Remarkable Demonstration of Respect
August 29 1907
The largest funeral procession that has been seen in Birmingham followed the remains of the late Mr. William Butler (Mitchells & Butlers Brewery) to the grave.
The floral tributes were exceptionally numerous and elaborate whilst the concourse of people on the route between Elmdon, Selly Park, the residence of the deceased, and Key Hill Cemetery, the place of internment, was so great that the police had difficulty in regulating the crowd. Deputy Chief Constable Mr. Manus and about 150 men were engaged in diverting the traffic and keeping the way clear for the cortage.
Many marks of respect were shown along the route, all the licensed houses owned by Mitchells and Butlers being closed and shuttered with black boards, whilst blinds were drawn in many private houses at Selly Park.
About 200 wreaths and crosses were sent to the house, conspicuous among them were floral crowns, emblematic of the house at which the deceased commenced business as a brewer in a small way. An exceptionally large crown, 5ft across, was placed on the hearse, while six vehicles were required to convey the other floral tributes to the cemetery. Twenty-two mourning coaches were provided by the undertakers. In addition over a hundred carriages and public conveyances joined the procession at Five Ways. The re-forming of the procession at this point caused some delay.
Broad Street, Summer Row and other thoroughfares on the route were packed with people, and the crowd outside the cemetery gates was so dense that several women fainted. Three-quarters of an hour elapsed between the arrival of the hearse and the last mourners. It is estimated that the procession was a mile and a half long.
Source: Funeral of Mr.W M Butler (Mitchells & Butlers Brewery) at Key Hill Cemetery