Timeline

 

1985

Bristol General Cemetery Company bought by Tony Towner.

 

1987

Evening Post investigation reveals plans for housing on part of Arnos Vale.

September: Angry public meeting with Mr Towner. Association for the Preservation of Arnos Vale cemetery (APAC) formed soon afterwards.

 

1989

APAC volunteer working party planning to tidy part of the cemetery is locked out.

 

1990

APAC becomes a member of National Federation of Cemetery Friends.

 

1992

APAC secures support of Bristol East MP Jean Corston for campaign.

 

1994

Bristol City Council proposes to create a Conservation Area which would include Arnos Vale.

Mr Towner tells a reporter that “development is inevitable.”

Commonwealth War Graves Commission pledges support for APAC campaign.

 

1995

A petition is presented to Council planning committee in support of the Conservation Area.

1996

APAC hosts the 10th Annual General Meeting of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends.

Conservation Area officially designated.

 

1998

March 31: A crowd gathers outside Arnos Vale on the day the owner intends to close it for the last time. After an angry confrontation, volunteers take over locking the gates.

May: APAC changes its name to the Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery.

July 29: Campaigners march to Council House; Mr Towner issues a writ for their eviction from the Arnos Vale site the same day.

August 4: Mr Towner’s application is dismissed.

 

2000

Bristol City Council agrees to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) if a price for the site cannot be agreed with Mr Towner.

 

2001

April: Bristol Council issues a CPO. Mr Towner objects, leading to an inquiry.

October: Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust is formally registered with the Charity Commission.

 

2002

May: Public inquiry gets under way at Bristol’s Council House. On the fourth day, Mr Towner withdraws his objections.

October: The government confirms the CPO.

 

2003

January: Mr Towner lodges an appeal for judicial review of the CPO one day before the deadline.

April 2: The High Court dismisses Mr Towner’s challenge.

August 7: Bristol City Council takes possession of the site and hands it over to the AVCT.

 

2004

September: Arnos Vale Cemetery takes part in Bristol Doors Open Day for the first time.

 

2005

August: Richard Smith is awarded the Lord Mayor’s Medal at Bristol’s Council House.

December: Restoration of West Lodge completed.

December: Heritage Lottery Fund awards AVCT £4.82 million for cemetery restoration, the highest amount HLF have ever awarded to a British cemetery. AVCT must raise c. £600,000 match-funding.

December: Death of Friends of AVC early Chairman Les Owen.

 

2006

Richard Smith, Chairman of the Friends of AVC for 14 years, awarded MBE.

Crematorium Books of Remembrance returned to Arnos Vale after more than 2 year’s public display in the Bristol Evening Post offices.

Great War Memorial restoration completed by Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

 

2007

Final stage of CPO completed; Bristol City Council sends £1 cheque to previous owner.

September: Arnos Vale burial records released to Bristol City Council – and AVCT to access and research historic graves.

 

2008

Joyce Smith awarded an MBE.

 

2009

April: Major buildings restoration work begins on site led by building contractors Biggs. It will go on for 14 months.

July 2: Death of Richard Smith MBE, chair of AVCT.

 

2010

Arnos Vale Cemetery celebrates its relaunch on the May Bank Holiday with an open day.

November: Arnos Vale wins prestigious nationwide Landscape Institute awards 2010 in the Heritage & Conservation category.

 

2011

Arnos Vale wins English Heritage Angel Award as one of the “Best Rescues” of significant historic places in Britain.

 

2012

June: AVCT signs new 125-year lease of cemetery from Bristol City Council.

October: Friends of AVC celebrate 25 years since founding as the Association for the Preservation of Arnos Vale Cemetery. Launch of Friends’ “Remembered Graves” project is unveiled by Lord Mayor.

 

2013

Sept: Launch of newly-built Underwood Centre, the hub for Forest School groups, craft workshops and corporate volunteering groups.

 

2014

July: AVC receives royal visit from HRH the Duke of Gloucester to formally open the Underwood Centre and recognise the outstanding achievements of the Trust.

July Supporters celebrate Arnos Vale’s 175th Anniversary of the very first burial in Arnos Vale Cemetery, that of Mary Breillat.