St Michael & All Angels
Built above the catacombs of the new Church of England cemetery in 1848, st Michael's Church failed to attract a sufficient congregation and was later used as the mortuary chapel of the cemetery.
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Above: John Tallis' 1851 map of Birmingham from the Mapseeker website, reuse permitted for non-commercial purposes.
St Michael's Church appears on the 1890 Ordnance Survey map which can be viewed at British History Online - http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55193&sheetid=10087&ox=4157&oy=2692&zm=1&czm=1&x=628&y=255.
St Michael & All Angels was built in the angle of Vyse Street and Pitsford Street and designed in an Early English Gothic style by James R Hamilton of Gloucester, who was successful in a competition for the design. Set at the top of the hill above the Church of England Cemetery and overlooking opne land to the west, it was traditionally oriented east-west with a tower at the west end. The north and south transepts at the west end were particulalrly long, being each of five bays. St Michael's was consecrated in 1848, the same year that the cemetery opened. However, it closed a few years later.
The church was reopened in 1869 as a chapel of ease to St Paul's but was subsequently to be used only as a cemetery chapel. Damaged by German bombs in the Second World War, the building was demolished about 1953 allegedly because of its dangerous condition. The cemetery was taken over by the City Council c1951, when Key Hill chapel, formerly Methodist but by then non-denominational, was used as the mortuary chapel. The cemetery was closed to new burials in 1982.
The cemetery lodge still stands at the corner of Vyse Street and Warstone Lane. Also built in 1848 by J R Hamilton of Gloucester. Built in a Tudorish style in blue-grey engineering brick with limestone dressings with a steeply pitched slate roof, the central carriageway is flanked by offices on the right-hand side and the cemetery keeper's cottage on the left. Now used as offices, the building is Grade II Listed.
Below left: The site of St Michael's viewed from Pitsford Street in 2012. Image by Elliot Brown on Flickr reusable under Creative Common Licence Attribution 2.0 Generic.
Below right: the Cemetery Lodge in Warstone Lane
William Dargue 04.02.2012