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 ‘email@example.com’ We can then add you to the mailing list or maybe consider joining the ‘Friends’ via this web site.
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.
Apologies for our lack of posts in August but it has been holiday time and I am afraid not all of us do internet via our phones!!
Back to normal now, and a reminder the annual Bat Walk takes place this evening. Details are on the previous post.
Despite a couple of the committee members being away, one of our members- Pat Franklin- has been busy taking a group around the cemetery as part of an interesting history connection. (Article to follow)
We have also seen a much needed refurbishment of the toilets in the cemetery which we believe is almost completed. Thanks to everyone concerned.
The Friends had hoped to meet the Cabinet Member responsible for Cemeteries today for an official look around the Chapels again for the second time, but it was postponed till later this year.
Accompanied by the staff, who have worked very hard to clean up and organise the damaged contents, we had a better view this time as we had lighting! Through this screen mourners would have been able to see the coffin in the ‘coffin chamber’, delivered here by the Funeral Directors. In more recent times the coffin sat on rails within the main chapel, amongst the mourners (the rails are still visible).
You can see the many photographs we took via this link.
It is now possible to see the actual extent of damage is no where near as severe as originally thought. Both roofs are now sound.
It was very heartening to hear the interest the staff have and their hopes to keep making small improvements that may, one day soon, allow the public supervised access.
What would the Friends like to see as the next step…..
Perspex on the window apertures instead of boards ! Watch this space. Thanks again to Dawn and her team, especially Alan for his persistent cleaning, sweeping and stacking of items that were scattered around after the original fire.
The photographs below, taken today, show how welcoming flowers can be to an area. The first shows the entrance to the now unused Lodge on the main drive. The second is a small area of the Civilian Garden of Remembrance.
We need to get in and do a bit of weeding….but generally it looks lovely and we must thank the BCC grounds maintenance team for the excellent job they have done in reducing the hedge height and keeping it in check for us.
Our adjacent sister site, Brandwood Pool and Pocket Park, has been suffering a lengthy spate of anti social behaviour accompanied by severe littering issues.
This normally peaceful wildlife haven has become a magnet for drug dealers and takers as they have been moved off from other areas. The Police are aware but seem unable to do much to eradicate the issue. The Friends of the Pool hope to hold a community litter pick next week so watch this space for a date and time.
The chapels are being included in a visit by the Cabinet Member to Brandwood End next week.
Councillor Sharon Thompson has responsibility of Cemeteries and Crematoria in her portfolio and seems to be making a point of visiting all of the sites.
The Friends are looking forward to getting a second chance to have a look inside the Chapel buildings following a make safe and roofing project. We know its a mess inside, but at least now it is a dry, waterproof, pigeon proof mess!! Hopefully the Cabinet Member will be joining us and we are interested in her thoughts.
The Friends grabbed the chance to tidy up the hedge surrounding a small Commonwealth War Graves area before the rain started again!
Before and after. All that is needed are a couple of hours to spare and a few willing hands!!
We have several hundred War Graves in Brandwood End and neither ourselves nor Bereavements Services staff can find an explanation as to why these 8 graves are not dispersed within the cemetery like the others. There have been many theories but all have proved incorrect. No one knows……unless you know different??
All these fantastic flowers are creating their own display in the cemetery today!
Were you an avid watcher of ‘Line of Duty’? How close did you watch it? Did you spot Brandwood End’s key role?
I bet the answer to that last question was…..No. Well here you can see what you missed. Series 1 episode 4. (Funeral scene)