The Friends of St Peter's Great Berkhamsted

Read In Peace (RIP) seat in Victorian cemetery

The Rectory Lane Cemetery Project is transforming a neglected dead space into a living place through conservation, landscaping and community events and activity. We wish to install a beautifully designed seat with integrated bookshelf and a stock of books for the community, young and old, to enjoy.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 12:00 PM, 3 December 2019 to 12:00 PM, 10 December 2019

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1160314)

Check mark Match funded

Campaign target


Amount raised




Championed by National Lottery Heritage Fund


  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing


  • General Public/HumankindGeneral Public/Humankind


United Kingdom


The three-acre cemetery is a vital heritage asset, yet it has been very neglected. It’s a beautiful green space, but its benches are rusting and uncomfortable 1960s metal ones. All members of the community would benefit from spending time in this quiet sanctuary and natural haven in the middle of town, but inadequate seating is limiting this, particularly with the elderly. We want to share the life stories of those buried here but there is no place for that information to be kept and enjoyed.


We propose to install a circular stone seat, sympathetically designed and carved to complement the Victorian stone memorials. The seat will encircle a Liquidambar tree for dappled shade and has an integrated bookshelf, protected from the elements, housing a stock of books for children and adults to enjoy while they are there and then leave for others. Our documented research into the lives of those buried there will also be available for people to learn about their community social heritage.

  • I love that Rectory Lane space and use it sometimes for line learning. It’s very atmospheric and often quiet and good for contemplation and concentration.

    — Adrian Scarborough(Madness of King George,Gosford Park,Vera Drake,The History Boys,The Kings Speech)

  • It was my pleasure to work on this beautiful development ... perhaps I will visit it one day. It is not really an award or money that we look for, but this unforeseen connection to places and people far away that makes us closer to each other, more human and sensitive.

    — Paulina, Seat Design competition entrant from Chile

  • So ... no longer a place of tangled weeds, uncared for and avoided, but a lovely joyous space where young people can relax and be creative and at the same time acknowledge the debt they owe to those who sleep beneath their feet.

    — Theresa Breslin OBE,Carnegie Medal author of Whispers in the Graveyard and Book Festival contributor

  • Lovely, relaxing space to read.

    — Cemetery visitor

  • In the end, we'll all become stories.

    — Margaret Atwood