The Friends are in discussions with Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust to be the linchpin of a community Hedgehog survey in Brandwood. The project would hopefully involve the training of local residents to recognise Hedgehog activity, improve habitat, encourage ‘Hedgehog friendly gardens’ and generally raise the profile and understanding of wildlife within the cemetery and beyond.
The Hedgehog used to be a common sight in many peoples gardens and within Brandwood End Cemetery……but when did you last see one? With help, we hope to discover if they are still thriving in this area and if not, why not- and what could residents do to encourage a growth in the numbers of this endangered species.
Following a meeting with Bereavement Services Managers we understand that efforts are being made to find funds to remove the damaging shrubbery that seems to reappear on the brickwork of the Chapels. This is always a costly operation as it requires special equipment but it is hoped that it will, yet again, improve the appearance of the building and prevent further damage whilst we wait till restoration funding becomes more readily available.
The concept of a bespoke fence to surround the chapel area, rather than the existing ‘builders fence’, is being investigated as a measure to improve the overall appearance of this area when entering the cemetery.
Bereavement Services site staff are now cutting the grass surrounding the Chapel buildings and clearing weeds on pathways.
They are also involved in removing Ivy from graves, a project FBEC hope to continue to be involved in.
We are sure regular visitors to the Cemetery will have heard and seen the tree work that has been going on. A number of mature trees have had to be removed as they were either damaged or diseased and represented a risk to the public.
It is so sad to see such majestic trees felled but many of them are at least as old as the Cemetery- so 120 years and some were part of the original hedgerows in the farmers fields. Nothing lasts for ever and fungi are often a sign of a trees demise.
The Friends are keen to help with the maintenance of tree stock numbers and species in Brandwood End but any introduction of trees into the cemetery needs to be carefully planned with Bereavement Services and the local Tree Officer to maintain its original design.
Christmas is almost upon us and the committee of Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery would like to wish all our supporters ‘Seasons Greetings’. Although we seem to have made no progress with the Chapels in 2014, due to the financial constraints being experienced by Birmingham City Council, we have never the less been busy on other projects in the cemetery. Can we thank Bereavement Services staff for their co operation, our project sponsors and all of the volunteers who have worked alongside us. Thank you all again and we look forward, hopefully, to more progress in 2015.
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.
The New Vision Community Board made its first appearance off site at the Middle Earth Weekend at the Shire Country Park (Sarehole Mill). Many people stopped to ask questions about the Brandwood End Cemetery and we hope, as a result we will see some new members to our already growing group. Please do think about joining The Friends (There is information on how to do this on our site). There is always strength in numbers and more members lead to more ideas as to how we can work with BCC to retain and improve the quality of this magical cemetery site.
Just prior to Christmas 2012 New Vision Community Group were part of the Christmas Fayre at St Albans School. FBEC, as members of this group, ran a small competition for the pupils to draw what they saw and liked within Brandwood End Cemetery. These are the three prize winners.
This beautiful drawing of our Chapels was produced by Nancy McAndrew, who is 10 years old.
Maisey Cox, aged 9, has captured the avenues of trees that make Brandwood End cemetery so beautiful.
Our final winner is just 5! Roman Addy has managed to pack so many things into his picture. Foxes, trees, angels, grave stones, mushrooms….and even a cat he saw!
Full marks for observation.
Each of the three winners will receive a prize of some items to use for their future artistic endeavours and their efforts will be displayed on our notice boards as well as here on our site.
We would like to thank them for taking the time to enter our competition.
The Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery are delighted to announce that following close liaison with Councillor Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member, for Transport, Environment and Regeneration, and Birmingham City Council Bereavement Service Officers, conservation planning has been granted for enabling works to be undertaken on the Victorian twin terracotta Grade II listed Chapels in order to improve security.
In addition, the Superintendent’s Lodge (Grade ll listed by association with the chapels), which was rendered uninhabitable by flooding in December 2010, is to be refurbished by Birmingham City Council. Amongst other uses, consideration is being given to the Lodge eventually becoming a Visitors’ Centre and for local community group use. The works include the provision of a garden area and refurbishment of the existing toilet block.
The enabling works have begun on the Chapels and work will commence on the Lodge shortly.
Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 19th April 2012 at The Brandwood Centre from 19.30. All interested parties are welcome; only members are entitled to vote.
The Friends have been working in close co-operation with Birmingham City Council since 2005 and have achieved many improvements to the cemetery in general. Combined efforts towards the repair and restoration of the Chapels will be ongoing.
Anyone interested in supporting the Friends in their endeavours can obtain more information here, by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to us c/o The Lakeside Centre, 180 Lifford Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham, B30 3NU.
Elizabeth Perkins, Director of the Birmingham Conservation Trust, has graciously accepted an invitation from the Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery’s Committee to become their fifth Patron.
Elizabeth has been associated with FBEC almost since its inception in 2005 and has given a great deal of her time and expertise in supporting the Committee’s endeavours to repair and restore the twin terracotta Victorian Chapels in Brandwood End Cemetery.
Birmingham Conservation Trust is a charity which exists ‘to provide and enhance Birmingham’s threatened architectural heritage and to promote an enjoyment and understanding of the City’s historic buildings.’
With Elizabeth at the helm, Birmingham Conservation Trust’s many successful projects include the Back to Backs and Perrotts Folly.
Their latest sucess has been the recent award of £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the 19th century Grade 11 listed Newman Bros. Coffin Works, which is situated in the Jewellery Quarter.
Further information about the Trust and their projects can be obtained from ‘Useful Links’ on this website.
A “Save our Chapels” petition was presented to Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, 7th September by Councillor Neville Summerfield (Brandwood Ward) on behalf of the Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery. The Friends are endeavouring to prevent the further deterioration of the unique Grade II listed twin terracotta mortuary chapels which form the Cemetery’s centrepiece.
The Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery was constituted in 2005 and the elected Committee has worked assiduously to improve and maintain this very beautiful Victorian cemetery. The main aim has always been to restore and repair the chapels to their former glory and to involve a wider community use.
Work was undertaken to make the chapels “safe” in 2007 and Architects and Structural Engineers were commissioned to undertake an Options Appraisal in 2009: the Friends are seeking to further the Appraisal recommendations with Birmingham City Council, the owners of the cemetery.
The Friends have taken their role within the cemetery very seriously and have been responsible for, amongst other aspects:
restoring the Civilian Garden of Remembrance,
new section markers,
boulders to mark public grave sites,
remembrance of the war dead by placing a poppy cross on over 300 war graves every November, and the organisation of a Service of Remembrance,
bi-monthly litter picks, which assist the limited ground staff with maintenance
Covering over 50 acres of land, Brandwood End Cemetery was created by the Victorians as a place of peace and tranquillity. Now, over 110 years later, the cemetery welcomes approximately 52,000 visitors annually. The visitors tend graves, take exercise, appreciate the trees (through tree walks), listen to the birds, marvel at the flora and fauna and are testament to the value of this beautiful open space.