The Friends are working alongside ‘Caring for God’s Acre’ in a project to record details of all the memorials in Brandwood End Cemetery.
FBEC members were joined on site today by Val Hart from Balsall Heath Local History Society. We hope Val will be sharing her experience with the rest of the Balsall Heath Local History Society. This will be a long term project and we soon hope to be able to give you details on how you can become involved yourselves.
Our thanks to George from Caring for God’s Acre for her guidance and to Val, Lisa, Pat, Julia and Jane for their efforts…..in the rain!
Despite the ‘lockdown’ restrictions, the Friends were able to support a small gathering to remember those lost as a result of the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign.
FBEC Chairman Julia Griffin, Vice Chairman Coral Howard and member Pat Franklin joined Ian Binnie (Gallipoli Association), Colonel (Retd.) Bob Carruthers (Royal Warwickshire Regiment Association) and Richard Millington (Warwickshire Yeomanry Association) joined together to remember all those who served in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign of World War One.
For those with an interest, you can follow this link to a brochure containing more details prepared by the Gallipoli Association. Anzac booklet.
Yet again Bereavement Services have come up trumps and installed a lovely new permanent fence around the chapel buildings. The original fencing was a temporary ‘builders yard’ type- and gave this magnificent building a look of ‘waiting for demolition’ . Nothing could be further from the truth!
The new fence is a finer mesh and a shade of green that means it is less of an obstruction to the view of the chapels. We hope soon to be able to install some permanent information boards on the fence.
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!
Took my daily exercise in the cemetery today and thought I would take a few photos of the extent of graves failing a stress test. These stones are in danger of toppling under minor pressure, so have been marked with blue tape and staked, to allow time for next of kin to have them correctly fixed by a Stonemason, and to warn the public to keep clear of them. In the older sections there are quite a few large stones needing action.
Early in December a member of our committee was lucky enough to be in the cemetery when a new name was added to the screen wall, adjacent to the Cross of Sacrifice on the main drive.
The work was undertaken by Chargehand Stonemason – Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Mike Witham.
Mike has undertaken work for the CWWGC all over the world in various cemeteries and on December 1st he found himself in Brandwood End.
The names of those who lost their lives during the Wars, and are buried in the communal grassed areas either side of the main drive, are remembered on the screen walls. They were either without family or family were unable to afford to finance a grave at that time, but they are individually named on the two screen walls that lie either side of the main drive adjacent to the Cross of Sacrifice.
Our understanding is that family recently followed up his records and approached the CWWGC to have his name added. The Friends would love to talk to the family, so if one of them is reading this or if you know who they are, could you put us in touch? Please e mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The work undertaken by Mike and other CWWGC Stonemasons must be admired as its longevity enables families to see a lasting record of their relatives and a recognition of their sacrifice.
Our thanks to our committee member, Carola Klein, for her observations and photographs of Fungi in the cemetery. We notice that this year the huge ‘Fairy Rings’ we saw last year have not reappeared.
We know that many of our web site followers take their cameras along when they visit Brandwood End. We are always interested to see your results if you think you have an interesting shot, whether that is an unusual headstone, wildlife or flora and fauna. Can you e mail them to us at email@example.com
IT IS WITH REGRET THAT THE FRIENDS OF BRANDWOOD END HAVE DECIDED TO CANCEL THE USUAL SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE IN BRANDWOOD END. WE HAD HOPED TO HOLD A SMALLER EVENT BEHIND LOCKED GATES BUT FOLLOWING ADVICE FROM THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH FOR BIRMINGHAM, DR JUSTIN VARNEY, WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO ENCOURAGE A GATHERING OF ANY DESCRIPTION.
OVER THE NEXT WEEK, EACH OF OUR WREATH LAYERS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE BEEN ASKED TO VISIT INDEPENDENTLY AND PLACE THEIR WREATHS AT THE CROSS OF SACRIFICE SO BY 8th NOVEMBER THEY WILL ALL BE IN PLACE. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT ON THAT DAY TO OBSERVE THE 2 MINUTES SILENCE WHERE EVER YOU ARE.
WE WILL BE POSTING PHOTOGRAPHS OF EACH WREATH BEING LAID ON OUR WEB SITE www.fbec.org.uk
IT WAS WITH HEAVY HEARTS THAT WE MADE THIS DECISION, BUT WE ALL FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO TRY AND ADHERE TO LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS AND THE ADVICE WE HAVE RECEIVED. WE HOPE WE CAN WELCOME YOU ALL BACK IN 2021.
Munjac Deer have been making themselves known in and around the area of the cemetery and the pool. They were heard more than seen a lot in the past, but sightings have been rare of late. The deer you can see in the picture below is a Roe deer and is considerably larger with a longer neck and a distinctive white rump- but several years ago one of these was spotted and photographed in the cemetery by Dean our Ranger. How it got there, we have no idea but it is unlikely we will see one again! (The female does not have the antlers that appear here)
The Muntjac is much smaller, similar size to a Labrador dog, and can be recognised in the cemetery at night by it’s distinctive single ‘bark’. In the last week there have been close encounters during daylight with one by Brandwood Pool and also in the cemetery. Wildlife is enjoying lockdown, with reduced footfall making them more inclined to be about in daylight hours in this relatively urban area. Lets hope someone can get a photo of one ……but they are very quick!