As I am sure we have mentioned before, The Friends have been accepted as entrants into Heart of England in Bloom and will get a judges visit towards the end of this month. Whilst we are not able to affect much of the horticulture or upkeep of the cemetery we feel sure that Bereavement Service staff will be supporting our efforts.
There are a few things we can do, so the hard work in those areas has begun. Our thanks to one of our committee members, Sarah, who has started washing down some of the rain/mud spattered Section Markers. What a difference a bit of ‘Fairy’ makes!!
Before….and after !!
Our thanks also to Julia who has been popping in and out weeding under hedges and Barrie- who’s shears have been working overtime! All of these jobs and many more are undertaken continually by volunteer members of FBEC and the community, and happen as if by magic…..but we are making just a little bit of extra effort for this, our first, RHS entry!!
We hope you have noticed the difference we have made over the last 11 years and we thank all those that have offered their help.
The Friends offer lots of opportunities for members to take part in projects that inspire them, be it gardening ,war graves, social history, or trees, birds and wildlife. We are always keen to involve anyone with a skill they would like to share. Please e mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can we make a special appeal for someone to be responsible for keeping a digital archive of our activities. We know most of our activities are recorded on our Facebook page and within this blog but we would like to have everything kept in one place, and free time restricts the existing committee members from taking this on. Please can you help?
This photograph was taken on Saturday 20th June at the end of a most interesting and absorbing KH History Group summer field trip to Brandwood End Cemetery led by Pat Franklin (A member of FBEC) who generously gave her time to talk to the members about the history of the Cemetery and show them some of the WW1 graves and memorials that Brandwood contains.
Remembering Canon Ernest Edward Maxwell Phair (Buried in Brandwood End) and the 1,201 passengers and crew of RMS Lusitania who drowned when it was sunk by a torpedo from the German U Boat U20 18 km due south of Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse, Cork, Eire, 7th May 1915.
As mentioned in the article below, the clearance of ‘self set’ trees growing on, or close to graves has now started. If you are familiar with the cemetery you can see, from the photographs below, what a difference it will make. Many graves that have been hidden for years have been exposed and the view across the section has now been opened up. This work will also mean that the tree lined avenues will now appear more defined.
If you look carefully in the photograph you will see the size of some of the felled trees that have obscured (piled to the right) both graves and views. None of the felled trees were part of the original planting.
This open view across the cemetery hasn’t been seen for many years.
Hopefully this will also mean that family members may be able to trace graves they thought were lost forever, and consider their restoration.
Not many people will have heard of Edward Davison, however, he played a large part in King’s Heath life and his obituary was reported in the Birmingham Daily news in July 1908. He had died on 27th June 1908 at his residence Tenbury House at the age of 73. He was a native of Wakefield, Yorkshire where he was born in 1835. Mr. Davison came to Birmingham in 1851 to learn the trade of his uncle, whose business Joseph Nichols and Son, Cheapside became one of the largest wireworks in the kingdom. He was elected President of the Birmingham branch of the Federated Wireworkers and Weavers. In 1883 he became a sleeping partner in the Midland Wire Cordage Company, Vincent Street, Balsall Heath, formerly carried on at Sheffield, and some years later became sole proprietor. His son W H Davison soon took over the running of the business which allowed Edward more time to devote himself to public work. He was a staunch Liberal of the old school, and had not been in the city long before he became a member of the Birmingham Liberal Association. He had the honour of being a seconder of the nomination of the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain at the Town Hall meeting which selected that statesman as one of the Liberal candidates for Birmingham.
Edward became early associated with the work of All Saints Church, Kings Heath, in the vicariate of Rev. H J Coachafer, was elected a sidesman, and for some years served as parish warden, with Mr. Tom Pickernell as his co-warden. This post he resigned in 1897. His interest in local affairs led to his being elected a member of Kings Norton Parish Council, on its formation in 1894.
During the obituary it mentions that Midland Wire Cordage manufactured lightning conductors. Tenbury House (3 Tenbury Road) has its own lightning conductor. The clips that hold it to the wall have the words “Davison Safety” and the initials “MWCO” stamped onto them. Davison clearly had this lightning conductor installed there. There is another building on the corner of Tenbury Road and Alcester Road South, now a Doctor’s surgery. This too has a lightning conductor made by “MWCO”. Davison was quick to promote his lightning conductors to his neighbours. All Saints Church in Kings Heath also has a lightning conductor made by “MWCO” which is not surprising as Edward was church warden there. So next time you pass by these buildings or see any others with a lightning conductor attached to them. Go and have a look more closely as it may just be a “Davison Safety”. The chapels at Brandwood End also have a lightning conductor, but are inaccessible to the public. It would be interesting to find out if it too was made by the Midland Wire Cordage Company.
Edward was buried at Brandwood End Cemetery. His grave is situated by the large roundabout where the chapels are sited. As you walk from the lodge his is on the right as you go half way round the roundabout. His memorial is photographed above.
Information provided by Andy Bishop – Chair of Kings Heath Local History Society.
If you are one of the many people searching for a grave within Brandwood End Cemetery you can normally contact Bereavement Services at Kings Norton (who hold the records) and get a more or less instant reply.
There is a minimum of 24 hour delay at the present as all the Brandwood End records of burials since the 1800’s are away from the site being ‘digitised’. This will vastly improve the service in future but means that there is a 24 hour delay in the short term- possibly till the end of May.
If you need information you need to contact Bereavement Services at least 24 hours in advance and make a request. Unfortunately this will make it difficult for anyone just turning up at the cemetery and ringing for an instant answer but this delay is unavoidable if records are to be made more accessible.
Tel: 0121 303 5583
Fax: 0121 459 8284
Please can we remind you that most of the burial areas within Brandwood End and Kings Norton do not lie adjacent to pathways and due to the exceptional rainfall they are often very muddy and waterlogged. Suitable footwear when visiting graves is essential.
Bereavements, in this area, have been able to continue with burials but had to restrict the daily numbers as the instability of the waterlogged ground has meant the use of heavy machinery has had to be limited.
We understand that this is a very emotional time for families but can we please ask you to have some understanding of the difficulties and be mindful of the fact that many areas have totally suspended their burial services due to ground instability.
FBEC thank you, on behalf of Bereavement Services, for your patience and understanding in these unusual conditions.
Jane Edwards (Chairman-Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery)
Brandwood End Cemetery made the news this week as the grand daughter of P J Evans searched the country for his grave…..and guess where she found it? Brandwood End Cemetery!
The P J Evans name was well known to Brummies and associated with the motor trade but did you know that Percy J Evans won the Isle of Man TT Race? In 1911 two races were held on the Mountain course. The Junior was won by P J Evans on a Humber at 41.45 mph and the Senior by Oliver Godfrey on an Indian at 47.63 mph. Evans set the fastest lap in his race at 42.00 mph and Frank Phillips (Scott) the fastest Senior at 50.11 mph.
A replica of the TT trophy originally adorned his memorial stone but over the years this has gone missing. Does anyone out there have any idea where it went?
The ground staff at Brandwood End Cemetery are constantly being asked to help people find graves – much as they would like to help they really can’t. They don’t have the information. Since the Lodge was flooded some months ago the office for Brandwood End Cemetery has moved to Kings Norton. But here is some information which may help >>
Or if you want to contact the Office there details can be found here >>