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Cemeteries see start to restoration works

Photo showing cabinet member and heritage fund representatives responsible for the work
Published: Thursday, 31st October 2019

A £2.3 million restoration to Key Hill and Warstone Lane cemeteries has started in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Funded through a partnership between Birmingham City Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, the works will see the cemeteries which, date back to the nineteenth century, have extensive restoration work undertaken to the catacombs, major boundaries and surrounding footpaths.

Built in 1836 and 1848 respectively, the cemeteries, dubbed ‘the Westminster Abbey of the Midlands’, were originally created as part of the industrialisation and growth of the city. Now, the cemeteries are a key part of the history and heritage of the Jewellery Quarter and are a must-see for any visit to the city. Some of its famous residents include Joseph Chamberlain, former Mayor of Birmingham and Thomas Henry Gem, the inventor of modern lawn tennis.

The works will see restoration take part in two phases. The first which has recently started, will be due for completion in December and the second phase of the work which will focus on the landscaping, will be completed in summer 2020.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council said, “The Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries are a fascinating part of Birmingham’s history and I’m absolutely delighted that by working with the local community and all of our partners so that together, we’ll be able to preserve this magnificent landmark.”

Anne Jenkins, Director, England: Midlands & East, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “The Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries are incredibly significant landmarks in the historic, religious, social and political landscape of Birmingham, and we are delighted that work has begun on their restoration and conservation of these sites. Their regeneration will mean that the people of Birmingham will be able to uncover and engage with the fascinating history of the cemeteries for the first time in several years. 

Luke Crane, Executive Director for the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust adds “We’re so excited to see the restoration begin. Both Key Hill and Warstone Lane cemeteries play huge parts within the Jewellery Quarter’s history. We hope that the restoration works and associated activity programme will encourage the public to visit and spend time at the cemeteries, learning more about the Quarter’s unique heritage”