Well, here we are….2020 ! Can we wish all our followers, supporters and members a very Happy New Year.
2019 has seen lots of steps forward for the Friends, especially in relation to the Chapels. It is to be hoped that we can maintain the momentum and bring these beautiful buildings back to the notice of the public.
Councillor Sharon Thompson and members of Bereavement Service staff recently had the chance to inspect the inside of these buildings with the Friends and we all agreed that 2020 should be the year we try to find a use for this beautiful structure.
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 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!!
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!
Over 150 people attended this years Service of Remembrance. Once again the atmosphere was enhanced by our Bugler but it was lovely to see many organisations represented, many of whom had several members there.Our thanks to Deacon David Fairbotham, who conducts a short but thought provoking service and to the growing number of people who attend. if you would like to see a few more photographs of this event, please follow this link.
We shall remember them.
When I arrived back from holiday this afternoon I could hear the strange sound of ‘nail guns’ coming from the cemetery , so I dashed straight round in the hope that the roof trusses (that were delivered a couple of weeks ago) may be in position….and they were!
The Roofers are working hard installing the timber frame and then hopefully it will be boarded, felted and a outer surface applied.
Can we stress that this is a temporary roof and in place to protect the structure of the building, not to renovate it.
Never the less, this is a day that the Friends have been working towards for over 10 years as it represents a step in the right direction, to prevent the dereliction of this building reaching a state that would make it uneconomic to renovate.
We still have a number of major stumbling blocks before we can agree that the initial aims of our group, to see the chapels renovated and in use, are realised. One of these is a viable solution as to how this building, if renovated, can earn its keep in the future. The chapels, as they were, are no longer required for use alongside funerals but restrictions on access make their use for many suggestions not acceptable.
Birmingham City Council and the Friends will continue to try and find a solution to these issues as we are all in agreement that the loss of such a beautiful building would be a crime.
Guess what we spotted …..these roof trusses, leaning on the gable ends of the chapel. It was agreed some time ago, following a safety inspection, that a temporary roof needed to be fitted to the roofless chapel.
There has been a long delay as the design of the temporary roof had to be agreed with planning because the building and cemetery are Grade 2 listed.
At this time we have no idea what the ‘temporary’ roof will look like but our main concern is that it is in place before the adverse weather really sets in. Maybe one step forward?
The Friends have tried several times to get the Victorian Chapels in Brandwood End included in the Victorian Society ‘At Risk’ register and it appears we have at last been successful. As yet we have received no official notification (not sure that we will !) but an article will appear in tomorrows Birmingham Post saying that we have been added, along with a large factory in the Black Country. You can follow the article below, and whilst there are some funding inaccuracies in the reporting, we are really pleased that The Post has decided to highlight this.
At this time we are not sure if this listing will add weight to our constant requests to Birmingham City Council to move forward, alongside the Friends, and apply for grant funding to bring this building back into acceptable condition. This will also involve work to find a sustainable future use- thus ensuring this beautiful buildings future.
The Victorian Society web site also carries this news-
We are now seeing a small amount of work starting to move fences in and then make masonry safe. Planning permission is still pending for a temporary roof on half of the building to protect the walls from the weather etc. With Bereavement Services we hope to raise funds for some ‘interpretation’ so members of the public can follow what is happening in this area. This is not a renovation project at this time, just an effort to prevent further deterioration, pending ideas for asuccessful bid to give this building a sustainable future.
Follow this link to our photo album and thanks to our photographer!