Thomas Winkles founded the Winkles jewellery company, specialising in buckles, chains and black (mourning) brooches.

From the 1860s they had premises on Hylton Street, the Vyse St and then Spencer Street.
By 1886, their factory was at 29-33 Vittoria Street where they stayed until closing in 1958. The factory is now a listed building. The company also made key chains for HM ships during WWII and supplied jewellery to Woolworths.

Factory on Vittoria Street (Historic England)

Thomas and his wife Sophia Marian are buried in Warstone Lane Cemetery (Section E, plot 57). This gravestone is a fine example of a popular style featuring a panel with floral designs – including roses, passionflower, lily of the valley and daisies.

Winkles family grave – learn more about the symbolism here

Floral symbolism was popular in this era, and the Winkles would have been very familiar with it from their jewellery designs.

Winkles advertising flyer (Library of Birmingham)

Thomas and Sophia Marian had 3 children. Their son William Henry Winkles took over the business and has a family grave in Key Hill cemetery (Section R, plot 101).

William Henry Winkles is buried with his wife Catherine in Key Hill Cemetery

Their daughter, Sophia Marian married a diamond prospector and moved to South Africa, where she was later followed by her brother George Matthias, an artist who had exhibited with the RBSA (Royal Birmingham Society of Artists) who are now based in the Jewellery Quarter. George Matthias Winkles continued to send paintings back to Birmingham to be exhibited with them from South Africa.

The current RBSA gallery is now on Brook Street off St Paul’s Square

George Matthias Winkles was best known for his paintings of South African landscapes.

He also painted still life scenes in the Dutch style and commissioned portraits.

Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries Project


Free drop in crafts for Easter
This Saturday 8th April from 2pm
Suitable for all ages, children must be accompanied by an adult.
Make a Pinecone animal or pom pom flower to take home
#easter2023🐣🐇 #jewelleryquarterbirmingham #jewelleryquarter #easterholidays

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: