We have been informed by Bereavement Services Department that the safety testing of Memorials is due to be restarted and will focus on Sections 35,36,37 and 38
Notification signs have been erected in all the above areas. They have asked us to remind Grave Owners/next of kin, that they should advise the office in Kings Norton Cemetery, by written letter (As signatures will be checked with original deeds) if they have changed address.
Unfortunately many people omit to update addresses when they move, so advising them of any safety work required to their relative’s grave is impossible. This often results in upset as when they do visit the grave they find that safety issues have resulted in the ‘staking’ or ‘laying down’ of the Headstone.
PLEASE CONTACT KINGS NORTON CEMETERY IF YOU HAVE CHANGED ADDRESS and are responsible for a grave in Brandwood End, especially in the Sections mentioned above.
Every year Friends of Brandwood End Committee turn out to try and keep the Ivy under control that takes over some of the most historic monuments in the cemetery.
Following advice from the Conservation Officer and also the Wildlife Trust, who are working closely with us on our Hedgehog Project, we try and restrict our activities to the month of February when the impact on insects and birds is at its lowest. Whilst removing the Ivy we did find one or two frogs and toads enjoying the sunshine in the damp undergrowth but we made sure they remained undisturbed (Apart from their photo call!)
I think you will agree that the improvement is quite striking and has exposed some of our most interesting and beautiful monuments.
FBEC have been lucky enough to receive a donation from one of our members that has enabled us to revitalise the Civilian Garden of Remembrance in the Cemetery. Our main concern was that the beds had become over full and hard to maintain and that the quality of the soil needed improvement. The work was beyond our members abilities but we were able to engage ‘Rudge and Wood’ who are based at Winterbourne Botanical Gardens to undertake this project with some of their students.
It started like this…….and is nearly complete, so it looks like this…
It should be complete by the end of the week and we hope to hold an official unveiling in the near future so watch this space. Our thanks to Darren and his team and you can see more photographs of them at work on our facebook page.
It was lovely to meet some of the newly formed ‘Friends of Lye and Wollescote Cemetery’ as they paid a visit to Brandwood End. They were amazed at the size and the beauty of the tree lined avenues and monuments. FBEC have been in contact with West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust as they were seeking our advice on how we had formed our ‘Friends’ group.
Dudley Council transferred Lye and Wollescote Chapels to West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, who made an Heritage Lottery application for the site to be renovated and it is now to be used as the Registry Office for the area with a resident Registrar. The Friends themselves were not involved in the funding bid or the restoration as work was more or less completed prior to their formation. We wish them luck with their group.
If you would like to see what has been achieved at their site you can follow this link .
‘Heritage Stone Access’ began work this week to clear shrubbery and re-fix loose and fallen masonry on the chapels, in an effort to slow deterioration pending funding being available to undertake renovation work.
As we all know, money is tight in Birmingham City Council and therefore renovation of the chapels remains some way off. (The majority of grant applications would demand match funding as a minimum from the site/building owners- BCC)
Bereavements Department are keen, along with the Friends, to try and keep the Chapels from deteriorating further during this lean period so have engaged a reputable company, with a good history of work on heritage buildings, to carry out various works. This includes making the building ‘pigeon proof’. (Large amounts of pigeon poo have already been professionally removed!) Shrubbery has also been sprayed with weed killers and partially removed.
Those eagled eyed visitors to the cemetery will have noticed that since the pigeons have been denied access to the buildings they have taken to roosting on the tower and creating quite a mess! Whilst on site the contractors will also be re-fixing masonry that has fallen (as seen across). We all watch with interest.
Can we issue a gentle reminder to all our members that the annual membership of FBEC is now due. It remains unchanged at £6 (£3 unwaged). All members should have received their renewal reminders with the AGM notification and this year there is an option to pay by annual standing order. Please contact us on our e mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
FBEC depend on our membership fees to produce our 2 newsletters each year, postage costs and to print the information we display in our Cemetery notice boards, so we do hope we can count on your continued support.
Anyone who may be considering becoming a supporter of FBEC, please refer to the information on this web site.
As mentioned in the article below, the clearance of ‘self set’ trees growing on, or close to graves has now started. If you are familiar with the cemetery you can see, from the photographs below, what a difference it will make. Many graves that have been hidden for years have been exposed and the view across the section has now been opened up. This work will also mean that the tree lined avenues will now appear more defined.
If you look carefully in the photograph you will see the size of some of the felled trees that have obscured (piled to the right) both graves and views. None of the felled trees were part of the original planting.
This open view across the cemetery hasn’t been seen for many years.
Hopefully this will also mean that family members may be able to trace graves they thought were lost forever, and consider their restoration.
2013 has been a year when Friends of Brandwood End have had to take a step back and think again about the way they want to move forward in 2014. We were all very disappointed when Birmingham City Council had to withdraw their financial support for a lottery bid relating to the twin terracotta mortuary chapels at the centre of the cemetery. Along with many local organisations we saw the time when Birmingham would be in a position to support any bid we proposed move further and further away. We are now working with Bereavements Department to investigate alternative fund raising options but in the meantime we will continue with our other achievable projects within the cemetery, whilst keeping the chapels at the front of our campaign.
Those of you that follow this blog will know that just over a year ago pupils from St Albans Catholic Primary School joined Friends and volunteers to replace an ailing hedge around the Civilian Garden of Remembrance with a new hawthorn hedge.This peaceful area had been abandoned for many years until The Friends, with lottery support, restored it to a restful place to sit and enjoy. Initially we had surrounded the area with a beech hedge but the soil, being clay and waterlogged much of the year, did not support this species, so a major plan was put in place to replace it with a more tolerant hawthorn hedge.
This hedge has thrived and grown and had begun to look unruly, despite occasional trimming, so this weekend it had its first serious ‘cut’ and we are pleased to say it looks fantastic. This will only be its second winter coming up and already it is starting to look like a well established hedge. I think you will agree from the photo’s above that the area looks inviting and is well cared for volunteers from FBEC.
If you feel you could help us at all with this ongoing task of weeding etc please contact us via our web site. Many hands make light work and there is always something to do.
How many of us walk though the Woodthorpe Road entrance to the Cemetery and never look at the gates? Well, until recently they didn’t really warrant a second glance….but now they are newly painted we think you will agree they are magnificent!