International students have been residing in 3 to 7 Meridian Place for nearly 40 years – actually since the early 1960s. In 1961 a hostel called “Meridian Hall” was established in numbers 5, 6 and 7 Meridian Place for male overseas students.
Two years later the “St Brigid's League” bought numbers 3 and 4 Meridian Place and opened a home for overseas female students. The two establishments co-existed as separately managed hostels for more than 20 years.
Besides the gender difference there was one big difference between the two establishments. The male establishment, Meridian Hall, had a strong and active group of “Friends” and supporters. The female establishment St Brigid's House did not have a matching group of Friends to socialise with and raise funds. It had always suffered a shortage of funds and the habitable conditions did not match the quality provided for the men.
In 1984 the Warden of St Brigid's announced her retirement.
The management of St Brigid's realized that they were unlikely to get anyone to take on the post as Warden unless a large sum of money was raised to improve conditions. As this additional funding did not seem to be forthcoming a merger with the men’s hostel was an ideal solution.
Lengthy discussions followed and in the end it was decided to merge and in 1985 the Bristol Diocesan Development Program donated £100,000 of church money to link the buildings and bring them to the required standard.
The Friends of Meridian Hall took under their wings the females next door and were renamed the Friends of Hodgkin House and became registered as a separate charity.
"Thank you for everything you did for me that made me feel at home."
Resident from China.