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


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: