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Coventry - UK

  • CUSTOMER: Coventry City Council
  • ARCHITECT / DESIGNER: Joseph Paxton
  • LIGHTING DESIGNER: Performance iN Lighting UK
  • PHOTOGRAPHER: Coventry City Council

London Road Cemetery: Paxton's Arboretum, one of the earliest garden cemeteries in the country was designed by Joseph Paxton, an architect and botanist, famous as the designer of the Crystal Palace, site of the first Universal Exhibition in 1851.

Like many other historic cemeteries in the country, it had fallen into disrepair. In partnership with the Historic Coventry Trust and Friends of London Road Cemetery, the Coventry City Council initiated a restoration project which was completed in spring 2021.

The lighting has also been renovated to return the structures to their former splendor. The project involved the installation of linear LED suspension systems in a continuous row to provide general lighting, with different types of floodlights employed to provide accent lighting where required.

In 1845 Joseph Paxton was commissioned to design and furnish a new public cemetery on the site of a former quarry on the edge of Coventry. Opened in 1847, it represents one of the first examples of a garden cemetery, a typology that would become increasingly popular in the decades to come. The new site incorporated the hillocks and recesses of the former quarry to create a unique landscaped park enriched with exotic plants and trees from all over the world, including notable linden, beech, oak and elm trees. 

Two cemetery chapels survive, one designed to resemble a classical temple and the other a Norman-style Anglican chapel. In the southeast corner is a Jewish cemetery with a 20th century brick chapel. A contemporary account described the cemetery as having "more the air of a gentleman's park than a city of the dead".

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