A ma­jor her­itage site

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - YOUR PORJECT -

The JQRT has done a great job in pro­mot­ing the ceme­tery as a ma­jor her­itage site, an at­trac­tive place with a rich his­tory. Its mem­bers have placed a wealth of in­for­ma­tion on­line about the buri­als (over 60,000 peo­ple are in­terred there) as well as many bi­ogra­phies, short ar­ti­cles and notes about those in­terred.

An ex­cel­lent fea­ture is a beau­ti­fully pre­sented set of e-books, with copies of doc­u­ments, re­search notes, bi­ogra­phies, maps and plans. One ex­am­ple, Mem­ory Lane by Barry Crighton, gives valu­able bi­o­graph­i­cal in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing 69 graves (hold­ing 248 buri­als) around the junc­tion of three sec­tions of the ceme­tery. Th­ese are not fa­mous some of the Martineau fam­ily, re­la­tions of Har­riet Martineau, the prom­i­nent midVic­to­rian so­cial re­former. A fam­ily tree in the on­line notes in­cludes the in­ter­est­ing snip­pet that El­iz­a­beth Martineau (1771-1848), whose grave is there, was the 5x great grand­mother of the Duchess of Cam­bridge, so there’s a royal con­nec­tion.

In­ci­den­tally, Key Hill is also the fi­nal rest­ing place of some of Martin Shaw’s an­ces­tors, and was vis­ited by the ac­tor in his episode of WDYTYA? last year. This in­cluded his in­dus­tri­al­ist great great grand­fa­ther, Ed­mund Eaborn, whose grave was among those re­moved to make way for the tram­line that runs through one por­tion of the ceme­tery. How­ever, Ed­mund’s name was trans­ferred to a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque, which it­self has been tran­scribed and can be found on­line.

Doug Wilks, chair of the Trust, told me the late Dick Emp­son did the ground­work, spend­ing over seven years record­ing memo­ri­als at the ceme­ter­ies. The orig­i­nal plan was to pro­duce a book, but on­line pub­li­ca­tion proved cheaper (there are over 160,000 records on the site) and made the in­for­ma­tion much more ac­ces­si­ble. The JQRT is, he says, an on­line in­for­ma­tion cen­tre, ac­cessed by al­most 2,000 vis­i­tors a month – a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment.

The group is now turn­ing its at­ten­tion to other projects con­nected with the her­itage of the Jew­ellery Quar­ter. For in­stance, it is an as­so­ciate and sup­porter of an imag­i­na­tive scheme to turn the iconic but derelict Grade-II listed four-storey Stan­dard Works, in the heart of the area, into a new cen­tre for education, cul­ture and com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing a col­lege for young peo­ple with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties.

The ceme­tery pro­ject is con­tin­u­ing, though, and the Trust is al­ways look­ing for more in­for­ma­tion and pho­tos about those buried there. If you have Birm­ing­ham kin it is well worth check­ing the site and search­ing the data­bases and e-books.

If you can’t get to the ceme­tery it­self the Trust is tri­alling a ‘vir­tual tour’, a video which lets you see what it looks like from the com­fort of your own arm­chair!

Key Hill is also the fi­nal rest­ing place of some of Martin Shaw’s an­ces­tors

The com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque at Key Hill which shows the name of in­dus­tri­al­ist Ed­mund Eaborn, great great grand­fa­ther of ac­tor Martin Shaw


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