It was a pleasure to meet the Revd Tom Merry and his sister in Brandwood End today as they searched for family graves. Both had travelled from Gloucestershire and Worcestershire respectively and had spent an interesting morning investigating burial records to help locate several graves.
They were both surprised to see the prominence of the family grave of their great grandfather William Adams, shared with one set of their grandparents.
William, known as Bill, was a notable benefactor to the City of Birmingham, a county councillor, magistrate and chairman of Birmingham Football Club.
After his death in 1911 (and burial at Brandwood End) his house in Moseley called ‘Sorrento’ became a hospital for WW1 wounded and then later a well known local maternity hospital.
William was despatched from his home town of Sheffield to Birmingham, to establish a new branch of Refuge Assurance, a company founded by his father Henry Adams.
Whilst in the cemetery they were also able to locate 3 other family graves. Our thanks for allowing The Friends to be part of this interesting investigation.
Not quite a ‘brick’ but certainly- in the wall…of the chapels.
We have Mark Brady of STONESET MEMORIAL MASONS to thank for bringing this foundation stone back to its original condition. Over the last 121 years the writing had become indistinct and difficult to read. Mark undertook this work as a ‘labour of love’ and I am sure you will agree that it now cuts a dash on the chapel wall.
Todays date, September 3rd, was an important date in 1939 as it marked the Official Declaration of War against Germany.
Until now much of the information regarding burials and casualties that FBEC have been highlighting on this site has related to WW1. Eighty years ago the country was yet again plunged into a state of War but this time the effects on the population ‘at home’ would be devastating.
Looking back in time we will still be highlighting issues that saw the end to the ‘War to end all wars’…..but our emphasis will move slightly to those buried in Brandwood End as a result of the Second World War.
Unfortunately FBEC will not be at this event in Cannon Hill but we recommend it to anyone interested in local history and local groups.
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.
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 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 have produced a short article about D Day, a link to which is included below. It will be 75 years ago on June 5th that this momentous event took place. We do hope you take the time to read it.
FBEC – D DAY (1)PDF
The eagle eyed amongst you, who read our article headed ‘Chapel news gets better and better’ will have spotted that everyone was standing in front of a new display board!
We were overjoyed when we were asked to provide content for a new ‘Interpretation Board’, to be installed in front of the chapel buildings. This has given everyone involved the opportunity to pass information about the chapels and their future to the public in general- especially those who do not use the internet and therefore are unable to view this web site or our facebook page.
The Friends were delighted to be invited, by Bereavement Service staff, to join them on a rare opportunity to actually get inside the chapels !
They were joined by City Council officials, eager to view the newly fitted temporary roof and inspect the work already done. Everyone agreed that the visit had been well worth while and it stirred enthusiasm all round, that these magnificent buildings should not be allowed to deteriorate further. This is the present stance of BCC . Those present included- Alison Fumagalli (BCC Registrar / South) Bev Nash (BCC Registrar North) Andy King (BCC Principal Building Surveyor Building Consultancy Acivico) Coral Howard FBEC Vice Chair, Kerry Tinkler FBEC Committee Member, Steve Hollingworth (BCC Assistant Director/Regulation and Enforcement) and Dawn Harding (BCC Bereavement Officer responsible for Brandwood End and Kings Norton Cemeteries)