Please check back here for news and any other updates to the Hilda Besse renovations.

Working restrictions are in place to promote social distancing which limits the personnel that can operate on site at any one time. The supply chain has experienced problems in securing building materials. Due to these challenges the building programme has been effected quite substantially and will largely be driven by the availability of personally and materials. 

It is unlikely there will be further updates until the UK lockdown measures are eased. 

Most recent activities:

  • Works on both sides of the roof focussed on the skylight, and on preparing flat areas for asphalt.
  • External repair works to the façade of the building continued, with the addition of minor scaffolding alterations to accommodate these works.
  • New blockwork walls for the kitchen and the new Fellows' Dining Room were being built. This is already more than halfway complete. 
  • The repair works to the Dining Hall and Common Room ceilings continued.

30th March 2020

  • The contractors on the Hilda Besse Building are currently working hard to try and make the roof watertight before, as we expect, they are required to down tools in the very near future.
  • New pre rendered visualisations of what the Hilda Besse building will look like are now available here
  • There are naming opportunities available for the Hilda Besse building. Please see here for more information, and here for general info on how to donate and get involved. 

9th March 2020

  • The ‘birdcage’ scaffolding were completed this week. This is used to service the ceilings of the Dining Hall and the Combined Common Room. The 'birdcage' for the Senior Common Room is finished this week. This enables the safe removal of all high-level ceiling coffers and allows the renovations team to start internal re-wiring for the lights. 
  • Despite the terrible weather, the roof repairs were uninterrupted and window removal on the ground floor started. New layouts for the basement level are starting to be formed with building works. The kitchen floor is being removed to make way for the new services to be installed for the first floor and new ground floor areas. 

2nd March 2020

  • Exterior and interior concrete cleaning of the Hilda Besse building continued this week. Surveys took place on the mechanics and electrics installed in the ground floor and the basement. Meanwhile, work continued on the ceiling of the Dining Hall and progress is being made on asphalt removal from the roof. 

24th February 2020

  • In order for work to start on the ceiling of the Dining Hall, a special type of scaffolding called ‘birdcage scaffolding’ is required. Work continued last week.
  • Last week there was a review of the concrete repair trials for the exterior of the Hilda Besse. Contractors also started the same procedure on the interior concrete, these trials will also be reviewed later.
  • The other major works last week included the ongoing surveys and validations of the new mechanics and electrics installed in the basement and ground floor of the Hilda Besse.

GCR under renovation February 2020

February 19th, 2020

Fundraising update: The renovation project is a fantastic opportunity to rejuvenate the intellectual and social core of St Antony’s but it presents a financial challenge the College is unable to meet from its existing income and capital. More than £6.2 million has already been secured towards the total cost of £9 million of the project.

The College was delighted to receive a generous grant from the Wolfson Foundation, and the support of the Worldwide Antonian community for the Hilda Besse refurbishment has been heart-warming. 

The Development Office is keen to work with year and other champions who help rallying the support of their contemporaries. If you would like to help with the Hilda Besse fundraising activities as a champion, please get in touch with Wouter te Kloeze. Your involvement is much appreciated. The College is keen to ensure that as many Antonians as possible can be acknowledged in the completed Hilda Besse building when it reopens in the summer of 2021. Gifts of £250 (given in a single or multiple instalments, which can be spread over a number of years), will be listed in the Hall on a matriculation year Donor Board. Other significant groups of Antonians, such as Old Antonian Rowers, former members of the JCR / GCR, will also have the option to receive recognition in this way. 
In addition to this collective giving, there are a number of individual naming opportunities, listed on our website. Please contact the Development Director if you would like to discuss these. 

Gifts to St Antony’s can be made through the website of the University of Oxford. 

St Antony's College is a registered charity (number 1141293). There are several schemes available to help donors based in various countries to make tax efficient donations:

Canada and United Kingdom
Hong Kong
United States
The Development Office is happy to answer any question you may have about the Hilda Besse campaign or how to make a gift:

January 27th 2020

  • External concrete cleaning is proceeding. In due course an external survey of this work will be carried out.
  • Internal concrete cleaning has started, following the brick cleaning. 
  • More demolitions to faciliate mechanical and electrical replacements. Other strip-out works continue. 

Febuary 17th 2020

  • The renovations as a whole are ahead of schedule, and we'll soon have updated concept images of key rooms available. 
  • With the external temporary roof structure complete, work moves internally to construct 'birdcage scaffolding' inside the Dining Hall. 
  • Window removal is now complete on the first floor, now they will be reviewed and repaired.
  • Concrete repair trials have commenced. 

Febuary 10th 2020

  • The contractors have finished installing the external component of the temporary roof system, ensuring that work can continue even with the bad weather forecast for this week. 
  • Concrete cleaning on the inside and outside of the Hilda Besse is proceeding.  
  • Mechanical and electrical strip-out works continue on all floors of the Hilda Besse.

Febuary 3rd 2020

  • This week the construction company has started to install a temporary roof system. This will ensure that the roofing problem can continue even if there is unexpected bad weather. As part of this, the hoist to assist the roof works is now installed and fully commissioned ready for use.
  • External cleaning progress is on target and will extend down to the ground level on schedule.
  • Strip-out works are underway on all floors of the Hilda Besse with the removal of walls and screeds as well as pipe works and electrical fittings progressing well.

January 20th 2020

  • The additional scaffolding support for the hoist for the roof works is now complete.
  • External Cleaning works is on target and everybody is very pleased with the results. Internal brick clean due to be completed on the 20th of January
  • Strip-out works are now commencing on all floors of the Hilda Besse with the removal of walls, screeds, pipeworks and electrical fittings; the works are progressing well.
  • Strip-out of the roof will commence next week (weather permitting)
  • ‘Man Hours’: 7160

External cleaning of the Hilda Besse concrete

December 16th

  • ‘Man Hours’ Worked: 5420
  • Stripping out works continue internally, concrete cleaning starts externally as sampling continues internally. Surveys and validations were performed for the original windows and the lifts.
  • Christmas Holidays interrupt works from the 20th of December to the 6th of January.

Views of the Hilda Besse Renovations in the bar area

December 1st 2019 

  • Last week the Christmas Lunch took place in the Dining Hall of the Hilda Box, which underwent a special Winter Wonderland makeover!

Hilda Besse interiors stripped

  • Strip-out works to the interior of the Hilda Besse, and concrete cleaning continued throughout this week.  The replacement of electrics and mechanics inside the concrete of the Hilda Besse has started (most of these are the originals from when the building was opened almost fifty years ago!) 

November 18th 2019 

  • Baffle-boards and carpeting were installed in the Hilda Box last week. The ambience inside the Dining Hall has improved significantly with these modifications which soften the light and absorb sound.

  • Scaffolding on the Hilda Besse continues to go up to facilitate refurbishment works to the building.

Hilda Besse scaffolding in autumn

November 11th 2019

  • Last week significant progress was made towards readying the Hilda Besse for renovations. The interior of the building was stripped ready for refurbishment, and scaffolding was erected on the exterior of the building. 
  • Hilda Besse interiors stripped

October 31st 2019

  • The Hilda Box hoarding has been completed! This 1970's inspired design evokes the ceiling in the Hilda Besse dining hall. 
  • The main scaffolding was erected this week.  

The exterior of the Hilda Box - 1970's inspired design

October 23rd 2019

  • The Hilda Besse has been packed up ready for the contractors to start work. Many of the furnishings have been moved to the Hilda Box to help everyone feel at home, and the rest has been carefully placed into storage. 

Hilda Besse hall packed up for renovations

October 21st 2019 

  • Hilda Box Housewarming party took place on the 17th of October. The building transformed for an elegant soirée to rival any Ball in Oxford. 
  • Clearing of the Hilda Besse building continued. 

Hilda Box Housewarming Party

October 14th 2019

  • Freshers' Week 2019 is over (welcome to all our new students! welcome home to all our returning students!). Freshers' week events were held in the Hilda Box.

Freshers' week 2019 events in the Hilda Box

October 7th 2019

  • The Hilda Box is officially open for business! Events, such as those for freshers week, will now take place in the temporary structure. 

September 19th 2019

  • As the start of the new academic year draws closer the Hilda Box has taken form! Meanwhile the college is preparing to empty the Hilda Besse and get everything ready for the arrival of Antonians old(er) and new(er)! 

Progress picture of the Hilda Box temporary structure

September 2nd 2019

  • Hilda Box 'unboxing' continues...

Hilda 'Box' temporary structure building in progress

August 21st 2019

  • Hilda Box 'unboxing' progress. (Picture courtesy of Malcom Tyrrell) 

August 19th 2019

  • Construction of the 'Hilda Box' temporary structure started today!

August 9th 2019

  • Scaffolding works for the Hilda Box will be starting on the 19th, with the rest of the box 'unpacked' soon after. 

July 4th 2019

  • New designs for the 'Hilda Box' temporary structure proposed (check them out in the 'Hilda Box' section!) 
  • Prototype replicas of furniature unveiled. 

June 29th 2019

  • Quad prepared for the arrival of the temporary structure. Building of the 'Hilda Box' will start on the 14th of August. 

May 22nd 2019 

  • Planning permission granted. Works greenlit.