Lantern parade will mark the start of next chapter in Memorial Chapel’s story

The parade will be led by pupils from Timmergreens and Muirfield Primary Schools.The parade will be led by pupils from Timmergreens and Muirfield Primary Schools.
The parade will be led by pupils from Timmergreens and Muirfield Primary Schools.
One of Scotland’s finest examples of Art & Crafts architecture, The Memorial Chapel in Arbroath, formerly the Mortuary Chapel, will be celebrated in a new community event this weekend to mark the beginning of winter and changing of the clocks as British Summer Time comes to an end.

More than 50 pupils from Timmergreens and Muirfield Primary Schools in Arbroath have created a series of printed lantern designs supported by local artist Kristina Aburrow. The event called, All aglow, will take place at Arbroath’s Western Cemetery on Sunday (October 29) from 5pm and finishes at The Memorial Chapel, giving a unique opportunity to see inside the building at dusk full of glowing willow lanterns.

Commissioned by Patrick Allan Fraser in memory of his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1873, the chapel took nine years to build and, when complete in 1882, was gifted to the people of Arbroath. Originally standing alone on the land that Allan Fraser bought for his project, the cemetery gradually grew up around this astonishing architectural gem. With elements of Scots Baronial style and European Gothic, the Arts & Crafts mausoleum has been described as one of the most splendid monuments in Britain.

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Built using the talent of local craftspeople and now owned by the town of Arbroath, it is a carved sandstone building from the 19th century featuring extraordinary hand carvings of flora and fauna from the local area.

The event has been organised by Hospitalfield, and is the first in a series of events created to share the chapel with the wider community. The event activity is supported by Creative Scotland and the Aberbrothock Skea Trust.

During this time, The Memorial Chapel will be restored and made more publicly accessible as part of Hospitalfield’s Future Plan capital development programme with support from the Tay Cities Deal and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Lucy Byatt, Hospitalfield director, said: “The Memorial Chapel is an architectural wonder of international significance and one of the best buildings of its date in Scotland.

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"Built by local craftspeople here in Arbroath using sandstone from a nearby quarry, its design by Patrick Allan Fraser showcases the best of the Arts & Crafts movement. Intricate carvings in the building celebrate local flora and fauna here in Angus and the many references to Elizabeth Allan Fraser and her family share highlight the love between them both.

"We are delighted to be able to showcase this unique cultural asset which Patrick Allan Fraser gifted to the town of Arbroath and look forward to hosting more public events to widen the appreciation of this very special space.”

Hospitalfield works closely with the local community to bring creative projects to life and celebrate the Arbroath’s important heritage.

Artist Kristina Aburrow said: "It was amazing to work with the local community on this project. We were able to get 50 Arbroath residents in, talk to them about the space, have fun in it and connect with their culture. The school pupils from Timmergreens and Muirfield Primary Schools were enchanted by the little details, frogs, snakes and bats!”

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Local MSP Graeme Dey added: "I have no doubt that this will be a fantastic event, organised by the brilliant team at Hospitalfield.

“The involvement of primary school pupils is a wonderful idea which will engage the whole community in celebrating the Memorial Chapel – a monument that encapsulates a heritage of local craftsmanship in which the people of Arbroath should take great pride.

“Historic buildings like this are such important assets to our communities, and of course Arbroath has a particularly strong offering in this regard.

“I look forward to seeing the Chapel’s restoration progress, with the clear benefit this can bring both in terms of opening up an incredibly grand space for local occasions and adding to the tourist draw of the town and wider region."

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