If you happen to visit the cemetery this week, you will spot the major change in the appearance of the area around the chapel buildings!
Following the recent re-roofing of one chapel, the Friends have been pressing for a general clearance of shrubbery etc. Was it our nagging that encouraged this clean up……….or the impending visit of the Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods ????? Either way, it looks so much better!!
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.
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.
The Friends have tried several times to get the Victorian Chapels in Brandwood End included in the Victorian Society ‘At Risk’ register and it appears we have at last been successful. As yet we have received no official notification (not sure that we will !) but an article will appear in tomorrows Birmingham Post saying that we have been added, along with a large factory in the Black Country. You can follow the article below, and whilst there are some funding inaccuracies in the reporting, we are really pleased that The Post has decided to highlight this.
At this time we are not sure if this listing will add weight to our constant requests to Birmingham City Council to move forward, alongside the Friends, and apply for grant funding to bring this building back into acceptable condition. This will also involve work to find a sustainable future use- thus ensuring this beautiful buildings future.
The Victorian Society web site also carries this news-
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 !