Urban Oases: Warstone Lane Cemetery, Jewellery Quarter

Opened in 1848 to ease overcrowding elsewhere, this seven-acre burial ground features triple-decker catacombs spiralling down the sides of an old sand quarry. The remains of the printer John Baskerville lie here against his will as an atheist, after a canal was cut through his chosen unconsecrated resting place. Sitting on the middle level of the spiral, resting your back against a now bricked-up catacomb and overlooking the trees below, is a beautifully tranquil experience. Only the faintest of traffic noises can be heard as you share a moment with some of Birmingham’s great pioneers.

This snippet was published as part of The Guardian’s Urban Oases supplement, July 2005

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