Durham University Campus

By | 22nd May 2017

Durham University logo

Durham University Campus

Durham University owns a 227.8 hectare (ha) estate which includes part of a UNESCO world heritage site,one ancient monument, five grade-one listed buildings and 68 grade two-listed buildings along with 44.9 ha of woodland. The estate is divided across two separate locations: Durham City and Queen’s Campus, Stockton. The two locations are connected via a free bus service that runs frequently throughout the week. One of the major public attractions in Durham City is the 7.3 ha Botanic Gardens, established in 1970, with over 78,000 visitors (2007/08).

Durham City

The former home of the university’s administration, Old Shire Hall

Durham City is the main location of the university and contains 14 of the 16 colleges along with most of the academic departments. The Durham City estate is spread across several different sites

The Bailey is the historic centre of the University and contains 5 colleges as well as the departments of Music and of Theology and Religion, the Institute of Advanced Study and Palace Green Library, housing the University’s special collections. The Bailey is linked to Dunelm House, home of the Students Union in New Elvet, by the University’s Kingsgate Bridge.

The Old and New Elvet areas contain a number of departments in Humanities and Social Sciences including Philosophy, and Sociology. The Leazes Road site on the north bank of the Wear, opposite the University’s Racecourse playing fields and Old Elvet, is home to the School of Education and Hild Bede College. Old Elvet was previously the site of the university’s administration in Old Shire Hall, which has, since September 2012, been based on the Mountjoy site, in the Palatine Centre on Stockton Road.In December 2016, the University revealed controversial plans to demolish Dunelm House as part of the planned redevelopment of the New Elvet area, claiming it would cost £15M to repair the building and make it fit for purpose. The Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, decide in 2016 not to list the building, which would prevent its demolition; the Twentieth Century Society is (as of February 2017) appealing against this ruling and have placed Dunelm House on their ‘Buildings at Risk List’.

The Mountjoy site (formerly the Science site) south of New Elvet contains the vast majority of departments and large lecture theatres such as Appleby, Scarborough, James Duff, Heywood and more recently the Calman Learning Centre, along with the Bill Bryson library. Upper Mountjoy contains the Psychology and Biological & Biomedical schools, along with various research centres.

Elvet Hill, south of the Mountjoy site, has 8 of the colleges as well as the Botanic Garden and the Vice Chancellor’s residence in Hollingside House. It is also home to the Business School and the department of Government and International Affairs, as well as the Teikyo University of Japan in Durham and the Oriental Museum. The University plans to build accommodation for 1000 students at Mount Oswald on Elvet Hill.This is to be in two colleges of around 500 self-catered rooms each, with the first 700 rooms hoped to be available for the 2019/20 academic year and the remaining 300 by the 2021/22 academic year. In total, the University expects to build five new colleges by 2027.

Ustinov College is slated to move from its current site at Howlands Farm on Elvet Hill to a new site at Sheraton Park in Neville’s Cross from the 2017/18 academic year. The two colleges currently at Stockton (Stephenson and John Snow) will then partly move to the current Ustinov College site in Durham in 2018/19, before one of them moves into the new development at Mount Oswald in 2019/20 and the other fully occupies the current Ustinov site. Ustinov students have launched a campaign against the move.

Ushaw College, 5 miles west of Durham, is a former Catholic seminary that is a licensed Hall of Residence of the University. It hosts parts of the Business School and of the Centre for Catholic Studies, with the University having committed to leasing the East Wing until 2027 and to establishing a residential research library at Ushaw. It formerly housed some students from Josephine Butler College, but since summer 2015 the only students at Ushaw are business marketing students.

Queen’s Campus

Wolfson Research Institute

Queen’s Campus was established in 1992 and is located in the town of Thornaby-on-Tees some 30 miles away from Durham City. The Campus is home to around 2,000 full-time students, two residential colleges (John Snow and Stephenson Colleges) and the Wolfson Research Institute. Currently a number of subjects can be studied at Queen’s Campus: Medicine (shared with Newcastle University), Pharmacy, Accounting, Business and Finance, Applied Psychology and Primary education. In 2007 the university purchased an option for a 4-acre (16,000 m2) site on the north bank of the Tees, announcing plans to develop the academic structure at Queen’s and the possibility of a new college. A bus connects Queen’s Campus to Durham City, with a one-way journey usually taking 45 minutes.

In November 2015 it was announced that the University would not be renewing its option on development of the Northshore site and would be holding a “wide and robust consultation process” on the future of the Queen’s Campus.In February 2016 it was announced that the university’s working group had recommended moving the colleges and academic activities currently at the Queen’s Campus to Durham City from September 2017. Possible future uses for the Queen’s Campus include an international foundation college, where students from other countries would study for a year before moving to Durham. The University said at the time that the proposals were at a “relatively early stage”; with a final decision expected by July 2016.

In May 2016, the university confirmed that it would be moving all academic departments and colleges from Queen’s Campus, with the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health being transferred to Newcastle University while all other departments and both colleges are relocated to Durham City. The relocation is expected to start in September 2017.The campus will remain part of the University and will be repurposed as an International Study Centre, to be run by Study Group. This will prepare non-EU students to enter degree courses at the University, with the first students expected to enroll in September 2017.


The original university library is now known as the Palace Green Library

The Durham University Library system holds over 1.5 million printed items. The library was founded in January 1833 at Palace Green by a 160-volume donation by the then Bishop of Durham, William Van Mildert. The library operates five branches: Bill Bryson Library (the main library), Leazes Road Library, Queen’s Campus Library, Durham University Business School Library and the Palace Green Library, which holds the special and heritage collections. In 2005, Designated status was granted by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to two of the special collections: Bishop Cosin’s Library on Palace Green (an endowed public library dating from 1669 of which the University is the trustee), which contains medieval manuscripts and over 5,000 printed books, many early, and the Sudan Archive, described by the university as “the pre-eminent archive on the Sudan outside Khartoum”. Since the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council was abolished in 2012, the designation scheme has been managed by Arts Council England; the two special collections remain Designated as of July 2016, along with the Durham University Oriental Museum’s Egyptian and Chinese collections. In 2012 the university was part of a partnership with the British Library and Durham Cathedral to purchase Europe’s oldest intact book, the St Cuthbert Gospel, for the nation for £9 million. It is displayed equally in London and Durham, being shown at the University’s Palace Green Library for the first time as part of the Lindisfarne Gospels Durham exhibition, 1 July – 30 September 2013, and again subsequently.

In addition to the central library system, each College maintains its own library and reading rooms such as the Bettenson, Brewis, Williams and Fenton Libraries of St Chad’s College, which contain over 38,000 volumes.Many departments also maintain a library in addition to the subject collections in the central and college libraries. Readers are also entitled to use the theology library housed by Durham Cathedral in its cloister.

In February 2017, the university announced a £2M investment to establish a residential research library at Ushaw College. This would be the first residential research library at a UK university, and would offer researchers access to the collections of Ushaw College and Durham Cathedral as well as the University’s special collections at the Palace Green Library. It is planned that visiting researchers would also participate in the public engagement programme at Ushaw.


The Old Fulling Mill, original home of the University Museum in 1833

The university manages a number of museums. Built in the 1960s, the university’s Oriental Museum grew predominantly from the acquisitions of the university’s former School of Oriental Studies. Initially housed across the university and used as a teaching collection, the size of the collection led to the building of the current museum to house the material. The collection to date contains over 30,000 objects from Asian art to antiquities, covering the Orient and Levant to the Far East and the Indian Sub-continent, with over a third of the collection relating to China. The national importance of the Chinese and Egyptian collections can been seen in the Designated Status from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council achieved in 2008.

The Durham University Museum of Archaeology moved to Palace Green in 2014, having previously been housed in the Old Fulling Mill on the banks of the Wear. The museum was opened in 1833 being the second university museum in England to allow admittance to the general public. The museum focuses on the heritage of the North East of England with collections spanning the Prehistoric, Ancient Greek, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval and Post Medieval periods.