside as office space and a volunteer hub, while beyond that there will be workshop space for woodworking and stonemasonry.
On the north side of the current path where currently the portakabin classroom stands, a suite of rooms will be created which will join to the North Lodge buildings to house a café with possibilities of external seating and a function/meeting room which will open on to the Children’s Garden.  Revenue from the café and from room hire will be an important part of making the Park self-sustaining financially as Council funding becomes less available.

At the Church Street entrance either one or two gradual ramps from the street level up to the gate entrance should enable access to the Park for wheelchairs, buggies and for those with mobility difficulties.

In the chapel, the third area of work, the floor surfaces will be levelled and the gallery which once existed will be restored with access to this via a staircase in one of the turrets. The chapel is a Grade II listed building and therefore its integrity has to be borne in mind at all stages, while ensuring that we make it as flexible as possible for different uses.
There is a possibility of including some stained glass windows if the funding and security needed for this can be found. In addition to use as a wedding-venue (which is a popular and profitable element in many other similar sites), the chapel will be able to play host to film-shows, acoustic concerts, theatre, exhibitions and perhaps yoga or games sessions (eg.chess & board games).

Please get in touch with APUG via the info@abneypark.org address and we’ll be happy to answer any further queries.

Russell Miller and Lorraine Tillett, APUG



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Abney Park is open from
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Abney Park, Stoke Newington High Street,
London N16 0LH 
Tel: 0207 275 7557
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