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


On 25th November 2021, Olivia Swinscoe @oliviagracephoto ran a photography workshop for Year 10 pupils from City Academy @corecity_acad. The group were each given a disposable camera with 27 shots, to capture themes of life and death such as 'movement and stillness', 'light and shadow' and 'public cemetery, private grief' while exploring Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries.
This video contains just a selection of the best photos taken by Year 10.

Explore the Gothic side of the Jewellery Quarter with Tour Guide Ian Braisby before warming up at the Shakespeare Inn & rounding off the afternoon with a candlelit tour of @coffin_works museum.
A unique experience on Sun 5th Dec from 2pm-6pm. Tickets £20:

Is it too early to talk about Christmas?
We hope not because we're getting really excited about 'Christmas Classics at the Catacombs' with @voiceofthetown choir on 2nd December at 4.30pm
Free event - Christmas songs, project thank yous & festive raffle!

Explore the Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries & discover the stories which link the area to the world, through the history of the British Empire.

Carrying on the work begun during the #2Visions2Legacies project, we have a new tour exploring Colonial Connections in the Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries. Join us for FREE on the 27th or 28th November:

This project is possible because of funding from: