Birmingham & Black Country

Historic Birmingham graves to be catalogued by volunteers

Image caption Historic graves in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter are being documented by historians as part of an online project

A project to catalogue some of Birmingham's most notable and historic graves could take up to 15 years.

The Jewellery Quarter Research Trust is creating a database of graves in Grade II listed Warstone Lane and Grade II* listed Key Hill cemeteries.

The trust, which runs a listings website for the graveyards, has had interest from relatives of the deceased and enquiries from around the world.

Former mayor Joseph Chamberlain is among the dignitaries buried there.

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Image copyright Robin Stott
Image caption Graves from Key Hill and Warstone Lane cemeteries will be put into an online database
Image copyright Neil Theasby
Image caption Warstone Lane cemetery includes these two-tier catacombs

Doug Wilks, chairman of the trust, said it will take up to 15 years to document the graves, but is hoping the database can help promote the history of the area.

"It's absolutely fascinating, you see so many people who were part of history," he said.

"Hopefully in the next few years it will be very useful to researchers."

The graveyards were once on the Historic England register of buildings deemed to be at risk but have since been removed thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Not only do they contain the remains of some of the city's industrial leaders but they are also home to some interesting architecture such as the Warstone Lane Cemetery catacombs where printer and publisher John Baskerville lies.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joseph Chamberlain, one of the most famous leaders in Birmingham's history, is buried in Key Hill cemetery
Image copyright Robin Stott
Image caption The cemeteries include eight former mayors of Birmingham and veterans from the World Wars
Image caption Alfred Bird, the man who invented egg-free custard, is one of the most famous people buried in the Jewellery Quarter

Historic graves

  • Joseph Chamberlain, one of his era's most influential politicians, is one of eight former mayors of Birmingham buried in the cemeteries
  • Alfred Bird, the inventor of Bird's egg-free custard, is also buried in Key Hill
  • Sixty four veterans who fought in the World Wars
  • Printer and publisher John Baskerville
  • Crystal Palace builder John Henderson
  • Pen-maker Joseph Gillott

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