Learns more about the Jewellery Quarter Research Trust which has created an essential resource for Birmingham burials
The Jewellery Quarter Research Trust ( JQRT) was founded as a research group in 2010 to focus attention on this fascinating area northwest of Birmingham city centre. The priority was to investigate the Birmingham General Cemetery at Key Hill (opened in 1836 by nonconformist ministers who were being denied access to Anglican churches for funeral services) and the Church of England cemetery at Warstone Lane.
The General Cemetery was landscaped, including an old quarry adapted as catacombs or burial vaults, but eventually it was abandoned by its owners and bougght by the city council. It was then ‘tidied up’ to cut maintenance costs and reduce vandalism. The mortuary chapels were demolished and many headstones laid flat or buried to facilitate grass cutting. residents but ordinary people, who died between 1886 and 1971. The research draws upon civil registration, directories and census records to fill in detail about those who would otherwise just be fading names on grave slabs.
But there are some more famous individuals. As the main burying place of the city’s nonconformists – a very influential element in Birmingham society in the Victorian period – many of the great and good lie there. I was intrigued that among them are