I am afraid that, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to suspend our Stories from the Stones project for a short period. The original organisers and sponsors of the project were ‘Caring for Gods Acre’ but their support was limited to 2 years and that expired at the end of last year.
We have managed to hold some recording events since but need to reorganise our team as we want to make every effort to continue with the valuable recording of grave inscriptions for posterity.
Please watch this page for details of when these events will re-commence and we hope to include some weekend opportunities as requested !
Just a reminder that FBEC will be working with Caring for Gods Acre again on this project throughout 2023. This will be our third year. Unfortunately they had to cancel the March event due to snow and ice ! The next event will be 10th April. This is a fascinating project and a chance for you to take part in recording this information for future generations. Contact Josie to reserve a place at any, or all, of these FREE events.
Winter is a quiet time in Brandwood End but the Friends have been working away in the background on a number of projects.
We are creating a number of ‘Trail sheets’ that will cover Heritage items, trees, interesting graves, fascinating memorials, quiet corners to rest and take in the wildlife and trees plus measured routes to stroll, with distances and surface types to encourage the less able to enjoy them as well.
The sheet below, kindly produced by committee member Lisa Fair, highlights some of the cemetery heritage- both historical and ecological.
Our partnership with Caring for God’s Acre to record all the inscriptions on headstones to populate a digital map of Brandwood End is coming to a close but during Heritage week they kindly led a session for the public in the hope that we may prolong its demise!
Today we were able to tell the story of the Civilian Garden of Remembrance and those that lie within.
Many of our visitors today had no idea that this peaceful area of reflection existed and certainly knew nothing of those buried within.
With the help of Matt Felkin and his wealth of knowledge, we were able to answer many questions about Civilian casualties and local areas that received bomb damage.
Our thanks again to everyone that helped us deliver this Heritage Event and those who took the time to visit us, especially in this strange time of public mourning.
The Friends will be taking part in Heritage Open Week and here are a few dates for your diary.
Saturday September 10th– Join us in the Civilian Garden of Remembrance to find out more about this area and why it was built by BCC 70 years ago and refurbished by the Friends. Learn more about who is buried there and why.
We will also have self guided grave tour maps and a trail of painted stones for the younger visitors.
Wednesday 14th September-join volunteers to help record the inscriptions on memorials for posterity, as well as giving you an insight to those buried beneath and the etiquette at that time. This event will be led by Caring for God’s Acre and booking will be available via Eventbrite nearer the time or by e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 16th September– Take a stroll with our Chairman, Julia Griffin and Val Hart from the Balsall Heath Society to visit a number of graves with a connection to Balsall Heath. You dont have to have lived in that area to find the lives of those buried within are of real interest. Please e mail us direct to book a place as we have limited space. email@example.com
Those of you that follow a series on Chanel 5 called ‘Planes that won the War’ will have seen, in the episode screened on the 1st of July, the story of 8 Air man who lost their lives when their Lancaster crashed into ‘Ben Eighe’, a mountain in Scotland. The crash site was very remote, and still is.
One of those lost, their Navigator, lived very locally and is buried in Brandwood End. We hope to feature his story in the near future, so watch this space.
Should any of his relatives read this, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we would love to know more.
Those of you that follow our posts will know that several months ago the Commonwealth War Graves Commission re laid new turf in a small War Grave area adjacent to the main drive. This area is home to 8 of our 352 War Graves. Why these 8 are here together no one seems to know. Bereavements are mystified and so are the CWGC. The refreshing of this area has continued with the grass now lush and the addition of new perennial flowers at the foot of each stone. Looking good.
We do hope you have enjoyed reading the research we have posted and we remind you that there are 86000+ graves in Brandwood End, so lots more to do ! We welcome anyone who would like to join us doing long term research.
We also highlighted the gardening and general tidying work that the Friends do- and again we are always welcoming, as an extra pair of hands helps spread the load.
The Friends are always in need of supporters to help with weeding in the Civilian Garden of Remembrance as the two large round beds are now well established and ground cover plants are flourishing but weeds still are an issue. We had a very successful rota but I am afraid most of the volunteers have either moved away or feel physically unable to continue. Weeding there can be done when ever you want but we do need to know before you go for insurance purposes. A text to 07811393259 or an e mail to email@example.com is equally acceptable. If you would rather work in a group then let us know and we will arrange w work party for a few of us. We hope one of our supporters can help.
A huge thankyou to those that already go above and beyond to assist.
You may wonder why we have included the above event in our National Cemeteries week, and why today? Maybe the date gives you a clue, as it is 107 years today since the Lusitania sank and on board was Reverend Canon Ernest Maxwell Phair- who is buried in Brandwood End Cemetery.
Follow the link below to find out who he was and why he was travelling on the Lusitania that day.
FBEC – REVEREND CANON ERNEST EDWARD MAXWELL PHAIR