A £150,000 restoration project to create a genealogy centre in a Monmouth chapel has begun.

Monmouth cemetery chapel on Osbaston Road was built in 1850 and closed to the public around 40 years ago.

The local council took ownership of the site in the 1960s and it is now owned by Monmouthshire council.

Now, a group of volunteers called the friends of Monmouth cemetery who have looked after the site since 2006, are working with the county council to create a genealogy centre after an application for European funding was successful.

The centre will give residents and visitors access to information about relatives and friends buried in the cemetery through a website and kiosk in the chapel.

The group, led by chairwoman Janet Brettle, will produce leaflets and information boards to provide details of the cemetery’s history, the work of the group and the wildlife found there.

Debbie McCarty, area services manager for central Monmouthshire said: "It is an exciting project that will provide not only information about the individuals buried there but will also record the wildlife that can be found on the seven-acre site."

The building is expected to open in late January 2010.