A People’s History of Arnos Vale Cemetery

Your Arnos Vale…

is a 24-month community oral history project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery to collect contemporary and historic materials relating to Arnos Vale and a contentious period in the cemetery’s history in the late 20th century.

The project was officially launched at the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery on Sunday 7th October 2012. Eleven volunteers have interviewed 22 individuals in more than 16 hours of oral history interviews, revealing a richly detailed picture of changing funeral culture and technology, a business in decline, and community efforts to manage and rescue the cemetery in direct conflict with the private owner of the cemetery from 1987-2003.

Contributors’ stories cover a cross-section of time and experiences from childhood memories through to individual and collective action, greatly increasing our knowledge and ability to tell the full story of Arnos Vale Cemetery.

Why an Oral History Project?

We want to find out from people why Arnos Vale means so much to them, and to hear the history of Arnos Vale told in their words.

Project staff and volunteers explain the importance of the oral history project:

With comments from project administrator Cheryl McArdle, Volunteers Charlotte Bratt, Rebecca Maby, Berengere Lemonnier and public engagement manager Felicia Smith.

Contributors to the project have also had personal motivations for taking part:

With comments from contributors Fay Bittner, Sid and Rodney Jones.

Oral History

Engaging stories from the people who supported Arnos Vale Cemetery with a rich variety of first hand experience.


Media Scrapbook

Original contemporary documents cover the campaign to save Arnos Vale Cemetery. Read here some of the key historical moments in the press.


Support Us

Arnos Vale has been saved but still needs your support and there is a unique opportunity to do so right now. You can help.


Find Out More

Your Arnos Vale is a project designed to provide a lasting legacy to those who supported Arnos Vale Cemetery over the decades, and to share the story of Arnos Vale with visitors to Arnos Vale Cemetery.


Material from Your Arnos Vale will be shared with visitors in a variety of ways:

  • You can listen to interview clips and review historic newspaper archives.
  • Hear more about the history and people of the campaign to save Arnos Vale Cemetery by visiting Arnos Vale’s Public Exhibition at the Spielman Centre Terrace & Basement, Open daily 10am to 4pm.
  •  Collect your copy of the Oral History Project Guidebook from the East Lodge visitor centre. The guidebook is free, but donations are appreciated.
  • All project materials will be donated to Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives and take their place in the city’s public archive.

Year Campaign


Pound value




Signed Petition

Arnos Vale still needs your help, see what you can do to help on our support page