• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Students express concern about Potterrow and voice their thoughts on the loss of Teviot

photo of a glass dome roof

University of Edinburgh students have voiced their concerns about the use of Potterrow as an alternative space to Teviot 

On 24 September, Teviot Row House, the former central campus hub, closed for renovation until 2025. 

In light of the closure of Teviot, Potterrow has undergone significant upgrades to its food and drink options, and its social and study spaces. 

Students’ reactions to Potterrow’s amenities however, suggest these improvements have not tackled urgent issues relating to suitability and space. 

An English Literature student told The Student: “Potterrow doesn’t offer a comfortable environment for studying. 

“It has gotten much busier. The tables aren’t suitable for working on. It’s just not a good study space and in the winter, it gets really cold so you can’t even concentrate.”

The closure of Teviot has exacerbated students’ already growing concerns about overcrowding across the university. 

Another student interviewed said: “trying to find spaces around the university in general is so much harder. It’s only the start of the year too. It’s not like it’s exam season.” 

Students also about the impact of the loss of cheap study space:

“It just makes me really angry because Teviot was one of the few study spaces you didn’t need to pay money to go into.

“You can’t just go into a café and study for free and not buy anything, but at the Library Bar you could do that.

The lack of space for group work and socialising was also raised: “The space available in Potterrow is a lot less than in Teviot.

“For people who want to meet up with groups outside of class or go with friends or study somewhere that isn’t as intense as the library, it’s a lot harder to find a seat in Potterrow now because everyone has moved over.

“Later in the term it will probably be a lot more intense in here.” 

In interviewing students about the closure of Teviot, The Student heard many express sadness and frustration, one student said:

“It is hard to develop a kind of university unity when its heart—the union—is now closed” 

This sense of depleted unity was shared by another student who said: “We played poker there, went to debates there…now all the society stuff is spread around the city, which is a shame”. 

With renovation works expected to last until 2025, a large portion of undergraduates will spend the rest of their years at Edinburgh without a student union. 

Whilst many students felt a sense of loss at Teviot’s closure, some acknowledged the need for renovation, one student said: 

“It’s sad that it won’t be here when I return, but it was in a desperate state”, he says.

“There were sewage leaks all the time, which was disgusting. I guess it needed renovating and our years just took the loss”. 

Teviot’s small stature in university life in Edinburgh was also a theme amongst the students. 

“We never really go, anyway. It’s a shame, nothing much happened there,” said Harry, a physics student. 

“Hopefully when it returns there’ll be more going on there. It would be nice to have a busier union” he claimed.

Studying at Potterow on a bluesky afternoon” by alixanaeuphoria is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.