Nicholas Pearson Associates

Projects /
Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol

Client: Arnos Vale Trust Cemetery/ Bristol City Council

Award: Landscape Institute Award 2010 - Winner in the category of Heritage & Conservation. Angel Award 2011 - Joint winners of the best rescue of any other entry on the 'Heritage at Risk Register' category

Location: Bristol

The cemetery at Arnos Vale, dating from 1850, is one of the earliest metropolitan cemeteries and contains over 170,000 burials and 31 listed structures. It is regarded by many as one of Britain's finest Victorian garden cemeteries.  Laid out as an Arcadian landscape of gently curving paths and evergreen planting, the cemetery covers more than 45 acres of steep hillside and is visible from most of Bristol. 

We prepared the Historic Landscape Report which informed the Lottery bid, and In December 2005 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £4.8 million for the restoration of the cemetery. A programme for the restoration and regeneration of the site was established under the project management of Bristol City Council. This included the four main buildings, landscaping, paths and some principal monuments. The West Lodge was restored with the backing of English Heritage and Bristol City Council. Following open bid competition, we were appointed to oversee the contract works for the implementation of the cemetery restoration works. This included extensive tree works to remove self seeded trees with other undergrowth, generally to form widened access corridors based on the original drives and footpaths. This work  allowed light at ground level to  encourage diversity of plants and shrubs.

This renowned cemetery has now been restored to an elegant place of peace and reflection. 

The cemetery is also to be part of a pilot for a new scheme from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which involves:

  • the creation of a single unified list, called the "List of Historic Sites and Buildings of England", that gives equal statutory recognition to all its components
  • the establishment of statutory management agreements that allow for strategic management over the medium to long term.