Bristol Cathedral stands in the middle of Bristol’s vibrant city centre. One of England’s great medieval churches, the Augustinian abbey was founded here in the 12th century by local merchant Robert Fitzharding, the first Lord Berkeley of the family who still live in Berkeley Castle today. For almost 900 years, the building has continued to be a place of sanctuary, prayer and music. Today the Cathedral boasts some of the most important medieval architecture in the UK, which was described by eminent architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner as being “superior to anything else built in England and indeed Europe at the same time”. On your visit, look out for the extraordinary Norman stone carving in the Chapter House, the medieval stained glass preserved in the cloister, the brightly coloured Eastern Lady Chapel and the lofty arches and vaults which distinguish Bristol Cathedral as being of a medieval hall church design. In recent years, the building has appeared on both film and television, with appearances in Wolf Hall, Sherlock, The White Princess, Will and The Medusa Touch.
Tthe Cathedral is open to visitors from 8.00am until 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, with Choral Evensong or Evening Prayer at 5.15pm. There is a lunchtime service at 12.30pm. On Saturdays and Sundays the Cathedral is open from 8.00am until 3.15pm, with Choral Evensong at 3.30pm, with the Sunday morning Eucharist running from 10am - 11.30am. It is advisable to arrange visits around these service times - although Choral Evensong is a lovely way to end a visit. Choral Evensong is a 45-min long peace-inducing church service in which the ‘song’ of voices sounding together in harmony is heard at the ‘even’ point between the active day and restful night, allowing listeners time for restful contemplation – Church members, agnostics and atheists alike. It is both free of charge and free of religious commitment, and its choral music is performed live and to a very high standard. Our team of Guides offer wonderful tours of the Cathedral, which can be adapted to suit your needs, time limitations and interests. Tours are £5 per adult (coach driver and tour operator free). We have leaflet guides of the Cathedral in a number of different languages. We are able to offer guided tours in a limited number of other languages - please ask on enquiry. With a rich programme of services and events, as well as shop, café and peaceful garden, Bristol Cathedral is a wonderful place to visit.
From Monday to Friday the Cathedral is open to visitors from 8.00am until 5.00pm, unless you wish to attend Choral Evensong or Evening Prayer at 5.15pm.
On Saturdays and Sundays we are open from 8.00am until 3.15pm, unless you wish to attend Choral Evensong at 3.30pm.
Free of charge
We Have Our Lives
- 1 August 2014 — 30 November 2018 *on now
Throughout 2014 - 2018, we are telling the stories of some of those who died as a result of the First World War. We remember a fallen casualty for every month of the conflict, with people hailing from all over the Diocese. With biographies, pictures, and information on areas relevant to each person - ranging from Passchendaele to Football in the war - we hope to illustrate the war in a more personal and human way
- Any age
Admission to the Cathedral is free.
Bristol’s WWI Women
- 15 January — 24 March 2018 *on now
The exhibition will examine the growth in voluntary work across the City that saw women taking leading and influential roles in organisations like the Bristol Inquiry Bureau and the Red Cross Society, and tell the stories of often unsung ‘sheroes’ including the women who tried to keep families running whilst husbands, sons and brothers were away.
- Any age
Admission is free and all are welcome.
No Man's Land
- 6 April — 1 July 2018
Highlights include frontline images by nurses Mairi Chisholm and Florence Farmborough, some of which have never been exhibited or published; photographs by Olive Edis, the UK’s first female official war photographer despatched to a war zone; and new work by contemporary photographer and former soldier Alison Baskerville. This is the premiere of the nationally-touring exhibition before it travels to Bristol Cathedral, The Turnpike in Leigh, and Bishop Auckland Town Hall.
Unconventional motorcyclist-turned-ambulance driver Mairi Chisholm (1886–1981) set up a First Aid post on the Western Front with her friend Elsie Knocker. Using snapshot cameras, they recorded their intense life under fire at Pervyse in Belgium, just yards from the trenches. The images on display in the exhibition, drawn from Chisholm’s personal photo-albums, record her vitality and humour in the midst of great suffering.
Pioneering Olive Edis (1876–1955) is thought to be the UK’s first female official war photographer sent to a war zone, and one of the first anywhere in the world. A successful businesswoman, inventor, and high-profile portraitist, Edis photographed erveyone from Prime Ministers to Suffragettes. During the Armistice, she was commissioned by the Women’s Work Subcommittee of the Imperial War Museum to photograph the British Army’s auxiliary services in France and Flanders. Edis took her large studio camera on the road, often developing plates in makeshift darkrooms in hospital x-ray units. Her skilfully-composed images show the invaluable contributions of female engineers, telegraphists, commanders and surgeons.
On the Eastern Front, nurse and amateur photographer Florence Farmborough (1887–1978) documented her incredible experiences with the Russian Red Cross on the border of Galicia (present-day Ukraine and Poland). At a time when the British press avoided explicit images, Farmborough depicted the horrific consequences of war, including corpses lying in battlefields. Her images of Cossack soldiers, makeshift field tents, and Christmas in an old dug-out, offer rarely-seen views of the Eastern Front before Farmborough fled the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
Contemporary photographer Alison Baskerville is a former soldier with an insider’s perspective on women’s experiences in the armed forces. With Soldier, a new commission made specially for No Man’s Land, Baskerville has been directly inspired by Olive Edis to make a series of portraits of present-day women in the British Army. Working in collaboration with Ishan Siddiqui, Baskerville has produced a series of digital autochromes — a contemporary version of the early twentieth-century colour technology pioneered by Olive Edis. Presented as lightboxes, the portraits have a distinctive hazy appearance, made up of thousands of tiny coloured dots that glow.
Contemporary artist Dawn Cole was inspired by the chance find of a suitcase in the attic of a family house, discovering the photographs and diary of her great-aunt Clarice Spratling, a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse in Northern France. Cole uses a many-layered technique incorporating photo-etching, digital manipulation and lace-making. She ‘weaves’ words from Clarice’s diary entries into images of lace-edged handkerchiefs and collars, creating photographic prints with hidden messages that explore the gulf between public face and private feelings.
Shot at Dawn by contemporary artist Chloe Dewe Mathews focuses on the ‘secret history’ of British, French and Belgian troops who were executed for cowardice and desertion between 1914 and 1918. Her large-scale colour photographs depict the sites at which the soldiers were shot or held in the period leading up to their execution. All are seasonally accurate and were taken as close as possible to the precise time of day at which the executions occurred. Made a hundred years later, her images show places forever altered by traumatic events.
No Man’s Land is a national touring exhibition curated by Dr. Pippa Oldfield and co-produced by Impressions Gallery, Bristol Cathedral, The Turnpike, and Bishop Auckland Town Hall. The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England Strategic Touring, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research. Soldier by Alison Baskerville is commissioned by Impressions Gallery. Shot at Dawn by Chloe Dewe Mathews is commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford as part of 14–18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. The exhibition is accompanied by the publication No Man's Land: Young People Uncover Women's Viewpoints on the First World War, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund: Young Roots.
- Any age
Admission is free and all are welcome
undivided: A Hundred Years of Remembering and Forgetting, 1918-2018
- 5 June 2018 6:30-8pm
- 12 June 2018 6:30-8pm
- 19 June 2018 6:30-8pm
- 26 June 2018 6:30-8pm
Speakers from a range of backgrounds will consider issues such as how we remember war, faulty or selective memoralisation, ideas of memory and remembrance in Judaism and Christianity, and how we make sense of situations where people have lost their memory through old age or ill-health.
£4, including refreshments.
City of Bristol
0117 926 4879
0117 925 3678