Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus – one year on

The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC) provides us with a robust, unique and exciting response to the needs of our students, staff, partners and society. It offers a new landscape, with fresh opportunities for partnerships, interdisciplinary research and education and civic engagement.

As the TQEC site develops, that landscape is literally taking shape: new buildings are rising, old structures are being repurposed, and the scale of activity is mounting. TQEC continues to be a catalyst for developments in the wider Bristol Temple Quarter area – one of the biggest regeneration projects in the UK.

It’s been just over a year since contracts were signed to begin work at the main site of the new campus. In that time, construction of the 38,000m2 main building has progressed rapidly, and further facilities are developing in the area. Here, we present some of the highlights over the past year.

Bricks and mortar (in truth, steel, concrete and lots of glass)

A construction site.
Progress at the main building, end of May 2024.

Construction of the main building kicked off in May 2023 with an extensive, complex programme of groundwork. Piling was completed by the end of August. The sheer scale of the work is reflected in the fact that if the 554 piles now in place were lined up end-to-end, they would stretch nearly 14,000 metres – roughly as high as the Andes sitting on top of the Himalayas!

The site currently hosts three tower cranes, which are used to construct the reinforced concrete frame as the building rises out of the ground throughout 2024. By the end of May 2024, work on the frame had reached the fifth storey.

Off site, prefabrication of components such as glass/aluminium cladding, mechanical and electrical modules and the feature staircase are all making great progress. This approach enables us to support apprenticeships and saves unproductive work when conditions are difficult on site.

Earlier in May, Craig Nowell, TQEC Development Programme Director, summarised the development and progress so far:

Making the connection: the Eastern Entrance

Network Rail began work on the new Eastern Entrance at Bristol Temple Meads Station in October 2023. This vital piece of infrastructure will improve connectivity between the east of Bristol and the city centre via the campus, helping to achieve our vision for a porous, bustling place. It will also provide convenient and sustainable travel options for our staff and students to come to work and study.

The steel frame shell of the building has now been fully installed and it’s on track to open along with our new development in 2026. Read more about recent progress on the Eastern Entrance.

A local focus

TQEC is a major focal point for our civic ambitions, with plans for a rich array of new facilities, programmes, resources and events that will bring tangible benefits for both the University and the city.

Bristol Dental School’s new facilities – a vibrant and welcoming space providing vital services.

Bristol Dental School moved to Avon Street in September 2023, a short walk from the site of the main campus development. ITV’s recent report spotlighted the vital work of student dentists bringing much-needed appointments to the city and their work is a clear indicator of the positive impacts we can bring to Bristol.

“We’re now registered with the Care Quality Commission, making us the first UK higher education institution to provide clinical care directly to members of the public”, says James Tubman, Senior School Manager. “We’ve also been supporting the work of the NHS across the city by taking on over 400 patients for treatments and around 150 patient referrals from the Dental Hospital, which has helped ease their waiting lists. Our Dental Clinical Services Manager has recruited 286 children from local schools who don’t have a registered dentist to be seen and treated at the Dental School. We’ve also been working with the BrisDoc GP service, to pilot a scheme to treat homeless patients.”

An innovative ecosystem

The new campus sits at the heart of an emerging innovation district. Our new neighbours range from major companies and government offices to startups, local businesses and civic organisations. TQEC brings our state-of-the-art facilities into a thriving ecosystem for students, staff, partners and the community to co-create solutions to vital challenges that impact our society.

Over the past year, ‘The Sheds’ on Avon Street has been progressing closer to completion. This space will bring together Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) and MyWorld in unique facilities to advance digital and creative technologies in an equitable and sustainable way.

The Sheds will house world-first research equipment such as the Reality Emulator, a ‘digital twin’ facility enabling users from any sector to recreate any situation – or generate potential future scenarios – using AI and large data sets. The build of the Reality Emulator reached an exciting milestone in March 2024 with the installation of the ‘halo’, a suspended structure spanning eight metres which will supply power and network to the immersive suite, allowing digital models to be created using real-time data. The immersive suite is currently being constructed and is scheduled to join the halo in the facilities over the summer.

Also nearby are our innovation projects like Engine Shed and SETSquared, which was recently ranked in the top three startup hubs in Europe and top in the UK. The new incubator in development with Science Creates, OMX, is progressing rapidly nearby. OMX was kickstarted by a £4.75-million award from the Research England Development fund and is an exciting example of the way in which TQEC is encouraging further innovative developments in Temple Quarter.

Looking ahead

An aerial view of the city and our campus development at its heart.

Carla Hill, Senior Project Manager for Research, Enterprise and Innovation at TQEC, is among many involved in the site’s development who are looking forward to seeing it come to fruition.

“I’ve lived in Bristol for over 25 years, and it’s amazing to see part of the city coming to life with something that wasn’t here before’” Carla says. “We’ll have new ways of working together with the city, and with external partners. It’ll change the University and it’s really exciting to be part of that.”

Ahead of opening in 2026, we’ll continue to forge new and strengthening existing partnerships, seeking input and vision from an array of people and organisations to develop a truly welcoming and innovative place.

TQEC and Sustainability

To mark World Earth Day on 22 April, we take a look at some of the ways the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC) will contribute to the University’s overall sustainability goals.

In 2019, the University of Bristol became the first University to declare a climate emergency. Since then, we’ve been making significant and rapid changes to our existing estate and processes, working to reduce our carbon emissions.

The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus presents a further opportunity to show our commitment to the environment, demonstrating how we can innovate and grow responsibly and sustainably.

The main academic building – ‘CM1’


The main academic building is 38,000m2 and stretches over five floors. It has been designed to achieve the industry rating BREEAM Excellent (BREEAM is the world’s leading science-based suite of validation and certification systems for a sustainable built environment).

Much of the interior of the building has been designed to be shared by students, staff and external organisations. Multipurpose spaces increase the building’s efficiency and reduce the chances of the spaces being left empty. The ambition of ‘Twilight Temple Quarter’ is to host events and activities outside of normal teaching hours for a range of people, furthering opportunities for the space to be well used. This initiative is currently in the planning stage.

An extensive public realm will surround the main building. Landscaping and tree planting plans have been carefully considered to provide a welcoming and biodiverse environment, with a central hub space to allow for activities and events. Situated on the banks of the River Avon, views of the harbourside will be seen from many angles. In the heart of the space, the University Square will link the campus to the new entrance at Bristol Temple Meads station.

Research Facilities

Living walls outside the BDFI

The Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) and MyWorld have a new home in what is currently known as ‘The Sheds’. The renovated industrial buildings on Avon Street once made up the headquarters of the Bristol Gas Company and a Coal Shed.

As a place for innovation since its inception, these buildings are now home to carbon reduction technologies and practices, known as the Sustainable Campus Testbed. This suite of net zero facilities will make the restored 200-year-old building more sustainable and deliver new research capabilities.

Find out more about these innovative facilities on the BDFI blog.

Bristol Dental School

Inside the new Dental School

The Bristol Dental School’s new purpose-built facility is a refurbished office building on Avon Street in Temple Quarter. By prioritising the reuse of an existing space, the University made a sustainable choice and significantly reduced the environmental impact of the school’s relocation. 

Much of the furniture and equipment was also reused. This includes:

  • the carpet on the 5th floor office (approximately 1500m2 of carpet tiles) from NatWest, previous tenants;
  • office desks and chairs on the 1st, 4th and 5th floor office spaces, also from NatWest;
  • second-hand lockers from Vodafone (coming from another project that the Campus Development Team were working on).

Explore the new home of the Dental School.

A connected campus

Views of the Floating Harbour Walkway

TQEC is located next to Bristol Temple Meads Station. It sits at the heart of the wider redevelopment of Bristol Temple Quarter – one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects.

Our new campus will be car-free, except for designated accessible parking. The new Eastern Entrance at Bristol Temple Meads will open directly onto the campus, and the station itself is currently undergoing significant regeneration which will improve sustainable travel options for students, staff and visitors.

Enhanced walking and cycling routes will surround the area, including via the new Floating Harbour walkway currently in development. The facilities include extensive bike storage as well as changing and drying rooms for cyclists.

Teams in Campus Division are currently working on proposals for the full transport plan. The area has multiple existing bus routes and the full scope of appropriate further services is being determined.

Abdulelah’s reflections: on placement with the Temple Quarter Team

Abdulelah, BSc Business and Management

Over the last few months, Abdulelah has been on placement with the Temple Quarter Programme Team as part of the BSc Business and Management course. 

Abdulelah has been working with the leads for Civic Engagement and Social Purpose, learning more about the civic mission of the University and how the Temple Quarter campus development is helping to progress that in practice.

Abdulelah shares his experiences and reflects on his time on the placement so far.

Why did you choose to do this placement? 

I first came across this placement before I became a student at the University of Bristol whilst I was taking my Kaplan Foundation Course. I was keen to gain work experience and this course stood out to me. From the module description and discussions with the unit leader, I thought this module would be a great opportunity to apply my academic knowledge in a workplace setting. 

What do you hope to get out of the placement?

From this placement, I hope to gain a firmer understanding of the inner workings of organisational efforts tailored to aiding the community. I have been on this placement for just short of four months and can assess that this goal is actively being achieved as I gain more experience engaging with the TQ work environment.

I am currently working on a business clinic proposal which has helped me understand how business cases are developed. By the end of this placement, I hope to continue using what I’ve learned in my course and apply it in real-world situations for the betterment of the community. I also hope that this experience will continue to enrich my learning experience and future work experience.

“This experience has helped me form a deeper connection with the city of Bristol.”

What has surprised you during the placement?

I was surprised was during my Barton Hill visit with Tara [Engagement and Innovation Manager]. Before this, I had not visited that part of Bristol. During the visit, it became apparent that given the Barton House crisis, local businesses serve a vital role in the community. At Café Conscious I saw provisions ranging from toys, bread, jam to Pampers that were provided to aid the community. Seeing this was one of the first instances where my passion for work that empowers the communities stemmed, as I was touched by the efforts of the local business to aid the community in crisis.

How has this placement developed your future aspirations as a workplace professional?

Prior to this placement, as part of my management reflection and development in practice unit, I did not have a full idea of what field within management I would like to pursue. The field of project management was an area of interest, but I did not have any knowledge of the topic from a standardised learning/workplace lens beyond online videos and websites.

During my time with the Temple Quarter team, my professional prospects have become more identified as I would like to work within the field of project management in the future; specifically, within the realm of community engagement and in an organisation from a project management lens that caters to aiding and empowering the local community.

As an international student, this experience has helped me form a deeper connection with the city of Bristol by conducting research on the local area, the issues faced and speaking with businesses regarding their methods of operation. This has enriched my experience as an international student at the University of Bristol.

Changing landscapes

Asha Sahni, Assistant Governance Officer at University of Bristol, was inspired by Guy Orpen’s article and photograph of sunrise over the demolished Sorting Office. While working with a writing group of adults with Asperger Syndrome Asha co-facilitates, she wrote the haiku below about changing landscapes.

Temple Meads to Tintern

via Bishopston Library and Oxford


Platform fifteen sun

rising on city ridden

of concrete wasteland.


Rubbish bags wasting

weeds thriving in gleaming heat

order has broken.


What are you reading?

I ask for the pleasure of

seeing book not phone.


Shadows glamour walls

water wandering through grass

lands of twilight sky.

Remembering Temple Quarter’s first innovators and entrepreneurs

By Professor Tim Cole, Professor of Social History and Director of Brigstow Institute

John Anthony Hare visits the Temple Island site

Responsible innovation will be at the heart of Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus and although it’s currently a levelled building site, the land has a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship.

One example of this is John Hare and Company. Founded in 1782, it manufactured floor-cloths which were highly sought after and exported around the world. Records show that its prized floor-cloths were sent to five continents.

John Hare and Company was a 19th-century innovator. It was the only company to own the whole manufacturing process, weaving the cloth from flax and hemp, making the paint and printing the intricate patterns on to the stretched canvases – all within a mile radius of the Temple Island site.

I was lucky enough to meet a direct descendent of the first John Hare recently, 83-year old John Anthony Hare. He got in touch after reading the work of some of our history students, who have been researching the history of site that will be home to our new campus.

John Anthony Hare and his son Rupert visit the Temple Island site with Tim Cole

I invited John and his son Rupert to visit the site to see where his ancestor started the family floor-cloth business. Visiting this site that was once home to the Hare Colour Works and will become the site of the new University of Bristol campus, John told me: “It’s quite emotional to be standing here actually. It makes me really proud of my family for building such a successful business here in Bristol. It’s exciting to think it could produce the next generation of businessmen and women too.”

John and Rupert plan to follow the campus as work develops and a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs make this place their home. You can find out more about our plans here.

Student, Chelsie Bailey, on the rich heritage of the Old Bristol Cattle Market

As a History student at the University of Bristol I’ve had the privilege of looking into the heritage of the University’s new Enterprise campus and the history of the old Bristol Cattle Market, operating from 1830 until the 1960s. I’ve discovered a rich and extensive body of archival material, both locally in Bristol, and nationally and I was really excited to be part of the film celebrating the history of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.

I looked at changes in both legislation and public opinion around cattle markets in the nineteenth century, spurred by protests against the treatment of animals at Smithfield market in London. Working with members of the History and Veterinary departments at the University, an interdisciplinary approach has helped to uncover fascinating details of the experience of animals in the market and their treatment on journeys to and from the Temple Meads site.

Bristol Cattle Market initially held market day on Thursdays, with an additional opening on Mondays added later due to high demand. With numbers in the thousands at full capacity, the market held a range of livestock, including cows, calves, sheep, pigs and horses. The establishment of the Great Western Railway station at Temple Meads in 1840 increased the ease of access to the market, both for consumers and animals. Cattle travelled to the market on foot from local farms, by rail from the surrounding areas, and by boat from Ireland and Canada. The journey by boat in particular was reported to have been long and strenuous for the animals, with the minimum amount of food, water and physical space provided in efforts to keep costs low.

Bristol Cattle Market was nevertheless seen by many as the model of good practice in animal welfare, particularly in comparison to Smithfield. In Bristol, drovers – who walked the animals into the city – did not use the sharpened sticks commonly known as ‘goads’ to herd the cows. The location of the Market itself also ensured that the pens were of regulation size and there was less overcrowding in Bristol than at other major city markets, especially Smithfield. However the extent of animal welfare provision in the market should not be exaggerated. Butchers’ reports noted bruising and cuts on slaughtered animals, and a number of contemporaries observed unnecessary cruelty to cattle on the part of the drovers. One resident of St Phillip’s Marsh recalled her terror of market day as a child:

It was terrifying to hear the herdsmen shouting and hitting those maddened cows, and the Bulls had rings through their noses with men pulling them along on huge ropes. Blood would be running down from their faces where the rings had cut into their nostrils. Sometimes men would put a sack over the Bulls heads to quieten them down. Once a Bull put his backside against my Aunties front door and broke it down, and then one of the cows ran into the house.
Source: St Philips Marsh, The Story of an Island and its People, BRO Pamphlet/2054. P39

Through the nineteenth century, public awareness of animal cruelty was on the increase , exemplified by the establishment of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now the RSPCA) in 1824. The Bristol branch of the society was established in 1842, and funded regular inspections of the market, increasing the number of cruelty cases brought to court. Contemporary newspapers frequently reported the details of such cases, with cases commonly involving the binding of calves mouths with twine, which became ‘quite sunk into the flesh’, to prevent the calves from suckling and the exposure of diseased animals in the market.
Source: The Bristol Daily Post, Monday February 11 1861

The Market allowed the city to grow, putting Bristol on the map as having a good market for space for the animals and closeness to a train line. The significance of the market, and it’s long history, should be reflected in the new development of the University to commemorate the lives of the people and animals who dedicated their lives to it. We hope the essence of the market can be understood for the importance it held for Bristol, and for feeding all those who benefited from it. I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, and would like to thank the Brigstow Institute and the Temple Quarter group for their help and support. I hope you enjoy this film about our project and the history of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.

Down the figurative rabbit hole: Aidan Shilson-Thomas takes us on a historical journey

Aidan Shilson-Thomas is one of our students who is capturing the rich history of the Temple Quarter site. Read his findings about how a 200-year old visitors book revealed the secrets of Bristol’s imperial past.

History students working in the archives

As part of the team tasked with researching the History of the site where the University’s Temple Campus will be built, our brief sometimes seemed overwhelming: ‘Find out about the people who lived and worked there’. Sounds simple enough?

The land around Bristol’s enterprise quarter has been farmed, worshipped on, industrialised, deindustrialised, developed and levelled time and again for over 1000 years. The campus will be a major development, but from a historical perspective it’s just another blip on Bristol’s map.

With such rich history we were faced with a true mountain of source material. The archival records ran to hundreds of ‘items’, and some of these were hundreds of pages long! It’s no surprise, therefore, that we sometimes chanced on the unexpected. When you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, or even exactly what you’re looking at(!), the smallest detail can take you on a trip through the archives.

On the same land where part of the new campus will be built, 400 men, women, and children worked for John Hare & Co. in the 18th and 19th centuries, producing stunning decorative floorcloths that were sold around the world. A visitor’s log from the 1800s shows that people visited from as far away as Barbados, Cuba and New York.

Reading through the log, I had expected to see some international visitors. But an entry which took us all by surprise was for three signatures which had been marked as being from the sons of the King of Ashantee. What on earth were three African princes doing in a carpet factory in Bristol?

We learned that they weren’t there voluntarily. These princes were hostages to the British government after a treaty with the Ashantees broke down. Whilst in Britain, it was claimed that they had ‘greatly profited by care and attention bestowed upon their education; they [then] engaged in a tour through England to inspect the different manufactories…previous to their return to their native country.’

In light of this we re-examined another entry from an ‘Edward George Jenkinson, in service to the New Zealand government.’ Some digging revealed that Jenkinson was a translator who served the governor of New Zealand, and that he had brought 11 high-ranking Maoris to England in 1863 to teach them about British industry. This was, reported the Scotsman, so that they could ‘obtain such general information respecting the greatness and power of England as may prove a benefit to themselves and to their several tribes on their return…’

The Maori’s were also introduced to Christian leaders and visited the home of John Wesley. The Ashantee princes had received a similar treatment, and the papers reporting on their tour claimed that they had become ‘sincere and true converts’ to Christianity.

From these signatures we discovered a different history of the site to the one we’d been looking for. As a key manufacturing site, an exemplar of British industry and enterprise, John Hare & Co. became a means to carrying out the ‘civilising mission’. It was part of a process of religious and social indoctrination that was meant to acculturate not only the Ashantee princes and the Maori leaders, but also, eventually, the people who they ruled in Britain’s empire.

The history of the site of the new campus can give us a sense of perspective. The campus will be the next chapter in the site’s history, not the first. It was an ‘enterprise zone’ long before we decided to call it one! It also gives us fresh insights into the city that we all live and work in. Bristol has an intimate, complicated and problematic association with Empire. Our site’s history newly reveals one of the many ways that this was forged and reinforced.