University Of Bristol Victoria Rooms

University of Bristol logo

University Of Bristol Victoria Rooms

The Victoria Rooms, a familiar Bristol landmark, first opened its doors to the public in May 1842, and for many years served as the most important and lively cultural centre in the West of England.

In 1848, the renowned 19th-century soprano, Jenny Lind (the ‘Swedish Nightingale’) appeared on its platform, and four years later, Charles Dickens delighted a large audience with a selection of readings.

From 1873, the main hall also possessed a very famous organ – the large instrument originally built for the Royal Panopticon of Arts and Science in London. Sadly, the organ, along with the original hall, was destroyed by fire in 1934. Once restored, the building became the headquarters for the University’s Student Union, a purpose that it continued to fulfil until 1964. Subsequently, it was used as an attractive conference and exhibition centre.

But the ‘Vic Rooms’ was originally intended for music-making, and it therefore seemed entirely appropriate in 1996, that it should be allocated to the Department of Music. It comprises the following facilities:

  • a 700-seat auditorium;
  • an elegant recital room for chamber music performances and recitals, rehearsals and workshops;
  • recording studios;
  • two bars/common rooms;
  • a vast complex of teaching, study and practice spaces.

These facilities provide an ideal base for the study, composition and performance of music.