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Mortuary chapel forgotten?

The Mortuary Chapel in the Western Cemetery was designed as a place of remembrance for people of all faiths by Patrick Allan-Fraser of Hospitalfield.

The Mortuary Chapel in the Western Cemetery was designed as a place of remembrance for people of all faiths by Patrick Allan-Fraser of Hospitalfield.

 

Part of Arbroath’s built heritage is suffering from neglect and could warrant a hefty repair bill to preserve it for future generations.

The plight of the Mortuary, or Memorial, Chapel, situated in the Western Cemetery, has been highlighted by Arbroath councillor Bob Spink.

An example of Victorian neo-mediaeval architecture in sandstone and designed by Patrick Allan-Fraser, it is a mausoleum and memorial to his wife, Elizabeth, who died in 1873, and her parents.

On completion of the project in 1884, Patrick Allan-Fraser gifted the chapel to Arbroath as a non-denominational place of remembrance.

However, care and maintenance is understood to have remained with the Hospitalfield estate, which has complicated matters, especially given its construction of soft sandstone and the ingress of water.

Councillor Spink said: “I have raised this matter at council twice before. We’ve been very much constrained about it because of its peculiar situation. Any time it’s been brought up in the past it’s been looked at as being too difficult to decide who is responsible for it.

“I think it was because Patrick Allan-Fraser didn’t want people meddling or working on it and he preferred his own stonemasons to work on it instead.”

He continued: “It’s been suffering from neglect to put it bluntly. It needs about £500,000 to bring it up to a satisfactory condition.

“We’ve been down this road before with the Water Tower. This is quite a unique building and it’s quite an important example of stonemasonry.”

 

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