Reprinted from Jewellery Quarter Research Trust newsletter (April 2020) with permission

Shirley Kitely has been using the Jewellery Quarter Research Trust website to reconnect with her family history and the grave of her relative Irene Hassall.

“I worked in an office in Vittoria Street near to the above cemetery in 1955 after leaving school, and during the  Summertime my co-worker and I would sit on a bench eating our lunch while feeding the squirrels as well. I knew that I had relatives buried in [Warstone Lane] as well as Key Hill, but one cousin died in a tragic accident when she was only 9 years old in 1940 when I was only 8 months old so I was too young to know her. Families didn’t ‘talk’ about these things so a lot of history was lost.

However, as an adult my Brother Alan tried to find out where about she was buried and we were pleased to be given the Plot number which was in a very overgrown area. We didn’t know whether she had a gravestone or not but after much searching, with Alan clearing away weeds and shrubs only to uncover a beautiful gravestone for Irene Hassall with the inscription still visible.

Irene would have been in her eighties had she lived. I felt quite emotional to have discovered her grave thanks to my brother. Had we have known about her whereabouts I am sure we would have looked after it over the years. I do remember Irene’s Mother, my Aunt Violet, shedding tears if ever she heard the song ‘Irene, Goodnight Irene’ being sung, but not understanding the full story, only that Aunt Violet was ill in hospital when her daughter was killed in a road accident.”

Memorial to Irene Hassall in Warstone Lane Cemetery. Section I Grave 1825.

Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries Project


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: