It was lovely to meet some of the members of the Blossomfield U3A (Natural History, I think?) group in the Cemetery this morning. Such a shame that the sun only began to shine as we were leaving! Our thanks to their Organiser, Barbara, for giving the Friends a chance to explain some of the history of this magnificent green open space- its buildings, its trees and its connection with the people of Birmingham.
We every much hope that they will return and also spread the word to others who may have family buried here, or who just enjoy the peace and tranquillity that Brandwood End imparts to everyone who visits.
We have been reporting on the stages of work being undertaken to place a new ‘temporary’ roof on the fire damaged side of our chapels in Brandwood End. We finally get to see the actual roof covering, and it looks pretty good. This has been a ‘proper’ job and we have watched all the preparation, the wooden struts and beams, the boarding over, the weatherproofing and now the top layer.
Can we emphasize again that this is ‘a temporary roof to slow future deterioration and reduce Health and safety issues’…..not the start of a renovation. Following a routine building safety check , we understand that it was suggested to stabalise the chapel, a temporary roof should be installed thus reducing weather action and also tying in the gable ends of the building. Whatever the reason, the Friends think it is a great step forward as the main building will no longer look totally abandoned.
All we need now is to get the shrubbery growing out of the building removed, the windows re-boarded and the shrubbery (you see above) kept at this low level- as it is now overgrown and as high as the windows. Nice neat fence…..and some interpretation to show we are hoping for a day when funds will be available to refurbish this beautiful building. The photograph below shows how it looks now ! (The one above taken in 2012) Not good eh??? You can see why the Victorian Society have added it to their ‘At Risk’ register.
Over 150 people attended this years Service of Remembrance. Once again the atmosphere was enhanced by our Bugler but it was lovely to see many organisations represented, many of whom had several members there.Our thanks to Deacon David Fairbotham, who conducts a short but thought provoking service and to the growing number of people who attend. if you would like to see a few more photographs of this event, please follow this link.
We shall remember them.
Final reminder that the Remembrance Service in Brandwood End Cemetery will start at 10.50am prompt and be followed by 2 minutes silence and the laying of wreaths. Everyone welcome.
The Friends have now started their annual project to place a Poppy Cross on every War Grave in the cemetery. Some are easily spotted as they have CWWGC headstone, all of which have an identical profile.
This photo shows one of our members highlighting a Labour Corps grave as part of a national project to remember lesser known groups of combatants.
We have 350+ Poppies to place and the bulk of them are not as easily found as they are remembered in family graves.
Today we were assisted by committee members and family supporters but our special thanks to members of BARRA who worked on one of the hardest sections- as the area was very uneven and deep in leaves! http://www.birminghamairraids.co.uk/
Our thanks to those that have come along to help us this year. Their input has made such a difference and we are well on the way to completing this task in time for Remembrance Sunday. So far the weather has been kind ! Please do consider joining The Friends, local Councillors, Neighbourhood Police Officers, The Royal British Legion and many others organisations at our Service of Remembrance on Sunday November 11th, (10.50am)
The Friends would like to remind everyone that there will be the usual Service of Remembrance on Sunday 11th November in the cemetery. Please arrive before 10.50, when a short Service will be held prior to the 2 minutes silence. This will be followed by the laying of wreaths by a number of organisations at the Cross of Sacrifice and also at the WW1 memorial.
On Sunday the 4th November, Brandwood End Cemetery will be crowded with people attending the Blessing of the Graves. PLEASE WALK INTO THE CEMETERY if at all possible as the number of cars mean that there is nowhere to park. Staff must keep the main drive free of parked cars (as far as the chapels) for safety reasons and also to allow access to Clergy.
Please don’t be one of the people that argue with them and demand that ‘you’ are the exception!
Every year the Friends create a Poppy Cross Cemetery near the Cross of Sacrifice. Each cross represents a War Grave in Brandwood End. Some have Commonwealth War Grave head stones- many are family graves.This week we also start placing a poppy cross on every War Grave. We shall remember them ….
When I arrived back from holiday this afternoon I could hear the strange sound of ‘nail guns’ coming from the cemetery , so I dashed straight round in the hope that the roof trusses (that were delivered a couple of weeks ago) may be in position….and they were!
The Roofers are working hard installing the timber frame and then hopefully it will be boarded, felted and a outer surface applied.
Can we stress that this is a temporary roof and in place to protect the structure of the building, not to renovate it.
Never the less, this is a day that the Friends have been working towards for over 10 years as it represents a step in the right direction, to prevent the dereliction of this building reaching a state that would make it uneconomic to renovate.
We still have a number of major stumbling blocks before we can agree that the initial aims of our group, to see the chapels renovated and in use, are realised. One of these is a viable solution as to how this building, if renovated, can earn its keep in the future. The chapels, as they were, are no longer required for use alongside funerals but restrictions on access make their use for many suggestions not acceptable.
Birmingham City Council and the Friends will continue to try and find a solution to these issues as we are all in agreement that the loss of such a beautiful building would be a crime.
The Friends web site is due to have an update in the near future, so we will be unable to post for a couple of weeks once that update starts. With that in mind we are posting information about this years Service of Remembrance well in advance.
It is 100 years since the end of WW1 this year, so please try and join us on what will be a significant date- 11.11.2018