Category: Environment

Heritage Open event 2018- We shall remember them.

This is a lovely film showing a small aspect of our Heritage event this year. Doug Smith, his colleagues and three young ladies from Swanshurst Girls School brought to life some of those buried in Brandwood End who lost their lives as a result of action in WW1. Those ‘remembered’ were all real….. and died as recorded, although their words are subject to some poetic license. Our thanks, as always, to Doug and his team who never fail to produce an interesting item for our events.

Last Litter Pick of 2018

All the wind that has been blowing over the last few days will have whipped flower papers away from graves and flung them around the Cemetery ! Join us at 10am this Sunday the 2nd December by the Lodge for our final clear up of 2018. Bare shrubbery discloses litter hidden most of the year so December always yields a good haul.

We have the litter pickers and the bags, but we advise boots and gloves as the ground is uneven.

Blossomfield U3A Visitors.

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.

Work on the chapel roof progressing.

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. 

At last….. temporary roof is being installed!

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.