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.
Another beautiful day in Brandwood End and it is great to see such colourful blossoms.
These trees were planted very recently as part of a Birmingham Trees for Life project with the help of pupils from St Albans R.C. Primary school.
They are already in bloom!!
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 !!)
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”
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.
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 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.
Five and a half of us collected over 10 bags of wind blown rubbish today in the cemetery. The December litter pick always discloses lots of rubbish hidden in normally leafy shrubbery. Still some litter in areas that are hard to reach but generally everywhere reasonably clean and tidy. Next litter pick-March 2019.
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.
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.