Author: Jane Edwards

Spring tidy up for Civilian Garden.

Lucky for us, the sun shone today as a few of the Committee of FBEC wrestled with huge bags of bark to top dress the beds in The Civilian Garden of Remembrance!


A few weeds pulled, a bit of snipping here and there, some bark, a rake and a sweep ….and everything soon looked spick and span.



You can see a few more photo’s taken by Nicola Clarke from Idverde HERE

and the final result…………………

Work starting on ‘make safe’ and temp roof.

We are now seeing a small amount of work starting to move fences in and then make masonry safe. Planning permission is still pending for a temporary roof on half of the building to protect the walls from the weather etc. With Bereavement Services we hope to raise funds for some ‘interpretation’ so members of the public can follow what is happening in this area. This is not a renovation project at this time, just an effort to prevent further deterioration, pending ideas for asuccessful bid to give this building a sustainable future.

Follow this link to our photo album and thanks to our photographer!

Advance warning!

As you can see, we are now back functioning and no longer need to keep amending previous posts! Thank you Pod Nosh!!

Can our Litter Pick supporters, and anyone else that would like to come and assist, add this date to their Diary.

This year, as usual we will be supporting the national Keep Britain Tidy campaign. Our event will be on Saturday 3rd March 10-11.30am. Further details will follow nearer to the date.

Action Re chapels and surroundings!

As the observant amongst you will have noticed, we are still having to ‘extend/amend’ existing posts as we are unable to add new ones! The organisation running our site are trying desperately to rectify this but in the mean time this post will get longer and longer…

Victorian twin terracotta Chapels at Brandwood End Cemetery

Following our request, the fencing surrounding the chapels is being moved closer to the buildings to allow staff to cut a band of grass around the perimeter of the fence thus hopefully improving the overall ‘look’ of that area. A company will be making the roof of the the ‘intact’ chapel totally weatherproof and then, following planning permission, installing a temporary roof on the now unprotected half of the building. Watch this space and if anyone captures some interesting photos we would love to publish them. They can be e mailed to us as

Can we wish you all belated best wishes for 2018. The recent winds in January have seen branches off Conifers and two trees blown over (A Willow and a Silver Birch) but luckily very little grave damage. I think we got off lightly! You can still follow our adventures on facebook…..

Two lovely photographs taken by one of our committee members showing beautiful Autumnal colours in Brandwood End before Winter set in!

The Last Litter Pick of 2017!

Gosh, where has 2017 gone. Today saw the last scheduled Litter Pick for 2017 and hopefully by the time we ‘pick’ again in March, we may be seeing some signs of Spring in 2018! Our thanks to today’s volunteers. Here….yet again ….are some more early snowdrops we found today and also some of the fungi nestling in the leaves around the cemetery.



Final event in our year long ‘Help for Hedgehogs’ project.

On Wednesday this week we unveiled our latest addition to Brandwood End Cemetery….a lovely Interpretation Board displaying lots of information about how to ‘Help Hedgehogs’. This is the final event in our Heritage Lottery sponsored ‘Help for Hedgehogs’ project.

Lots of people to thank today…. Councillor Tristran Chatfield, who unveiled the board for us , Bereavement Service Office and Ground Staff, all our local Councillors, The Wildlife Trust (Birmingham and Black Country), The Park Ranger Service, SHED, Woodthorpe Primary School, St Albans RC Primary, Rachel (our film maker), FBEC  volunteers and finally the local community.



Passchendaele and Brandwood End

Many men fell at the Battle of Passchendaele, which is especially remembered this week for it is 100 years since that bloody conflict. As a small part of this, The Friends of Brandwood End have been encouraged to research graves to highlight at least one of those Soldiers. We were looking for a casualty who was returned to England wounded, but subsequently died and was buried in Brandwood End.  Research by Doug Smith and Julia Griffin found us William Shakespeare (Obviously not the one of normal fame).

William was born in Birmingham in 1882.   His mother and father both worked for Parkinson Cowan and were gas meter makers.   He left Mary Street Board School when he was 12 in 1894 and went into the trade as well.

William married in December 1903 when he was 23 to Elizabeth Chambers who was just 18.   They lived in a back to back in Wrentham Street.

William and Elizabeth had several children. William and Nellie in 1906 – twins!   Unfortunately William was sickly and died. Next came Alice and then George, in 1912.  The family then moved to Lime Grove, Walter Street, Nechells.

The news from the Front was bad so William enlisted in June 1915 and was accepted in the 16th Warwickshire Regiment, or the 3rd Birmingham Pals.

He fought in the many battles in 1917 but was hit by a shell burst at the Third Ypres battle, or Passchendaele.   His Battalion were ordered to take the Polderhoek Chateau with the 2nd Norfolk’s and began the attack on 9th October 1917.   Many men were lost.

William was brought back on a stretcher having been injured by a shell burst as they retreated.    When we got back to England he was sent to Dewsbury in Yorkshire but never recovered from his wounds. Elizabeth was nearly full term with their final baby, John, who was born the week after William died, aged 35 on 6th November 1917.

His father paid for him to be buried in Brandwood End – He is buried in Grave B.2 ‘C’ 883.

Thank you to all those that stopped to hear about William as they passed through the Cemetery today and also those who remained behind after our Remembrance Service to hear about his life and others who fought at Passchendaele. The information will remain on display in our Notice Boards.

Proudly supported by the Passchendaele at Home project. #Passchendaele100


A Living Memorial for the ‘Unremembered’ of the Labour Corps

Today, on Remembrance Sunday, The Friends took part in a ‘Living Memorial’ to highlight those groups of people who have often been forgotten for the service they provided during conflicts. In highlighting the Labour Corps we wanted to remind people of the work done by this group, especially in WWI.  We have 9 members of the Labour Corps either buried or remembered on the screen walls in Brandwood End.

Their names and information about each individual can be seen above but also displayed on a large poster that members of the public were invited to read. We also included a short story of how the Labour Corps came to be formed and how it was made up from various regiments and initially staffed by those who had been wounded but deemed unfit to return to the front line. This information will remain on display on our notice boards and also is available for local schools and individuals with an interest.

Attendance grows at every Remembrance Day Event

Attendance was up again at this mornings Remembrance Event. Our thanks as usual go to Deacon David for a very thought provoking few words and also to Bereavement Services staff, who made sure the area of the Cross of Sacrifice was leaf free. Every year wreaths are laid on behalf of the Royal British Legion, local Councillors, The Masons, The Order of Buffaloes, Selly Oak Royal British Legion and ourselves but this year we were joined by our Local Neighbourhood Policing Officers who try to attend all their local events.