Warstone Lane Cemetery - A Jewellery Quarter Gem!

Warstone Lane Cemetery was founded in 1848 in Hockley, Birmingham (now within the Jewellery Quarter), between Warstone Lane, Vyse Street, Pitsford Street and Icknield Street. 


Where is Warstone Lane Cemetery?

Warstone Lane Cemetery (also called Brookfields Cemetery) is on Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B16 6NN.

 

In brief

A Church of England Cemetery that opened in 1848. It was closed to new burials in 1982, and was close to the Birmingham Mint. There is a set of Catacombs at the cemetery. There used to be a Chapel here, damaged in WW2 and demolished in the 1950s. From 2019 to 2021 it's location was discovered again, and the site turned into a Garden of Memory, meanwhile railings around the Cemetery, removed at the same time as the chapel, were replaced at the same time.

Warstone Lane CemeteryWarstone Lane Cemetery from Warstone Lane in the Jewellery Quarter (December 2012). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Warstone Lane Cemetery - history

The cemetery has had many names since it opened, including Brookfields Cemetery, Church of England Cemetery and Mint Cemetery (it was near to the Birmingham Mint, which produced coins).

It is bound to the south by Warstone Lane, to the east on Vyse Street, to the north on Pitsford Street and to the west on Icknield Street.

The foundation stone of the Cemetery Chapel was laid in April 1847 (later demolished in 1954). The blue brick gate lodge was designed by J. R. Hamilton and J. M. Medland, and was built in 1847 to 1848. A Grade II listed building, it still survives to this day.

Warstone Lane CemeteryBlue brick Gatehouse / Lodge at Warstone Lane Cemetery (November 2009). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

The cemetery was originally reserved for members of the Church of England, whereas the neighbouring Key Hill Cemetery was non-denominational and was therefore favoured by nonconformists.

Warstone Lane CemeteryWarstone Lane Cemetery from Icknield Street (December 2012). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

After St Thomas' Church on Bath Row was destroyed in an air raid in December 1940, all gravestones and the dead were reinterred at Warstone Lane Cemetery. That site was turned into St Thomas's Peace Garden in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

 

Catacombs

One of the main features is of the two tiers of catacombs, whose unhealthy vapours led to the Birmingham Cemeteries Act. They are in the centre of the cemetery, and is to the west of the former site of the chapel (now the Garden of Memory).

Warstone Lane Cemetery CatacombsWarstone Lane Cemetery Catacombs (November 2018). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

2019 - 2021 Restoration

Warstone Lane Cemetery Chapel was dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, and was the funerary chapel, which once dominated the landscape. It had stained glass windows manufactured by the Chance Brothers.

It was demolished in the 1950s having been damaged by bombing of the Jewellery Quarter during WWII. The cemetery was already in decline, and damage can still be seen on many memorials in this part of the cemetery.

Restoration work took place from 2019 to 2021, and the footprint of the chapel was recreated as a Garden of Memory, so it can once again be served as a space for the community to congregate, contemplate and celebrate life.

Warstone Lane Cemetery Garden of MemoryWarstone Lane Cemetery Garden of Memory (January 2022). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Vyse Street Gate

The cemetery was originally surrounded by cast-iron gothic railings which were removed in the post war period, when the chapel was demolished.

The railings and gate posts were replaced during the 2019 to 2021 restoration works.

The Vyse Street frontage has new cast-iron railings which were matched to the original design using archival drawings and confirmed by small pieces found during the restoration work.

Warstone Lane Cemetery Vyse Street GateWarstone Lane Cemetery Vyse Street Gate (January 2022). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Some of the famous burials

  • Harry Gem (1819 - 1881) - lawn tennis pioneer
  • James Cooper VC (1840 - 1889) - soldier
  • John Baskerville (1706 - 1775) - manufacturer, reinterred here in 1897 - was an athiest

Also buried here is 51 Commonwealth servicemen from World War I and 13 from World War II.

Project dates

19 Jan 2022 - On-going

Passions

History & heritage, Civic pride, Classic Architecture

You might like

Contact

Your Place Your Space

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ yourplaceyourspace.com