WORK has started on a £130,000 restoration project to save the historic bell tower at Sheffield’s City Road Cemetery from collapse.
Repairs are being carried out to the Grade II listed building to restore the Victorian structure to its former glory.
The bell tower has been wrapped in chicken wire for the last two years because it had become unsafe.
Large pieces of stone were falling off it and because the building is listed, there was no simple repair method.
Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “This is a landmark building and one which is synonymous with Sheffield history.
“The cemetery is the largest in the city and the impressive bell tower stands grandly at its entrance.
“We cannot let this fall into disrepair.
She added: “It will eventually be lost if we don’t do something about it now.”
During the restoration work, the front entrance of the cemetery will be closed and traffic, including funeral hearses, will instead be diverted through an alternative route via the Harwich Road entrance.
All of the city’s funeral directors have been made aware of the temporary arrangements and diversion signs will be in place throughout the reconstruction work.
The funding of £130,000 for the work was approved from the council’s Emergency Mitigation budget earlier this year. The work will involve dismantling and rebuilding the tower, parapet wall and chimney stacks.
The work will be carried out by a specialist contractor and it is expected to last the rest of the year.
City Road Cemetery opened in 1881 and was originally known as Intake Cemetery because City Road was originally called Intake Road.
It covers 100 acres and is the largest owned by the council.