Changes to the Hawthorns

In Autumn 2017, the University will begin a major re-development of our Clifton campus as part of work to implement our Vision and Strategy. Changes will include a new library building and a student resource centre in Senate House, taking several years to complete.

As part of this re-development, the Hawthorns Refectory and Study Lounge catering areas will be converted into new study spaces for our students.

The work will begin on Sunday 10 September and be complete by early October. This timescale will ensure minimum disruption to students and staff during the academic year.

Impact on catering and study venues

The Brambles and Terrace Bar will not be affected by these changes. Students, staff and visitors can continue to use these facilities as normal and the Terrace Bar loyalty schemes will remain in operation. The range of hot food available in the Terrace Bar will be extended and there will be an opportunity to reserve tables and pre-order food.

The new study area in the Refectory will provide access to hot water so that students can consume their own food on the premises. The new Study Lounge area will be restricted to lidded drinks only.

There are no plans to make the new study areas available as a bookable space for University societies, clubs and meetings at present. This will be reviewed in discussion with Bristol Students’ Union once the areas are open.

Other catering options

A range of alternative catering outlets will be available, as follows:

  • Bristol Eats street food traders can be found in Royal Fort Gardens during term time from Monday to Friday between 11am and 2pm. Further details and weekly updates will appear on the cafés and bars web page when this service begins. We are also exploring the possibility of improved facilities for outdoor seating in the Hawthorns gardens.
  • Source Café at the Priory Road Complex – additional seating will be added to the café and the menu will be extended to include hot food, pizzas and noodle/rice bowls. Opening times will also be extended from 8.30am to 6.30pm (Monday to Friday).
  • Source Café at the Arts and Social Science Library – opening times will be extended from 8.30am to 8pm (Monday to Friday).
  • Source Café at the Queens Building - newly refurbished and opening in early October. Opening times to be confirmed.

Why close these outlets?

Access to study space is a key part of our student experience. This work will provide 100 new study spaces in addition to the 175 spaces that are already available in the Hawthorns. These study spaces will help to replace those lost when the Senate House Study Centre is closed for refurbishment in Easter 2018.

The Refectory and Study Lounge catering outlets have been making a loss for some time. Their closure will eliminate a drain on University resources and help us to maximise the funds available for education and research. 

The Hawthorns will ultimately be demolished to make way for a new University Library, but demolition work is not scheduled to begin for another two years.

How will catering staff be affected?

The University is working closely with Trade Unions to support all Residential and Hospitality Services staff who are affected by this change. Staff will be offered alternative working locations on campus in the University’s other catering outlets. Some fixed-term contracts will come to an end.


For further information, please contact Annabel Hurst (Operations Manager) or Rebecca Rose (Project Manager, Strategic Programmes and Projects). 

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