Nearly £7,000 in community funding has been given to help create a permanent memorial for the more than 3,100 people lying in unmarked graves at the Workhouse Burial Ground at Odd Down in Bath.
The field is a burial ground that does not exist on a current map and is home to the remains of people who died of poverty in the Bath workhouse between 1858 and 1899.
The project being carried out by Bathscape will provide a permanent memorial which includes planting shrubs and a wildflower area, a memorial plaque, interpretation board and benches.
Bathscape has been awarded the £6,800 grant from the B&NES Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) fund to work with the community to deliver the project.
A local group has been researching the lives of those who died and reading their names at monthly events, also creating a temporary memorial. Other local people have been researching the site for many years.
The planting of the shrubs and wildflowers will be carried out by local group Bathscape Community Action for Nature volunteers and the local community. Children from St Martin’s Garden primary school will also provide support.
Councillor Jess David, cabinet assistant for Neighbourhood Services and a member of the CIL funding panel, said: “This is a hugely important project to create a place that commemorates those whose lives were lost in tragic circumstances. The new planting will also provide a pleasant space for the community to relax in and pay their respects, as well as increasing the diversity of the local area. I look forward to following the project’s development later this year.”
Councillor Steve Hedges, ward councillor for Odd Down, has been instrumental in driving the project forward. He said: “This is long overdue. I and other organisations have fought hard for over 20 years to put something in place to remember the 3,100 people buried here, but we must not forget the large amount of people buried at St. Martins behind the chapel. Years and years ago there was a stone memorial at the top end of the green near to the flats, but over the years the stones began to disappear along with a small plaque.
“Bathscape along with council officers have put a lot of time and effort into getting this project off the ground and I thank them. I’m hoping people will enjoy the area and to me it will be one of the best things to happen since I became a councillor.”
The CIL fund is allocated to projects which improve facilities for people in a local area. Find out how the council allocates CIL funding
Bathscape is a National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project aimed at reconnecting people with the natural landscape.
What marvellous news! At least these people will now have a little more dignity in death than that which they received in life. RIP.
Maybe the chapel might get some attention too?
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