This year has been like no other in the history of the cemeteries, the Jewellery Quarter and the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone and led to all kinds of loss; including lives, jobs, homes and many aspects of daily living which we took for granted.
It has however also given many people an opportunity to slow down, appreciate nature and connect with the places on their doorstep. We feel incredibly moved that so many locals have taken Key Hill and Warstone Lane Cemeteries into their hearts during this time, valuing them as green spaces to escape into.
The people who built these cemeteries and buried their loved ones there, designed them as places of recreation for walking, for picnicking, for learning about trees, plants and local history. They also hoped they would be places where the beauty of nature would comfort people who had experienced loss. This year has shown that in the Jewellery Quarter, our cemeteries can still fulfil all these roles.
The active cemeteries in Birmingham and other cities, had to be closed or have their opening hours restricted during the pandemic, to allow funerals to continue safely. Our cemeteries are closed to new burials and so remained open alongside city parks for people to take their allowed daily exercise. While walking, jogging or sitting in the fresh air, lots of people took the time to share their photos and thoughts with us on social media.
“I’m appreciating nature so much more during lockdown!” Alex N-E
The changing seasons and weather have been captured. In the Spring we enjoyed a riot of colour from bluebells, hyacinths and daffodils, plus delicate blossom on the trees.
Ryan from JQHeritageSquad
In the Summer, the grass was filled with a multitude of wildflowers and the under the trees there was a blanket of dappled shade. Good weather meant even more chances to get out and enjoy the fresh air.
Jack from JQHeritageSquad
Suraj Gregory- Kumar
We have photos of the cemeteries at sunrise, at sunset and at every hour in between, capturing the progress of the restoration work as new paths were laid and also the beauty of the monuments from the simplest headstone to the tallest obelisk.
“I struggle to describe why this place feels so special but there’s a softness in the atmosphere which reveals itself every time” Annette French
“Two cemeteries visited on the daily walk today. Warstone Lane and Key Hill cemetery. Enjoying walkies around the Jewellery Quarter during lockdown” RJ (read more in this blog post)
Many people have reported seeing wildlife in the cemeteries this year, including squirrels, foxes, bees, butterflies and lots of birds. Lizee Oliver’s unique talent has captured some of these illusive moments.
The Autumn has brought it’s own beauty with colourful leaves and fungi to spot. The cemeteries remain a peaceful place to walk and explore all year round.
With new paths and drainage, winter walks should be less muddy than ever before! Don’t let fog or snow put you off – the cemeteries have their own magic in the winter.
So please, keep exploring Key Hill and Warstone Lane, both during lockdown and once we can lift restrictions safely. If you have any images or stories please share them with us on social media @JQCemeteries, you can use the hashtag #JQCemeteryMemories. We are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you to everyone for your beautiful photos, we have enjoyed looking at them so much, and hope that by gathering them here together we are able to bring joy to even more people.