Warstone Lane Cemetery

Warstone Lane Cemetery, also called Brookfield Cemetery, Mint Cemetery or Church of England Cemetery, was built in 1847, with its first burial on August 1848. Located in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, this cemetery is listed as grade 2 on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, and is the resting spot of many notable individuals.  No more burials take place here, but the cemetery is open to visitors.

Warstone Lane Cemetery in Birmingham

Some elements of Warstone Lane Cemetery, such as the memorial chapel, have been demolished whilst other major elements of the cemetery remain intact. The major feature of the cemetery still visible today is the semi-circular catacombs, which were carved into a pre-existing sand pit and were linked via a ‘Bramah’ hydraulic lift. Unhealthy vapours seeping from the catacombs resulted in the Birmingham Cemeteries Act bringing into regulation that all non-buried coffins be sealed with either lead or pitch.  Residing in the catacombs are notables such as John Baskerville (atheist printer), Dr Pye Chavasse (author in medicine), Harry Gem (pioneer in lawn tennis) and Clement Ingleby (solicitor/poet).

The cemetery and the gravestones are all perfectly preserved and available to view.  After German bombs destroyed St Thomas Church, Bath Row in 1940, the church was never re-built and finally the gravestones were moved and re-buried in Warstone Lane Cemetery in 1953.  Also buried in the cemetery are 13 soldiers and servicemen from World War 2, and 51 from World War 1, because of this and in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War 2, in 1995 the gardens were re-designed and named St. Thomas’ s Peace Garden.  The Friends of Key Hill & Warstone Lane Cemeteries is a campaign group, working to preserve this cemetery.

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