Anyone visiting the cemetery in the next few days will see some fantastic work being undertaken. After many years the boards on the windows are being removed and replaced with reinforced Perspex, thus exposing the fantastic terracotta trace work and allowing light into the interior space.
An unexpected effect is that the magnificent trees surrounding the building are reflected out again from the glass creating a magical vision.
Our thanks to Bereavement Services for facilitating this and the contractors for their care installing the Perspex- as great thought has gone into the best way to fix this!
The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that the shrubbery has been removed from the steeple of the Chapels and that the weather vane, loosened in a recent storm, has been removed and is now in safe storage.
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.
This view enables everyone to see how excited the Friends are at the quality of the temporary roof, recently installed by the City Council contractors. Both chapels are now weatherproof and this represents a huge step forward.
It’s taken 3 attempts by Councillor Sharon Thompson to meet with Bereavement Service staff and the Friends in Brandwood End to view the work on the Chapels and the drainage improvements, as her diary is always jam packed with pressing issues and meetings- but today she made it and I am sure she will agree that every one of us enjoyed her time in Brandwood End.
Local Councillors, Lisa Trickett and Mike Leddy,took the opportunity to view this amazing building and along with Councillor Thompson it was agreed that such a magnificent space should be put to use…..but how?
This was also an opportunity to thank Bereavement Service staff, both office and ground maintenance, for going above and beyond to clear the interior and spruce up the exterior of these magnificent buildings.
Whilst on site Councillor Thompson had an extensive ‘walk about’ that took in both graves and the natural tree heritage that Brandwood End offers. It was also an opportunity to see the extensive work that has been done to reduce the risk of flooding to adjacent housing. We thank everyone for their time…..and their enthusiasm. (Especially Councillor Thompson, who seemed as fired up about Brandwood End as we are!)
Our thanks to a local drone operator who shared these magical views with us.
In the following higher shot you are able to get a small insight into the amazing trees within Brandwood End. We are hoping to arrange a walk around the cemetery with Dean, our local Ranger but as local people will know- their time is very much at a premium.
I hope the residents of Kings Heath realise the amazing green space that sits quietly on their doorstep. Luckily for us, the local wildlife are well aware of their opportunities and the cemetery is home to Muntjac deer, Foxes, Hedgehogs, Squirrels,Woodpeckers, Owls, birds of prey……….and many species of familiar birds.
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 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)