Sunday, September 12, 2010

KEY HILL HERITAGE WEEKEND - 11th and 12th Sept 2010

Once again (twice actually), I trudged from Sheldon to Key Hill Cemetery on my annual pilgrimage to the open days. I trudged with trepidation carrying the lingering thought that it nearly always rains when I take a camera there. I was not disappointed, but the rain was light and only lasted a short while, and the sun blessed us with it's appearance for much of the time.
The Friends of Key Hill have, as reported earlier, taken over the care of Warstone Lane Cemetery and this was reflected in the new information available for Warstone Lane, with the promise of future guided tours. They are now known as the Friends of Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries (herein called the 'Friends').
The usual stalls were there, and the Co-op sent two of it's hearses. You could obtain lists of important graves and maps enabling you to go on self-guided tours. Information panels were placed by these graves for the duration of the weekend. Other headstones, restored by the hard work of the society members, were bedecked with purple sashes. The Icknield Male Voice Choir manned one stall, and the BMSGH ran a stall selling very informative literature, maps, etc, although sadly the BARRA stall failed to appear. Also missing, much to my disappointment, was the horse-drawn hearse of Earlswood Carriages. But, as usual, there was much to see and lots of friendly and interesting people to chat with. There were plenty of visitors through the course of the weekend.
The following photographs were taken on the Saturday and Sunday and are in no particular order.

The 'Friends' tent. 

 Explanatory information.

 Two Victorian bicycles being exhibited by Malcolm Young, shown with his wife at the rear left. Malcolm has a large collection of bicycles from all time periods. The machine in the front is an 1893 Alpha Bantam with 26" wheels. Behind that is an 1883 Polo "Grand Old Ordinary" ( a penny-farthing type) with a 58" front wheel.

 Yes, he can! Malcolm takes a higher view of Key Hill.

 The Lord Mayor of Birmingham Cllr. Len Gregory, with the Lady Mayoress Gillian Gregory, say their farewells after a tour of the site. They were thanked by Bob Beauchamp (left).

 Phil O'Dell, a funeral director of Midlands Co-operative Funeral Services Ltd, promoting their Funeral Bond plan.. a sort of Pay-Before-You-Go scheme.

 Lunch break at the 'Friends' Tomb-Bola stall. James Jones enjoys a burger, watched by wife Sue.

 Brian George mans a stall devoted to Birmingham toy-maker, pencil-maker and silversmith John Sheldon. Brian exhibited a variety of items made by Sheldon. He has also written a book "John Sheldon" (ISBN 9780956271105) which was on sale at his stall, and can be bought directly by contacting him at

One of their members performed burial look-ups for Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries

 Mac Joseph assists a customer at his Ladywood Stall, where he was selling his Ladywood books, calendars and prints of Birmingham, as well as displaying many old photographs

 Back to the 'Friends' tent and a novel twist on the "pick-a-straw" theme. This is Key Hill, with over 200 keys pushed into the moulding, a few having painted ends signifying a prize-winner.

 A detail shot of the Key Hill model, (I loved this).

 Keith Clenton takes a break from the Birmingham Lives stall to take the driving seat of a hearse, with passenger Sharon looking a tad bemused.

 Funeral Director Phil gets into the spirit of the occasion with Sharon (left) and Janice, both members of Solihull Paranormal.

 The Birmingham Lives stall, with the Carl Chinn archives and many books and pictures of local interest on sale.

 This is the memorial in remembrance of the dead of World War I who were buried in Key Hill. The next four photographs show each panel. The names and details can mostly be read, but email me if you have difficulty with an inscription and I will try and help. 

From the left, the first panel showing the names ALLEN to CROW, with an added inscription below the panel which reads:
7. 8. 1919 L. 240 

 The second panel bears the names FORTEY to JEACOCK.

 The third panel has the names JEVONS to THACKRAY.

 The fourth and final panel shows the names TOON to WHITEHOUSE.

 Some of the graves on the site are still tended by loved ones, and many of the more modern graves are in good condition, especially the marble ones.

 This explanatory notice has been placed, for the weekend only, by the grave of Birmingham poet Constance Naden. The restoration of her grave is an ongoing project.

 This is Constance Naden's grave, work in progress. The stone is in several hundred pieces and will take some diligence to repair. It is for such projects that much of the money raised from events organized by the 'Friends' is used.

 A close-up view of the grave showing the intricate work involved.

 The purple sashes on these headstones indicate that they have already been restored by the group.

 This explanatory notice is to be found by the family grave of gunsmith Daniel Leonard.

 This is the family grave of Daniel Leonard.

This notice is for the medal-maker Joseph Moore. 

 The headstone for Joseph Moore and his family.

A striking detail from the Joseph Moore headstone.

An unusual memorial, this one for the Cox family.

The impressive Jenkins memorial. Sadly the head is missing.

Another impressive monument, this one for the Morgan family.

A very rugged "Old Rugged Cross".

To illustrate the importance of raising cash and getting the repairs done quickly.. some of the occupants have departed in more ways than one!

Introducing Sally (Posh Nosh) and Graham Cooper. Graham, noticing Sally holding her stomach after eating a dodgy burger, gets behind the wheel of the hearse...

...anticipating an emergency dash to the hospital. He took food samples along for analysis.

And finally, yours truly prepares for the Ultimate Package Trip of a life-time. Did I say LIFE-time?