Investing in the future at Hamilton House


The owners of a landmark building in central Bristol have spent tens of thousands of pounds on renovations and refurbishments to create a safer and more pleasant environment for its users.

Connolly & Callaghan (C&C) has invested £70,000 on badly-needed renovations and refurbishments at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft over the past few months.

Further improvements and investments are planned to ensure the building has a financially viable future and can continue to provide space for a wide range of small businesses and creatives.

Hamilton House also remains the venue for a wide range of multi-cultural activities and events, from theatre, music and dance to exhibitions of photography and art, and many more.

While discussions continue to secure the long-term future of the three blocks which make up Hamilton House, C&C has been working hard to create a safer and more welcoming environment.

Significant works have taken place in the studios on the third floor. Tenants were given free temporary accommodation elsewhere in Hamilton House while the essential works were carried out to ensure the available spaces meet the latest safety standards and are fit for purpose

In undertaking the works, C&C listened to tenants in terms of what they wanted to see from the new-look design studios.

That meant creating a combination of open-plan areas, which prompt open discussion and encourage creativity, plus properly partitioned areas for those who prefer quieter workspaces, all equipped with plenty of power points.

All the walls have been painted plain white; C&C says this provides a blank canvas on which tenants will be able to create some attractive and inspiring artworks.

Five artists who are based in Hamilton House have been commissioned to create distinctive panels of original artwork on the dry riser cupboard doors by the staircase on the five floors of the building.

Late last year Coexist, the social enterprise that was subsidised by C&C to manage the building for nine years left and management of the building was taken over by Frome-based Forward Space.

Forward Space is one of the country’s leading shared workspace operators and provides consultancy, advice and mentoring to workspace operators, supporting them in setting up, managing and growing successful spaces.

Andrew Baker, Head of Social Enterprise for C&C, said:

“Ever since the start of this year there were persistent rumours that Hamilton House was closed, but nothing could be further from the truth.

“There has been a diverse programme of exhibitions, events and activities, with more in the pipeline, plus the renovations and refurbishments that have been taking place.

“We’re very excited to welcome back tenants, to the newly-refurbished studios and see what they come up with on the blank walls we are presenting them with.

“Preparations are also being made to create a juice bar on the ground floor opposite the existing Canteen. This will be run by the well-known and much-loved Big Juice company, which has had a stall at St Nicholas Market for some time.

“We’re also in discussions around welcoming a major charity here, and an incubator hub that will support new and growing local businesses of all ethnic origins.

“Later this year, we plan to open a new co-working floor aimed at desk-based creatives, such as graphic designers, illustrators and architects. If you are interested in finding out more about securing a space, email

“Hamilton House remains very much open for business, and we have a steady stream of community organisations and local businesses signing up with the managers, Forward Space, for office and desk accommodation, including hot-desks, on a variety of flexible terms.

“We particularly welcome local start-ups and entrepreneurs from the diverse communities around Stokes Croft and St. Pauls, as well as organisations that support these communities.”

Misfits Theatre Company is one of a number of groups which enjoys using space at Hamilton House. Dave Hanford, Admin Administrator, said:

“I started coming to the Misfits Theatre Company five years ago. I was nervous when I first started, but then I joined in with some drama games and did some performing.

“I started to enjoy it because of all the members in the group and the staff, who made me feel so welcome.

“When Coexist left, we didn’t know what was going to happen to our jobs and thought we would have to find somewhere else for our office and the workshops.

“Then Forward Space came on board, which meant we could carry on in the office, and that the workshops were safe.

“I think that the Forward Space staff are a really amazing team of people and are very friendly. I find it much easier to work on room bookings now, and I would like to thank the Forward Space team for all their hard work and look forward to doing more work together in the future.”