Perhaps, past-struck, a horse-drawn hearse
has pulled you up the hill to here;
or, in some census, scanner-smeared,
his name, her job, fuzzy and terse;

or nothing as old or grand as grief.
A sandwich to break up the day.
Across the humming Middleway,
a dog’s dim glimpse of green relief.

Between death’s mansions, starched and stout,
lie graves crowded as Hockley courts
with setters’ sons and jewellers’ daughters.
We live in flats. It gets us out.

Absent a church, a birch tree breathes
its blessing on the catacombs.
Without a thought of grace or gloom,
a squirrel skitters through the leaves.

This poem was written in July 2020 when Richard O’Brien was Birmingham Poet Laureate, it was inspired by memories of cemetery visitors and his own experiences living in the Jewellery Quarter. Many of these stories can be found on this website.

Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries Project


Free drop in crafts for Easter
This Saturday 8th April from 2pm
Suitable for all ages, children must be accompanied by an adult.
Make a Pinecone animal or pom pom flower to take home
#easter2023🐣🐇 #jewelleryquarterbirmingham #jewelleryquarter #easterholidays

The Snowflake Trail is over now until Christmas 2023.
120 of you took a Snowflake home for your own tree and 40 people left a message for a loved one on our memory tree. Thank you for visiting and making this event so special
#JQChristmas #keyhillcemetery

The Snowflake Trail is back for a 3rd year in Key Hill Cemetery and the weather laid on some real snow for us too!

The trail is free and open to everyone from 18th December until 1st January. Wrap up warm and explore, hunting for wooden snowflakes which hang from some of the trees forming a trail around the cemetery. Add the name of your loved one to our memory tree using the stars and snowflakes provided. Choose a decorative snowflake from the trail to take home for your own tree.

Please take care while walking as paths may be slippery in snowy, icy oe wet conditions. Please visit during daylight hours only.

Share your photos of your snowflake on your tree at home and tag us!

Key Hill Cemetery too far to travel? There are also snowflake trails at Lodge Hill Cemetery (18th Dec- 24th Dec), Lodge Hill Cemetery (18th Dec- 24th Dec) and Sutton Coldfield Crematorium (19th Dec - 24th Dec).

This project is possible because of funding from: