About Wills Hall

Wills Hall is the oldest and most distinctive halls of residence in Bristol and a very popular choice for new students. The hall has beautiful grounds and a range of facilities for students to make use of.

A little history

Behind the Old Quad buildings

Wills Hall was officially opened by Sir Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the University, in December 1929. It was built on a 26 acre site around the nineteenth century 'Downside House', which is now home to the Warden. Downside House was built in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style, a style that also features in the design of the hall.

The original Downside House was extended to form the Old Quad houses (A - M). The panelled first-floor dining room and common rooms were built at the same time. In 1930 a Chapel was added, the gift of Dame Monica Wills, the childless widow of Henry Herbert Wills.

To these original buildings, new accommodation was added in 1961 when the first part of the New Quad was built (XYZ block). The New Quad was completed in 1990 and added over a hundred en suite rooms and a conference centre. The older part of the New Quad, XYZ block, was completely refurbished during the summer of 2011.

The Quiet Garden, part of the grounds of the Hall

Since 1956, Wills has had other halls of residence as neighbours, so that today over 2000 students live on the enlarged Stoke Bishop site in six different halls which are adjacent to each other and linked by walkways.

In 1929 when he opened the Hall the Rt Hon Winston Churchill signed the following statement: "I Winston Spencer Churchill MP, CH Chancellor of the University of Bristol, Declare there be no Finer Hostel than Wills Hall among the Universities of the British Empire". It is for present members of the Hall to sustain its high reputation.

Public artwork commission

The University has commissioned artist Sarah Staton to propose a new permanent artwork for the Stoke Bishop residence campus. Information will be displayed in the main entrance to Hiatt Baker Hall and in the Source Cafe. You can find more about the commission from the Estates Office. Comments on the installation can be directed to residence facilities: residences-facilities@bris.ac.uk.