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.

Work on the Refectory and Study Lounge will begin in December 2017. The Study Lounge is currently open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm and works will be phased over forthcoming months to add more study seats. The Refectory is currently closed and will reopen in January 2018. 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 and students will be able to eat 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

Our catering team has worked to ensure that our University maintains a range of healthy and affordable dining options.

  • From October to December, award-winning street food traders from Bristol Eats will be serving in Royal Fort Gardens from Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. This will accompany the regular Bristol SU Food Market every Thursday. Further details and weekly updates will appear on the cafés and bars web page. We are also exploring the possibility of improved facilities for outdoor seating in Royal Fort Gardens.
  • Terrace Bar – an expanded menu and an additional 40 seats will be available from December 2017. A grab and go offer is available outside the Hawthorns between 10 am and 2 pm. We are also exploring the possibility of improved facilities for outdoor seating in the Terrace Bar Garden at The Hawthorns.
  • Balloon Bar, Richmond Building - offers hot food with a fresh salad bar daily
  • 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 8:30 am to 6:30 pm (Monday to Friday).
  • Source Café at the Arts and Social Science Library – opening times will be extended from 8:30 am to 8 pm (Monday to Friday).
  • Source Café at the Queens Building - newly refurbished and opening in early December. Opening times Monday to Friday 8 am to 5:30 pm.

Why close the Refectory and Study Lounge?

Access to study space is a key part of our student experience. This work will provide additional 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. Access to the Refectory area for people with disabilities will also be substantially improved along with 24/7 access.

Recent returns from the Refectory and Study Lounge have been insufficient to cover the operating costs of each outlet. Closing them 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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