On the morning of Saturday 8th September between 10am and 1pm the Friends will be taking part in Heritage Open Week.
Please come along and join us. We will have plenty of interesting items and displays and you can join one of our Grave Walks (numbers limited) highlighting the plight of ‘Labour Corps’ members who are buried and remembered in Brandwood End.
If you have any interesting memorabilia concerning the activities of local Suffragettes we would really love to see it !
The top two photos show cross sections of a couple of the Poplars removed along the Broad Lane boundary. The log pile represents the trees that have been removed and cut into sections. All of these logs will be chipped and used as Biomass to fuel power stations- nothing will be wasted.
Nesting is now over for this year- so we have been able to restore/cut the hedges in the Civilian Garden of Remembrance back to their neat and tidy state.
Our thanks to the staff from Idverde who have undertaken this task on our behalf. As the hedge is now mature cutting and shaping it represents a major piece of work. It is now beyond the Friends so we rely on assistance to keep everything ship shape.
The Friends still cut and maintain the hedge in the adjacent small War Graves area.
Visitors were treated to an amazing sight as contractors began removing a large number of Poplar trees that were very close to houses on Sunderton Road.
Things are often not what they seem….especially when it comes to trees. Our relatively healthy looking Poplars were hiding a potentially dangerous secret!
The ‘heartwood’, or centre of the trunks, on several trees was rotten. This is obviously something that can’t be seen by eye- but is one of the major things that the Tree Officer will have arranged to be tested. I photographed just a couple of examples…..but there were several.
I will also post some photos of the ‘kit’ and the felled trees as it was a hive of industry. It has opened up the back of the adjacent houses and must make a difference to their light?
Lets hope this great tree husbandry continues with the planting of interesting and suitable replacement trees in the not too distant future.
Those of you that are visiting the cemetery this week, or who live adjacent to the cemetery in Sunderton Road, will be aware that there is a lot of activity on that side of the cemetery. As we posted earlier, a number of large Poplar trees are being removed as they are now reaching the end of their life and the Tree Officer felt that, for safety reasons, they need to be removed. This is part of the tree husbandry work that has been happening in the Cemetery with trees being ‘crown lifted’, felled and trimmed.
It is hoped that these trees will all be replaced in the coming financial year with a number of unusual more suitable specimen trees, in line with the initial planting. Brandwood End has in excess of 1700 trees, many of which are unusual and were planted over 100 years ago. The Friends hope they can encourage an ongoing replacement programme by the City, as trees reach the end of their life. As usual the stumbling block will be finance!!
Following our adventures with the shears…..we moved on to a bit of weeding and pruning in the Civilian Garden of Remembrance. No shears in use on this hedge as it is now mature and used by nesting birds! Hopefully they will all have fledged soon, as the hawthorn hedge is desperately in need of smartening up but we must remember that the prime reason for this hedge was to increase biodiversity in the cemetery.
In Brandwood End Cemetery we have over 320 War Graves but, close to our Civilian Memorial Garden, we have a small enclosed area of War Graves. A couple of years ago local school pupils helped plant a hedge around this area, which is now finally taking shape. As you can see, it needed a bit of a tidy up so members of FBEC (Committee and members) got their shears out and set to.
A couple of hours later…….. and you can see a real improvement !
We are all a little sad to see the chapels seemingly in one of the worst states since the formation of FBEC. The Friends are continually trying to find a solution to halt this deterioration but we are very much in the hands of the owners, Birmingham City Council. Until a sustainable future use for them is found that is acceptable to BCC, and to grant providers, I am afraid we are going nowhere!
We can all see the huge amount of shrubbery both out of control around the chapels and also on the tower. This makes us so sad as, despite years of effort, we have still got nowhere!
The Friends will continue their efforts in all other areas of the cemetery but our main aim remains to try and bring about a solution to halt the continued deterioration of these marvelous Victorian Terracotta Chapels.
Can we add that none of this reflects on the Ground Staff and administration for the cemetery who, like us, are equally sad and unable to resolve this issue but continue to maintain the rest of the cemetery as well as resources allow.
There has recently been some social media comment highlighting some areas of the cemetery that appear to be unmown. This has been reported to Bereavements Services but when FBEC committee members went to look they were also concerned….. but, it was a far from a simple issue.
You will see from the photo above that the growth is not in fact grass (you can see the narrow path has been mown) but it is actually weed growth on individual graves.
Our understanding is that these areas are are normally treated with weed inhibitor but this year it has been ineffective- possibly because of the rain deluge that followed spraying and then this long hot spell? Not sure what they can do at this stage, as spraying now may kill whats grown, but not remove it ! When they offer a solution we will let you know.
Meanwhile, rest assured that the rest of the cemetery is spick and span…..as you can see below.