Wessex Bar


Challenging refurbishment provides an ice-inspired student bar

Operated by UPP, Wessex Hall is a halls of residence on the Whiteknights Campus at the University of Reading that still retains a bar operated by the University’s bars team. There have been a number of new residences built in the vicinity, but none as renowned as the bar facilities in Wessex. In 2014, the University decided the popular space was in need of a retouch, pursuing a refurbishment to provide a new 60-seat bar.

Inspired by a nearby original Victorian building used to store ice, the bar is now called ‘The Ice House’.  This project is just the latest in a series of hospitality led projects delivered by Stride Treglown at the Whiteknights campus, with more in the pipeline.


Our work on this 150sqm included:

  • A new tin ceiling, fitted in the existing grid below the offending tiles
  • New unisex WC
  • External ramp
  • New entrance door to make the bar fully accessible
  • New finishes throughout
  • Banquette seating
  • A cinema area complete with genuine reclaimed folding cinema seats.

The bar itself was given an overhaul and reclaimed lab tops (from the campus) were used to create a beautiful hardwood bar top. Reclaimed loose furniture was also used, providing a big visual impact whilst being sustainable.

The project was not without its challenges. We prepared the tender information within a two week time frame and all the work had to be done within a construction budget of about £90k. Francis Construction, the main contractor, were given only two and a half weeks on site, and there were existing ceiling tiles bonded with asbestos containing adhesive.