We Have Our Lives

Welcome to We Have Our Lives, Bristol Cathedral's contribution to the First World War centenary commemorations.

Read about the lives of some of the men from our diocese who fought and died in the First World War, learn more about our project and submit your own people for us to remember.

This is an extraordinary and moving encounter with men and women who lost their lives a hundred years ago. We hope you will come to know them and reflect on what and how we should remember.
          –The Dean of Bristol

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. The project was formally launched with a special evensong on Armistice Day, 2014.

The South Quire Aisle of the Cathedral is now home to a display, which includes two touch-screen PCs for viewing the online book of remembrance. It also includes changing displays about different wartime themes. These are available to view whenever the South Quire is open, from opening time in the morning at 08:30 to about quarter of an hour before Evensong (17:15 weekdays, 15:30 weekends). 

Forthcoming Exhibitions:

30 April - 31 May, Bristol's White City

Ask most Bristolians where or what was the ‘White City’ and you’ll get a blank look. That’s not surprising as the name only lives on nowadays as a series of allotments adjacent to Bedminster Cricket Club. The 30-acre site near Brunel Way, between Ashton Gate and the Cumberland Basin hosted some intriguing episodes in Bristol’s past.

The 1914 Bristol International Exhibition was an extravaganza that was half trade fair – showing off the products and achievements of Britain’s empire and dominions – and half theme park with a roller-coaster ride, daily pageants and even a troupe of lions.  Due to run from May to October 1914, it was insolvent from the start. With most of the ideas and money coming from London, Bristol’s ‘cordial’ support wasn’t enough and the declaration of war on 4th August 1914 finished it off prematurely. It closed for good on 15th August 1914 – symbolically the same day that the Colston Hall opened its doors to local recruits wanting to join Kitchener’s Army. Needing somewhere to house the Bristol volunteer soldiers, the War Office acquired the exhibition site for use as a military barracks. Before they went to war, a succession of locally raised infantry battalions and artillery units were housed in the International Pavilion, Bostock’s Jungle and a replica of Bristol Castle and dug dummy trenches and practised rifle drill in front of the surreal structures.

Clive Burlton’s exhibition – curated in conjunction with Bristol Record Office and Bristol Reference Library - tells the story of Bristol’s transition from peacetime to wartime in 1914 through the eyes of the White City site.

1 June - 31 August, No News of Fred

This project is, however, more than just an exhibit. We are delighted to have been awarded £6,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards education and engagement surrounding the projects. These stories will act as a resource for education days, talks and lectures. In September 2015, it helped to fund a production of a theatre piece entitled Wild Men, which told the story of the Cathedral Choristers who fought in WWI. The Berkeley Chapel has been put aside as a place of quiet reflection and prayer, with a focus on remembrance and conflict, and is now home to a spectacular flower arrangement which will grow and evolve over the next four years.

Since the project began we have:

It is hugely important to us that people participate in this project. We would like you to come to us with any prayers, memories, pictures, or simply names of relatives, or anyone dear, who died as a result of the First World War. Each month we will hold a requiem mass, gathering together the names of those we have been asked to remember. Please use the form to the right to get in touch or email We also remember the Cathedral choristers who died in the conflict. For the full list click here.  


External Links:

Heritage Lottery Fund, for information about WWI projects across the UK

Bristol 2014, a partnership in the city focussed on the commemorations.

Bristol and Avon Family History Society, who may be able to help you research your relatives.

The Church of England's World War One page, with news and resources for the centenary.

Glenside Hospital Museum, which has an exhibition of WWI postcards.