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)
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!!
We all know that the 23rdApril is St George’s Day, but did we know that there is a St George’s Mushroom? What’s even more exciting is that they are growing in the cemetery!
St George’s mushrooms are so named as they are usually ready to pick from about St George’s Day, and it was with great joy that Carola, a member of our committee, stumbled across a specimen whilst refreshing our notice boards! The link below will tell you a little more about them and it appears that the ‘River Cottage’ Chef, is most partial to recipes including these edible mushrooms.
Remember never to pick and eat mushrooms/fungi unless you are accompanied by someone who knows which is which- as eating the wrong sort can be fatal!
This weekend was a special one for Brandwood End Cemetery as the Friends remember 2 events that happened 120 years ago.
Brandwood End Cemetery was officially opened (there is a plaque on the wall of the West Chapel ) on Thursday 13th April 1899 by Mr. George Tallis, the Chairman of the Kings Norton Parish Council Local Cemetery Committee.
The photograph above shows the boulder (Provided by the Friends following a generous donation) marking one of the communal grave areas where the very first burial site is marked.
If you look to the right as you pass the Cross of Sacrifice, very close to the Redwood Avenue, you will find a simple wooden stake. (Section C1 c/e)
The Friends, with help from Bereavement Service staff, have identified the grave of :-
Charles Downes – 5 years old – first burial in Brandwood End. The cause of death was ‘Diphtheria after 4 days’
His father, Walter William Downes was a Carpenter (journeyman) who was present at his little son’s death at 47 Runcorn Road, Balsall Heath on Tuesday 11th April 1899. Charles was buried four days later on Saturday 15th April, and became the first burial in Brandwood End.
We have, today, laid a small tribute with a few words, but hope to bring you more of the Downes Family history via a link in the next few days.
The minister who conducted the burial service was Revd Charles William Barnard, Vicar of St. Nicolas’ Kings Norton (1893-1909) in whose parish the Cemetery lay.
Tree contractors, Idverde, have crown lifted many conifers (removed lower branches) and other species, as well as removing Ivy from the lower 6 feet of trunks along the Sunderton road boundary.
Regular visitors to the cemetery will have noticed a huge increase in tree work in the last year. This has followed a survey to determine the safety of many of the older and diseased trees, to prevent damage to graves, property and people in the future. Brandwood End was opened in 1899 and many of the trees were planted then or, in the case of some of the oaks, before that date. Oaks often live for several hundred years but many other species have a much shorter life expectancy and that is the case with many of our 1700 plus trees!
We have seen major crown lifting on both sides of our Wellingtonia avenue, large trees removed on the Broad Lane boundary, Poplars removed along the Sunderton Road boundary, Woodland reduced on the pool end of Sunderton road and various trees crown lifted or removed across the cemetery.
On the plus side, great care has been taken to consider wildlife with trees left untouched that are being used by Woodpeckers, ivy growth removed in some areas and left in others for nesting, standing tree stumps left to improve biodiversity and logs piled for Hedgehog use.
A tree replacement programme has been started and a number of new trees have already been planted by local pupils. The Friends hope that this can continue, provided funding can be found.
Another beautiful day in Brandwood End and it is great to see such colourful blossoms.
These trees were planted very recently as part of a Birmingham Trees for Life project with the help of pupils from St Albans R.C. Primary school.
They are already in bloom!!
Great to see contractors working again on the chapels today. They are making sure the window boards are secure and ‘pigeon’ proof, and then giving them a new coat of paint!
The ‘Crown lifting’ of trees continues in the Cemetery. It started with the Redwood Avenue and random trees.
Contractors moved on to the removal of diseased Poplars, but now (much to the delight of the residents) the trees at the rear of properties in Broad Lane are being given the ‘lifting’ treatment. That means more light and less leaves for them all, and better maintained trees. Win, win !
Gosh ! Where did 2018 go? Christmas is nearly upon us followed closely by the New Year.
Can we take this moment to thank all of our supporters for showing an interest in our posts and taking the time to follow what FBEC have been doing in 2018.
We have had a very busy year holding our Heritage Open Day and then Remembrance, in this special year. Most of our time is taken up with research into the many interesting people buried in Brandwood End and trying to share their story with the wider community. Our special thanks to the relatives of several of those individuals that we highlighted, who then contacted us with additional information and precious photographs.
The Friends have also been pleased to welcome several groups to the Cemetery who have taken part in various themed walks. This year we have also received several donations and many encouraging comments via this site and our Facebook page.
Next year is a special year for the Cemetery as it is the 120th anniversary of its official opening. I am sure those of you that visit the cemetery will have noticed the new temporary roof on the chapel? This is a small step forward, so lets hope that 2019 is the year in which we manage a leap!!
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.