Friends of Flaybrick & Wirral Borough Council
Bidston Hill, Wirral
Ainsley Gommon was commissioned by the Friends of Flaybrick, financially aided by Wirral Borough Council, to undertake a feasibility report for the repairs and re-ordering of the grade II listed ruined cemetery chapels. Proposing a new natural and family history resource and visitors centre attraction, part of the chapels could have become a national study centre for research into native species of Bats. Roof spaces and floor voids could form a hibernaculum, where bats will roost and hibernate and where they can be observed without disturbance.
The cultural and historical significance of Flaybrick Cemetery was recognised when it played host to the AGM of the Association of Significant Cemeteries of Europe in 2008. The Flaybrick cemetery chapels were built in 1862 to the designs of Liverpool architects Lucy & Littler. They formed the ritual centrepiece of the Flaybrick Memorial gardens, a 26-acre cemetery, laid out in a former quarry on the side of Bidston Hill.
The chapels remained in use until 1975, after closure, they received the unwanted attention of vandals until the damage and destruction became so bad that the buildings were in danger of collapse. After that, the only option was to carry out a controlled ruination exercise, during which the roofs were removed and the damaged upper section of the spire was demolished. The feasibility study, explored ways that the remains of these historically important buildings could be brought back into active and sustainable community use, underpinned by a serious research function, and enable the client to investigate funding options.