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Tuesday 4 June 2013

Great British Cemeteries ~ Warstone Lane ~ Birmingham

Warstone Lane Cemetery was owned by the Church of England Cemetery Company and was opened in 1848 for Anglicans and Nonconformists and is located in the City's Jewellery Quarter. It was acquired by the Birmingham City Council under a compulsory purchase order in 1951. 
The Cemetery lodge which is built from Staffordshire Blue Stone is a Grade II listed building and are now privately owned offices. 
The cemetery's name and several of the surrounding streets, comes from the 'War Stone' that was deposited by a glacier during the Ice Age and which served as a Parish boundary marker. However the cemetery has also been known by other names, such as Brookfields Cemetery and The Mint Cemetery, due to it's close proximity to the coin producing 'Mint'  nearby.   


The War Stone
This felsite boulder was deposited near here
by a glacier during the Ice Age: being at one 
time used as a parish boundary mark, it
was known as the 'Hoar Stone' of which the
modern War Stone is a corruption.

The cemetery's memorial chapel of St.Michael's was used for worship from 1854 to 1878. The chapel stood above the semi~circular rows of catacombs, which made use of the features of the site after it had previously been used as a sandpit quarry.
Coffins were lowered from the chapel above down into the catacombs below by way of a  catafalque
In 1846 the Birmingham Cemeteries Act required all coffins interred within the catacombs to be sealed with lead or pitch, due to the 'Unhealthy vapours and unpleasant smell emanating from them'.
The catacombs which had previously been accessible when vacant, have now all been sealed due to becoming the unsavoury haunt of drug users and rent boys.

Sadly the church fell into disuse and was demolished in 1953. 

The retaining walls of the catacombs require additional support until further work can be undertaken to strengthen them. 

Although the cemetery is no longer open for new burials here are some of the Notable people interred in Warstone Lane :

John Baskerville , Printer, Typographer and Japanner
Major 'Harry' Gem. Co~founder of Lawn Tennis
William Chance, Glass Manufacturer
Private James Cooper, Awarded the VC 
Clement Ingleby, Solicitor and Poet 
John Postgate, Food Safety Campaigner
Dr Pye Chavasse, Medical Guides Author
Joseph Allday, Radical Politician
Thomas Scarrott, Fought at the Battle of Waterloo

 For more old photographs of Warstone Lane Cemetery click on the link below

1 comment:

  1. Major 'Harry' Gem is regarded now as a lawn tennis pioneer along with his great friend Augurio Perera, not a co-founder.


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