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Victorian cemetery comes under the history spotlight

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Press release issued: 17 May 2012

Anyone with memories of Arnos Vale Cemetery is invited to another free event organised by the University of Bristol to celebrate local community heritage. Know Your Arnos Vale takes a look at the publics’ stories, photos and recollections of the cemetery, which opened in 1839 and is one of the earliest and most important working Victorian cemeteries in the UK.

Know Your Arnos Vale takes a look at the publics’ stories, photos and recollections of the cemetery, which opened in 1839 and is one of the earliest and most important working Victorian cemeteries in the UK.

Members of the public are invited along to the free event this Saturday (19 May), which runs from 10am to 4pm.

Arnos Vale is now the resting place for more than 300,000 Bristolians – from Lord Mayors to the city’s paupers, industrialists, merchants, railway workers as well as internationally respected social reformers.  It is hugely significant for Bristolians as a place of remembrance, a site of local heritage and historic importance, and a very special and much loved landscape.

Professor Mark Horton, Professor in Archaeology in the University of Bristol’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, said: “Arnos Vale is one of the most historic and atmospheric places in Bristol. We’re really keen for the people of Bristol to share their memories of it with us as part of this unique project.”

For the first time, the cemetery will be displaying some historical documents from the cemetery’s collection. There will be live music from 2pm and the café will be open all day. Volunteers will be on hand to gather oral history recordings and take photographs of objects brought along.

Felicia Smith, Public Engagement Manager at Arnos Vale Cemetery, said: “Arnos Vale has been important to many local people for more than 170 years, and we can’t wait to see what amazing stories, pictures, objects and surprises visitors will bring along on the day.

“What we know for sure is that Know Your Arnos Vale will help us gather together an archive of local memories and add to our existing knowledge of the social history of Arnos Vale. So please come along, join in and tell us what Arnos Vale means to you.”

It’s part of the Know Your Bristol project, run by the University of Bristol in partnership with Bristol City Council and local community organisations.

It’s a hands-on history project which explores some of the city’s best-loved and most intriguing places. It has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the Connected Communities Programme.

Further information

Future Know Your Bristol events include:
  • Know Your Kings Weston, 16 June: Kings Weston House, built in 1709, is a focal point of what’s now a large area with a thriving community. Find out more about the house, the local area and how people relate to it.
  • Know Your South Bristol on Saturday, 23 June: This event will focus on the heritage value of film, video and photography as documentary evidence of the rapidly changing landscape of South Bristol over the past 150 years.
  • Know Your Bristol on Saturday, 30 June: The last in the series celebrates the heritage of the entire city. Residents can bring in objects which have a particular meaning to them, from photo albums to bicycles, tea cups, season tickets or children’s books.