New Life for Old College

  • Location: Aberystwyth, Wales
  • Client: Aberystwyth University
  • Destination: Old College
  • Role: Options appraisal and HLF grant application support

The Old College has a rich and fascinating history and forms an important part of Aberystwyth’s heritage. It is an icon for both the town and the University.

Originally conceived as a seaside hotel, the building was acquired by the newly established university when its developer went bankrupt.  The building has been amended and added to several times over the last 150 years – an evolution involving renowned architects John Nash and John Pollard Seddon.  The Old College remained the focus of the University’s activity until the 1960s when work started to develop the out-of-town Penglais campus where the university is mainly based today.  Since then, most University functions migrated to modern and fit-for-purpose buildings on the main campus, eventually leaving much of the Old College building vacant.

Plans for the wholesale revival of the Grade I listed building, and to support the University’s ambition to “establish Aberystwyth University as a world leader in higher education and public engagement and as a catalyst for regeneration”, have been in train for a number of years with a range of proposals considered for the building’s conversion.

In August 2014, Fourth Street was appointed to distill all of this thinking into a formal options appraisal and business case, which became the foundation of the New Life for Old College project.  Our work also provided important support for a major grant application from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which was awarded a round one pass in July 2017.  The HLF has provisionally agreed to provide £10.5m of capital funding toward the £23m project costs, as well as an £850k development grant.

Image ref: Aberystwyth University