Christopher has been tracing his family history and contacted us with information about a relative buried at Key Hill Cemetery and why he enjoys visiting:

“I am 62 years old, was raised in Birmingham until I was 19 and then left. I’ve now come back (in 2013). I have been doing my family history. My paternal grandmother’s surname was Carrolan. The Carrolans originate from Slane County Meath and came to Birmingham around 1845 in response to ever growing industries. The Carrolan family grew and grew. Mainly living in the Lozells, Aston and Handsworth areas (Booth Street). They worked in various industries as e.g. metal annealer, tube drawer, stair rod maker, metal shearer, polisher etc.

I managed to trace my Great Great Great Great Grandfather Phillip Carrolan (who, along with his son  Matthew came over from Ireland around 1838) and discovered that he is buried in Key Hill. Through the various ‘Key Hill people’ I managed to trace where he is buried, in a public grave, along with a number of others. His grave is unmarked (as obviously there were too many people in the same plot).

Phillip started off in Chew Magna, where his son, Matthew, married a local ironmongers daughter, before they all moved to Foxhole, Llansamlet and then finally on to Birmingham sometime after 1841.
Most of his direct ancestors still live in Birmingham, although there are some who have moved on to America and back to Wales.

I have visited Key Hill a number of times and enjoy wandering around there, as well as the Jewellery Quarter. I also sit and ponder the lives of people, including my ancestors. It is a very peaceful and enjoyable experience. I hope to come over one Sunday and do one of the tours.”

If you would like to go on a cemetery tour too, the Friends of Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemetery run regular tours on the second Sunday of each month. Please contact them to book a place.

Phillip Carrolan died in 1850 and was buried in a public grave, Section Q, Grave 559 which contains 138 internments from 1849 and 1850. Although some public graves in Key Hill Cemetery are marked with memorials which have a long list of names, those in this section are unmarked.

Public graves with headstones at Section L Key Hill Cemetery. The family would pay twice – once for the burial and once for the inscription, so not all of the people buried in the grave are listed on the memorial.

Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries Project


We had an amazing day yesterday at the @jqbid #jqfestival collaborating with @jo_gane1 @suslifeuk @dontgointothecellar and of course the @friendskeyhillwarstonelanecem meeting so many amazing people

We couldn't have done it without everyone's help, including loads of support behind the scenes from @bhamcitycouncil @coffin_works @thehivejq and all the amazing #JQHeritageSquad volunteers.

Now we need to sleep for a week but then we'll be buzzing with ideas for 2023!

We are very excited about 'Diamonds in the Rough' a unique tour with storytelling & live performance, exploring queer history in the JQ Cemeteries for LGBT History Month.
Join Sheldon K Goodman and
Sacha Coward from @thecemeteryclub
on 12th-14th February:

#lgbthistory #valentinesday #birmingham #jewelleryquarter #jewelleryquarterbirmingham #cemetery #tour #birminghamheritage

This project is possible because of funding from: