A New Vision of the Hilda Besse

A New Vision of the Hilda Besse

With such a historically important and well-loved building, the college has planned the renovations to both protect and re-provision the building for the future. All while remaining sympathetic to its original architectural intent. The college also hopes embrace the opportunity of re-landscaping our main quod, to enhance the college as a whole for all community members.

The much-needed renovations to the Hilda Besse also gives us a chance to fully recreate the original architects’ vision for the building – with a modern twist. During the preparation for the building works, original sketches were unearthed showing design details that did not make it to the final version due to constraints.

Below is some concept art of a few of the planned changes. Please note that these are early impressions and final designs may be different.

Dining Hall

Conceptual art for the new Dining Hall

An update of the Dining Hall is planned. Darker, patterned, hard wood flooring and updated replicas of the original dining tables and chairs (to allow for different configurations and to clear the hall easily for events).


Conceptual art for the new Buttery

The Buttery is getting a whole new (old) look. The original designs for the ceiling panels and the concrete bar will be brought to life. The original tiled flooring (yes there are tiles under there) will be revealed and polished.


New Design for the Quad

Possible landscaping design for the Quad after the Hilda Box is removed in 2021.


The renovations will preserve the integrity of the building we love whilst making the Besse a more beautiful, functional, and accessible version of itself.

Below are the plans for the new layout of the building - including the new rooms. 

New Plans for the ground floor of the Hilda Besse

The ground floor of the Hilda Besse is getting a revamp. There are new spaces for meetings and an updated (and more accessible) layout for toilet facilities.  


New Plans for the middle floor of the Hilda Besse

The Fellows' Dining Room has moved from its position on the ground floor to a brand new room on the 1st floor. New technology has allowed the kitchen layout to be streamlined, and a new room as been made from the excess space - you will enter this room from the right as you walk up the stairs, opposite to the dining hall entrance. 

New Plans for the top floor of the Hilda Besse

Although there are no major 'shuffles' of rooms on the third floor, these spaces will have updates to heating, lighting, and much needed TLC for the appearance of the rooms. 


Please see the 'News' section for pictures of the Hilda Besse renovations in progress. You can also check out the 'Termly Updates' section to see a more detailed explaination of some of the key moments in the works.