Category: Community

If you go down to the cemetery tonight, you are in for a big surprise!!

It’s not very often that you can get into Brandwood End Cemetery at night…..but tonight was the night! Great bat walk from Jasmin Fields to Brandwood Pool via the cemetery. All ages, and many new to the whole walk route, despite being local.

 

Thanks to Chris from Brum Bats and Ranger Dean for giving up their own time for this event. 30+ people, lots of bats and an amazing Tawny Owl made it worth it!

 

We hope that tonight’s adventure encourages people to visit all three sites again and be aware of the amazing natural spaces on their doorsteps.

If, as a result of tonight site visits, we could encourage anyone to be involved in litter picks or work parties to help Ranger Dean keep these sites accessible and welcoming to the public, please   e mail us with your contact details on ‘friendsofbec@gmail.com’ We can then add you to the mailing list or maybe consider joining the ‘Friends’ via this web site.

 

Eldred Hallas

Our historical researcher, Pat Franklin, led a small group of members of the local Labour Party to visit one of the significant graves in the cemetery.

Born and educated in Yorkshire, Eldred Hallas moved to Birmingham in 1906 where he became leader of the Birmingham Municipal Employees Union. In 1911 he was elected as an independent socialist to the Birmingham Town Council for Duddeston and Nechells ward. During World War I, he became associated with the British Workers League which later became the National Democratic and Labour Party (NDP).

In the 1918 general election, Hallas was elected with the Coalition coupon for the NDP in the new Birmingham Duddeston constituency. However, he soon became disillusioned with the Lloyd George Government and joined the Labour Party in October 1919, becoming Birmingham’s first Labour MP. He stood down from the House of Commons at the 1922 general election, and unsuccessfully fought the Handsworth ward for Birmingham City Council in the 1923 elections as a Labour candidate. He died in a Moseley nursing home in 1926, and was commemorated by a plaque in the Balsall Heath branch of the Birmingham Municipal Bank.

Our thanks got to Pat for all the time taken to put this amazing information together.

We hope our web site followers enjoy reading about some of the interesting people buried in Brandwood End. Slowly but surely we are creating an archive of information. All our research is done by volunteers in their own time, but if you have details of anyone buried in Brandwood End that you may think may be of interest to the general public, then please contact us. 

 

Annual Bat Walk with Brum Bats.

It’s time again for the ever popular Bat Walk that starts at the farm gate on Bayston Rd, B14 (facing Kinsey Grove) and finishes at Brandwood Pool.

August 21st.    8.15-10pm (prompt start). Good torch, stout shoes essential. Under 16…you need to bring an adult. Fair bit of walking on uneven surfaces and grassland.

9 Volunteers and 9 bags, not a bad haul.

We managed to do the bulk of our litter pick before the rain started but a good job was done by all !!

It is noticeable that we now find mainly wind blown flower paper and nowhere as much real ‘litter’ A reminder to everyone to please remove the cellophane/ paper if leaving flowers!

I am afraid we are still spotting residents, backing on to the cemetery, tossing their garden rubbish over their fences into the grounds. Please stop it!!

New Interpretation Board

The eagle eyed amongst you, who read our article headed ‘Chapel news gets better and better’ will have spotted that everyone was standing in front of a new display board!

We were overjoyed when we were asked to provide content for a new ‘Interpretation Board’, to be installed in front of the chapel buildings. This has given everyone involved the opportunity to pass information about the chapels and their future to the public in general- especially those who do not use the internet and therefore are unable to view this web site or our facebook page.

Chapel news gets better and better!

The Friends were delighted to be invited, by Bereavement Service staff, to join them on a rare opportunity to actually get inside the chapels !

They were joined by City Council officials, eager to view the newly fitted temporary roof and inspect the work already done. Everyone agreed that the visit had been well worth while and it stirred enthusiasm all round, that these magnificent buildings should not be allowed to deteriorate further. This is the present stance of BCC . Those present included-  Alison Fumagalli (BCC Registrar / South) Bev Nash (BCC Registrar North) Andy King (BCC Principal Building Surveyor Building Consultancy Acivico) Coral Howard FBEC Vice Chair, Kerry Tinkler FBEC Committee Member, Steve Hollingworth (BCC Assistant Director/Regulation and Enforcement) and Dawn Harding (BCC Bereavement Officer responsible for Brandwood End and Kings Norton Cemeteries)

Chapels get spruced up!!

If you happen to visit the cemetery this week, you will spot the major change in the appearance of the area around the chapel buildings!

Following the recent re-roofing of one chapel, the Friends have been pressing for a general clearance of shrubbery etc. Was it our nagging that encouraged this clean up……….or the impending visit of the Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods ????? Either way, it looks so much better!!

St George’s Day and the Mushroom sharing his name!

We all know that the 23rdApril is St George’s Day, but did we know that there is a St George’s Mushroom? What’s even more exciting is that they are growing in the cemetery!

St George’s mushrooms are so named as they are usually ready to pick from about St George’s Day, and it was with great joy that Carola, a member of our committee, stumbled across a specimen whilst refreshing our notice boards! The link below will tell you a little more about them and it appears that the ‘River Cottage’ Chef, is most partial to recipes including these edible mushrooms.

https://www.mushroomtable.com/mushrooms-menu/wild-mushrooms/saint-georges/

Remember never to pick and eat mushrooms/fungi unless you are accompanied by someone who knows which is which- as eating the wrong sort can be fatal!

 

Special Anniversary for Brandwood End

This weekend was a special one for Brandwood End Cemetery as the Friends remember 2 events that happened 120 years ago.

Brandwood End Cemetery was officially opened (there is a plaque on the wall of the West Chapel ) on Thursday 13th April 1899 by Mr. George Tallis, the Chairman of the Kings Norton Parish Council Local Cemetery Committee.

The photograph above shows the boulder (Provided by the Friends following a generous donation) marking one of the communal grave areas where the very first burial site is marked.

If you look to the right as you pass the Cross of Sacrifice, very close to the Redwood Avenue, you will find a simple wooden stake. (Section C1 c/e)

The Friends, with help from Bereavement Service staff, have identified the grave of :-

Charles Downes – 5 years old – first burial in Brandwood End. The cause of death was ‘Diphtheria after 4 days’

His father, Walter William Downes was a Carpenter (journeyman) who was present at his little son’s death at 47 Runcorn Road, Balsall Heath on Tuesday 11th April 1899.   Charles was buried four days later on Saturday 15th April, and became the first burial in Brandwood End.

We have, today, laid a small tribute with a few words, but hope to bring you more of the Downes Family history via a link in the next few days.

 

The minister who conducted the burial service was Revd Charles William Barnard, Vicar of St. Nicolas’ Kings Norton (1893-1909) in whose parish the Cemetery lay.