Fairmile Cemetery Case Study

The 1868 Grade II listed, Non-Conformist Chapel at Fairmile Cemetery was a small redundant building in poor condition. At the time this was an unusual commission for our MD Philip Waddy, as the client had no idea what could be made of the building. Initially instructed by the Henley Town Council to investigate possible alternative uses, it was recommended that the chapel could be converted into a Columbarium as a cost-effective way to secure a new use via public subscription – i.e. the renting of niches in which to store funeral urns.


The first part of the design was to prepare a specification for the repair of the fabric of the building. Rainwater entered the building’s structure over many years due to neglect. Dampness was rife therefore making it essential to rectify these defects. Before initial joinery was fitted time was given to allow the building to dry out completely.

Fairmile Cemetery, Henley Town Council, Columbarium, Heritage, Grade II Listed, refurbishment, WWA Studios, West Waddy Archadia, architecture, urban planning, town planning
1868 Non-Conformist Chapel (LIisted Grade II) at Fairmile Cemetery, Henley on Thames

Specific Technical Issue – The Existing Render

Most of the internal render of the chapel was in a dense sand/cement render. Being impervious, it was retaining moisture from damaged roofs and rainwater goods and in some areas had already separated from the brick backing. Large sections of render had fallen away at both low and high levels.

View of the roof and structural wooden beams with scaffolding
East gable render
Inside the chapel a view of the lower render removed
Lower render removed