20. QUEENS ROAD CEMETERY
The Old Chapel, a former Mortuary Chapel, with its knapped flint, is an architectural gem designed by the renowned Victorian architect Thomas Jeckyll. Sadly, it is now used as a store but the Town Council would like to redevelop it as a community asset. If this is done it is essential that any additions to the building complement and enhance the appearance of the chapel.
In the cemetery are the graves of Sir George Edwards MP (1850-1933) and of John Cousins Garrood (1851-1936), bicycle designer and engineer, both of whose lives are depicted on the Town Sign.
Sir George Edwards OBE
His rise from being an illiterate labourer to being an MP and Knight of the Realm have been described earlier at the Town Sign.
His importance is acknowledged by the presence of his Party Leader Clement Attlee at a memorial service in 1950 some 17 years after his death. Attlee became Prime Minister after the Second World War and his government started the National Health Service. George describes his life in his book ‘From Crow-Scaring to Westminster’.
William Orris Ebbage
The grave seen behind John Garrood’s in the photo below is that of William Orris Ebbage Utting 1847 - 1916 a property developer from Walsall in Staffordshire.
Until his death, William Utting lived in Victora House in Lichfield Street and was responsible for much of the terraced housing which was built in the area north of the cemetery; many names are linked with the West Midlands such as Walsall Terrace, Lichfield Terrace and others.
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You should now walk to Church Lanes and after a few yards turn right down the steep Constitution Hill.
At the top the house on your right was the old National School for Boys. The National School for girls was at the bottom.
Turn left in Oak Street and the next plaque is on your left on the wall beneath the railings.