A “Save our Chapels” petition was presented to Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, 7th September by Councillor Neville Summerfield (Brandwood Ward) on behalf of the Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery. The Friends are endeavouring to prevent the further deterioration of the unique Grade II listed twin terracotta mortuary chapels which form the Cemetery’s centrepiece.
The Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery was constituted in 2005 and the elected Committee has worked assiduously to improve and maintain this very beautiful Victorian cemetery. The main aim has always been to restore and repair the chapels to their former glory and to involve a wider community use.
Work was undertaken to make the chapels “safe” in 2007 and Architects and Structural Engineers were commissioned to undertake an Options Appraisal in 2009: the Friends are seeking to further the Appraisal recommendations with Birmingham City Council, the owners of the cemetery.
The Friends have taken their role within the cemetery very seriously and have been responsible for, amongst other aspects:
- restoring the Civilian Garden of Remembrance,
- new section markers,
- boulders to mark public grave sites,
- remembrance of the war dead by placing a poppy cross on over 300 war graves every November, and the organisation of a Service of Remembrance,
- bi-monthly litter picks, which assist the limited ground staff with maintenance
Covering over 50 acres of land, Brandwood End Cemetery was created by the Victorians as a place of peace and tranquillity. Now, over 110 years later, the cemetery welcomes approximately 52,000 visitors annually. The visitors tend graves, take exercise, appreciate the trees (through tree walks), listen to the birds, marvel at the flora and fauna and are testament to the value of this beautiful open space.