THE Victorian Society is urging people to find out information about historic cemetery chapels in their area.
The charity, which campaigns to preserve Victorian and Edwardian architecture, has launched a bid to protect chapels all over the UK.
Cemetery chapels are found not just in churchyards but also in gardens in urban areas.
Garden cemeteries were a 19th century phenomenon, usually having two chapels – one Anglican and one non-conformist.
Many are architecturally interesting, but have fallen into disrepair.
In December, Kirklees Council instructed designers to come up with ideas for improving the two listed Victorian chapels at Edgerton Cemetery.
Possibilities include simple remedial work or restoration, or even conversion to commercial use.
The Edgerton chapels have long been boarded up and fenced off, while non-tenanted parts of Tower House, also at the cemetery, suffer wet rot with water entering from the ceiling and floor.
Two buildings at Dewsbury cemetery and two more at Heckmondwike cemetery, plus one chapel at Cleckheaton and one at Liversedge are also being examined.
Now, the Victorian Society wants people to look out for chapels in their communities, both those that are in good condition and those that are neglected.
It wants people to report back with their findings, so that a database can be created showing how many chapels there are in the UK and what state they are in.
Dr Ian Dungavell, director of the Victorian Society, said: “We know many cemetery chapels are in a poor state, but we need to know how many and how bad their condition is.
“In some areas, the chapels may be the only architecturally significant buildings in the neighbourhood and it’s important they survive.”
You can find out more about the campaign at www.victoriansociety.org.uk