On the morning of Saturday 8th September between 10am and 1pm the Friends will be taking part in Heritage Open Week.
Please come along and join us. We will have plenty of interesting items and displays and you can join one of our Grave Walks (numbers limited) highlighting the plight of ‘Labour Corps’ members who are buried and remembered in Brandwood End.
If you have any interesting memorabilia concerning the activities of local Suffragettes we would really love to see it !
FBEC member, Pat Franklin, gave up her time to lead a group of U3A (Local History Group) members on a walk through Brandwood End Cemetery. During Heritage Open Week, in September 2014, the Friends devised a Grave Walk highlighting a small number of War Graves in the cemetery and providing a short background to each of them.
The tour itself consisted of an introduction and overview, the formation and role of the Friends and then to the CWGC, their policy and philosophy. Next came a brief summary of the First World War, the burials elsewhere [unless stated] and the commemoration on family headstones on the walk. Then on to the Cross of Sacrifice and the recent Commemoration. Thence, the Screen Walls and a walk to the more recent Tree Island Memorial, with tablet and benches. The group were particularly taken with the Poppy Cross Field and its significance.
Our thanks again to Pat for leading this walk. We do occasionally get requests from individuals to attend a walk but unless Pat can get a group of 8 to 12 together it isn’t really worth while. With this in mind, if you would like to take our Grave Walk (Probably not until Spring 2017) can you e mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to this list then contact you with proposed dates when we have enough prospective participants.
Our thanks to everyone that turned out today to our Annual Remembrance Service in Brandwood End. This year saw close to 100 participants come to hear a short thought provoking address by Deacon David Fairbotham of St Dunstans Church prior to the laying of wreaths by Kings Heath and Selly Oak Royal British Legions, Local Councillors (on behalf of BCC), The Freemasons, The Royal Order of Buffaloes and the Friends.
Yet again we must thank our magnificent buglers, Ludo and Oliver, for helping to create such a poignant atmosphere with their amazing rendition of the Last Post and Reveille. If they desert us for University next year they will be sadly missed!
As part of the CWGC ‘Living Memory’ project we agreed to highlight the grave of one Service Member who lost his life as a result of the actions at the Battle of the Somme. Our choice was Frederic Clifford Alabaster, and we were pleased to welcome one of his relatives, Wendy Alabaster, to the Remembrance Service.
Wendy also joined many people who took the time to view the information on display and visit ‘Clifford’s’ grave. Information about this grave will remain on display for the next two weeks, at the grave site and also on the main drive near the poppy cross grid and Cross of Sacrifice.
Every year, in the run up to Armistice Day, the Friends place over 300 poppy crosses on graves of those lost to conflicts. Many are members of the armed forces but many are also civilians killed in air raids locally, as shown in the grave below where 3 members of a family all lost their lives.
We also create a ‘Poppy Cross Cemetery’ grid, near the Cross of Sacrifice on the main drive, to show the vastness of the numbers involved just within Brandwood End Cemetery.
Please walk through the cemetery if you are passing and give a moment of your time to remember those who lost their lives either at home or abroad.
SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE- SUNDAY 13th NOVEMBER 10.45am .
If you happen to pass through Brandwood End Cemetery this week, you may well see members of the Friends and volunteers placing some 350 + poppy crosses. Each War Grave in Brandwood End is marked every year by the placing of a poppy cross on it. A large grid ‘poppy cross cemetery’ is also formed on the grassland adjacent to the Cross of Sacrifice on the Main Drive- to give an impression of the large numbers of those buried within Brandwood End who have lost their lives in wars around the globe.
Remembrance Sunday information is to follow this article.
The Great War memorial bench has now been re sited close to the new memorial (on the old Oak Tree Island). It has been joined by an interpretation lectern explaining the part that Birmingham played during the Great war.
The bench is now clear of over hanging trees and less likely to be damaged by bird droppings.
The small area of Commonwealth War Graves, recently hedged by FBEC and St Albans pupils, has been planted with Primula Vulgaris and is looking especially good.
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.
The sun shone through the trees during our Heritage Open Event held on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war and to remember all those involved.
This was the first time that Brandwood End Cemetery had featured in an Heritage Open Day event and we all agreed it had been a worthwhile experience. Dawn and her team from Birmingham Bereavement Services worked with the Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery to provide lots of interesting displays of memorabilia – and perhaps more importantly, tea and cakes!
Doug Smith, ably assisted by his team, read short monologues of soldiers experiences and members of ‘Troop Aid’ raised over £100 for their very worthwhile cause.
The Friends lead three successful walks covering a small number of graves significant in ww1, as well as chatting to members of the public who took the opportunity to come along and ‘show and tell’ their family items of ww1 memorabilia.
We met many new friends in the cemetery today and hope they will keep in touch with us via this web site.
A reminder that our Remembrance Service will take place at the Cross of Sacrifice on Sunday November 9th starting at 10.50am.
We wish we could say that the sun shone today as it has done for the last week- but it didn’t. That didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of pupils from St Alban’s RC Primary School who came along to the cemetery to help plant hawthorn whips around a Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial area. Brandwood End is home to over 300 war graves but there is only one small area where graves lie in rows on a specially maintained area of grassland. This area is now enclosed by a new hawthorn hedge.
We were pleased to welcome lots of visitors to the site as well as the pupils. Representatives of Veolia Environmental Services, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, New Vision, Bereavement Services, Quadron Contractors and local residents were joined by the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress.
Following a busy morning planting they all enjoyed refreshments and a chance to talk to the Lord Mayor about his role and his regalia.