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!
Funerals are still happening in Brandwood End but under the strict supervision of Bereavement Ground Staff. Unfortunately there is a restriction on the number of mourners that can attend, agreed nationally, to comply with safe distancing policy. This is a sad time for all communities, but even more so for members of some religious groups that have specific demands surrounding the loss of a loved one. Our thoughts are with you all.
Every year the Friends and their supporters place Poppy Crosses on ‘War Graves’ within Brandwood End Cemetery. This includes anyone lost as a result of conflict, civilians as well as Armed Forces personnel. Some of these graves are Commonwealth War Graves but many are family graves. In all there are 350+…..but we continue to find the names of those in family graves not yet on our list.
The task of placing these crosses represents a challenge, as the graves are scattered throughout the cemetery and not as well marked as the one you see here, but it is both poignant and rewarding.
If you think you may be interested to train to undertake this annual task, we would love to hear from you. You need to be sytematic and sure footed….and not deterred by inclement weather as this task is undertaken in late October and early November prior to our Remembrance Service. You will need to have a minimum of half a day of your time available but if you think you can help please contact us at:- email@example.com
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!)
It’s not very often that you can get into Brandwood End Cemetery at night…..but tonight was the night! Great bat walk from Jasmin Fields to Brandwood Pool via the cemetery. All ages, and many new to the whole walk route, despite being local.
Thanks to Chris from Brum Bats and Ranger Dean for giving up their own time for this event. 30+ people, lots of bats and an amazing Tawny Owl made it worth it!
We hope that tonight’s adventure encourages people to visit all three sites again and be aware of the amazing natural spaces on their doorsteps.
If, as a result of tonight site visits, we could encourage anyone to be involved in litter picks or work parties to help Ranger Dean keep these sites accessible and welcoming to the public, please e mail us with your contact details on ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ We can then add you to the mailing list or maybe consider joining the ‘Friends’ via this web site.
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.
All these fantastic flowers are creating their own display in the cemetery today!
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.
Great to see the scaffolding being removed after the installation of the new temporary chapel roof.
Lets hope we can manage to get the area within the fencing tidied up a bit now…….hedges boxed back, grass cut….and yet again, shrubbery removed from the brickwork! We live in hope!