Category: Community

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.

 

Major tree work continues in the cemetery.

Tree contractors, Idverde, have crown lifted many conifers (removed lower branches) and other species, as well as removing Ivy from the lower 6 feet of trunks along the Sunderton road boundary.

Regular visitors to the cemetery will have noticed a huge increase in tree work in the last year. This has followed a survey to determine the safety of many of the older and diseased trees, to prevent damage to graves, property and people in the future. Brandwood End was opened in 1899 and many of the trees were planted then or, in the case of some of the oaks, before that date. Oaks often live for several hundred years but many other species have a much shorter life expectancy and that is the case with many of our 1700 plus trees!

 

We have seen major crown lifting on both sides of our Wellingtonia avenue, large trees removed on the Broad Lane boundary, Poplars removed along the Sunderton Road boundary, Woodland reduced on the pool end of Sunderton road and various trees crown lifted or removed across the cemetery.

On the plus side, great care has been taken to consider wildlife with trees left untouched that are being used by Woodpeckers, ivy growth removed in some areas and left in others for nesting, standing tree stumps left to improve biodiversity and logs piled for Hedgehog use.

A tree replacement programme has been started and a number of new trees have already been planted by local pupils. The Friends hope that this can continue, provided funding can be found.

Litter Pick tomorrow…….

 

This is the final reminder that we will be holding our usual LITTER PICK tomorrow and everyone is welcome. This event is part of the annual event organised by Keep Britain Tidy, but we are holding it on our usual first weekend in March.

Saturday 2nd March 10am-11.30am. All welcome. Stout footwear and gloves advised. Litter pickers and bags provided. Meet at the Lodge on the main drive.

(We may not be quite as festive as we were in December !!)

The 15th of Shevat

Whilst tree planting this week we were reminded by a member of our Jewish Community that Monday is an especially tree related day in their faith.

‘The 15th of Shevat’ on the Jewish calendar—celebrated this year on Monday, January 21, 2019—is the day that marks the beginning of a “new year” for trees.

Commonly known as Tu Bishvat, this day marks the season in which the earliest-blooming Sweet Almond trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

Members of the Jewish Community mark the ’15th of Shevat’ by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

On this day we remember that “man is a tree of the field”

 

15 new native trees for the cemetery.

Today the Friends were joined by local pupils of St Albans Catholic Primary school, Councillors, Tree Officers….and a Ranger, to start what we hope will be an ongoing tree replacement project !

Birmingham Trees for Life organised today’s event after the local Tree Officer appealed for help to replace the 64 Poplar Trees recently removed as they had reached the end of their life. 3 Flowering Cherry trees, 3 Oak trees, 3 Tulip trees, 3 Crab Apples and 3 Liquid Amber have been planted as a start towards returning the tree stock to its previous level.

The Friends helped with planting, but more importantly they provided hot drinks, squash and biscuits for everyone. Our thanks to everyone that helped make today’s event a success. If you follow the link on

btfl.org.uk you can see lots of lovely photos that they took today.

 

Gosh, so much tree work!

The ‘Crown lifting’ of trees continues in the Cemetery. It started with the Redwood Avenue and random trees.

Contractors moved on to the removal of diseased Poplars, but now (much to the delight of the residents) the trees at the rear of properties in Broad Lane are being given the ‘lifting’ treatment.  That means more light and less leaves for them all, and better maintained trees.  Win, win !

Tree replacement programme begins…

Tree planting event, 10.30am Tuesday 15th January- Turn left off the main drive and head downhill….

Birmingham Trees for Life and pupils of St Albans RC Primary school will be joining the Friends as we make a start on replacing the 64  trees that were recently felled adjacent to Sunderton Road and Broad Lane.

Some time back, the Tree Officer had concerns for the 64 large Poplar trees that flanked the cemetery and towered over the newly built houses in Sunderton Road. His concerns were correct as when, in a large project, they were felled and showed that most of them were internally rotten and in danger of falling in high winds etc.

We were all in agreement that these trees needed to be replaced to maintain the tree stock in this beautiful Cemetery but we also agreed that more suitable trees should be found that would not shade out the properties that lie behind them but could also aid the reduction of ‘water run off’ that occurs in this area. How could we fund this project?

To the rescue came Birmingham Trees for Life. (A charity that are part of Birmingham Civic Society). They are funding the first 15 standard trees as part of what we hope will be an ongoing project.

Come along and help. Everyone welcome.

Christmas Greetings to all our supporters

Gosh ! Where did 2018 go? Christmas is nearly upon us followed closely by the New Year.

Can we take this moment to thank all of our supporters for showing an interest in our posts and taking the time to follow what FBEC have been doing in 2018. 

We have had a very busy year holding our Heritage Open Day and then Remembrance, in this special year. Most of our time is taken up with research into the many interesting people buried in Brandwood End and trying to share their story with the wider community. Our special thanks to the relatives of several of those individuals that we highlighted, who then contacted us with additional information and precious photographs.

The Friends have also been pleased to welcome several groups to the Cemetery who have taken part in various themed walks.  This year we have also received several donations and many encouraging comments via this site and our Facebook page.

Next year is a special year for the Cemetery as it is the 120th anniversary of its official opening.     I am sure those of you that visit the cemetery will have noticed the new temporary roof on the chapel? This is a small step forward, so lets hope that 2019 is the year in which we manage a leap!!