University of York

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
University of York

In limine sapientiae


Heslington Hall and fountain.jpg
Heslington Hall, University of York
University of York arms.svg
Founded: 1963
Endowment: £7.6 million (2022)
East, and King's Manor
Grid reference: SE622504
Location: 53°56’48"N, 1°3’9"W

The University of York is a collegiate research university in York, the anciet county town of Yorkshire. Established in 1963, the university has expanded to more than thirty departments and centres, covering a wide range of subjects.

The university is laid out in the south-east of the city, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, over a campus of about 500 acres The original campus, Campus West, incorporates the York Science Park and the National Science Learning Centre, and its wildlife, campus lakes and greenery are prominent. In May 2007 the university was granted permission to build an extension to its main campus, on arable land just east of the nearby village of Heslington. The second campus, Campus East, opened in 2009[1] and now hosts five colleges and three departments as well as conference spaces, a sports village and a business start-up 'incubator'. The institution also leases King's Manor in York city centre.

York was one of the first of the 'plate glass universities' established in the 1960s, and it runs a distinctive collegiate system with 11 colleges as of 2022.[2] The eleventh college, David Kato, opened in 2022.[3][4] In 2012, York joined the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities.[5]



The first petition for the establishment of a university in York was presented to King |James I in 1617.[6] In 1641, a second petition was drawn up but was not delivered due to the Civil War in 1642.[7] A third petition was created in 1647 during the Civil War but was rejected by Parliament.[7]

In the 1820s there were discussions about the founding of a university in York, but this did not come to fruition due to the founding of the University of Durham in 1832.[7] In 1903, F. J. Munby and the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, among others, proposed a "Victoria University of Yorkshire".[8]

Oliver Sheldon a director of Rowntree's and co-founder of York Civic Trust, was a particularly prominent voice behind an initiative to found the university.


Eventually, John Bowes Morrell was the driving force behind the university's establishment.[6] York accepted its first students the year of Morrell's death, 1963, opening with 216 undergraduates, 14 postgraduates, and 28 academic and administrative staff.[9] The university started with six departments: Economics, Education, English, History, Mathematics, Politics.[7] At the time, the university consisted of three buildings, principally the historic King's Manor in the city centre and Heslington Hall, which has Tudor foundations and is in the village of Heslington on the edge of York. A year later, work began on purpose-built structures on the Heslington Campus, which now forms the main part of the university.

Baron James of Rusholme, the university's first Vice-Chancellor, said of the University of York that "it must be collegiate in character, that it must deliberately seek to limit the number of subjects and that much of the teaching must be done via tutorials and seminars". Due to the influence of Graeme Moodie, founding head of the Politics Department, students are involved in the governance of the university at all levels, and his model has since been widely adopted.[10]

York's first two Colleges, Derwent and Langwith, were founded in 1965, as was the University of York Library.[11] These were the first residential colleges. They were followed by Alcuin and Vanbrugh in 1967 and Goodricke in 1968. In 1972 this was followed by Wentworth College.

The university was noted for its inventive approach to teaching. It was known for its early adoption of joint honours degrees which were often very broad such as history and biology. It also took an innovative approach to social science introducing a five-year-long degree in the subject.


After 1972 the construction of Colleges ceased until 1990 with the foundation of James College. Initially James was intended to be a postgraduate only college. However, the university began to expand rapidly, almost doubling in size from 4,300 to 8,500 students.[12] In 1993, therefore it was decided that the college should become open to undergraduates. The expansion of student numbers also resulted in the creation of more accommodation by the university, which was named 'Halifax Court'; the members of Halifax Court were members of other colleges, however, soon formed their own Junior Common Room. In 2002, Halifax Court was made a full college of the university and was renamed Halifax College.

Central Hall and the lake

In 2003, the university set out plans to create a campus for 5,000 additional students, and to introduce a number of new subjects such as law and dentistry.[13][14][15] For a number of years, the university's expansion plans were limited by planning restrictions. The City of York planning conditions stipulate that only 20% of the land area may be built upon, and the original campus was at full capacity.

In 2004, plans were finalised for a 290-acre extension to the campus, initially called Heslington East, designed to mirror the existing Heslington West campus. They are now known as Campus East and Campus West. The plans set out that the new campus would be built on arable land between Grimston Bar park and ride car park and Heslington village. The land was removed from the green belt especially for the purpose of extending the university.

Constantine College

In May 2008 the City of York planners approved the design for the residential college, Goodricke, with a lake with marsh borders, planting light woodland and many specimen trees, and maximising biodiversity. The first buildings came into use in October 2009.[1] It was decided that rather than create a new college that an existing college should be moved. Goodricke College was selected for this and moved onto the new campus in 2009 with James taking over its building on Campus West. Goodricke was officially opened by the Duke of York in April 2010.[16] In 2012 the same process took place with Langwith moving to Campus East and Derwent taking over its previous buildings. In 2014 Campus East saw the establishment of the ninth college, named Constantine College after the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who was proclaimed Augustus in York in 306 AD.

Work began in December 2019 to build two new colleges on Campus East.


Central Hall

A landmark building is Central Hall, a half-octagonal concert hall used for convocations and examinations, as well as theatrical and musical performances. It is a Grade II-listed building, as is the West campus landscape.[17] It has played host to many wellknown acts. Central Hall is still used for classical concerts and since a rock concert was held there on 13 March 2010 it has been available again for full booking. Public concerts are regularly held in the music department's Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, the Arthur Sykes Rymer Auditorium and in some of the colleges.

University library

Main article: University of York Library

The University of York Library opened in 1965 two years after the university itself opened. The building was designed by Robert Mathews, Johnson-Marshall and partners.[18] The primary site of library comprises a series of three linked buildings to the north side of the University of York's West Campus: the JB Morrell, the Raymond Burton, and the Fairhurst buildings. Originally just consisting of the JB Morrell, in 2003 the Raymond Burton library was added to the site, designed by Leach Rhodes Walker architects and houses both the Humanities research reading room and the Borthwick institute for archives.[19]

A secondary site of the library is located in the King's Manor building.

The JB Morrell and Raymond Burton library buildings

Heslington Hall

Heslington Hall
Main article: Heslington Hall

Heslington Hall is a Grade II* listed rebuilt manor house consisting of a central nine-bay two-storey block with attics and two two-storey wings at each end. It is built of brick in English bond with sandstone ashlar dressings. The original Manor house was constructed in 1568 for Sir Thomas Eynns, the Secretary and Keeper of the Seal to the Council of the North; and his wife Elizabeth.[20]

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the house was vacated by the family, allowing it to be taken over by the Royal Air Force as the headquarters of No. 4 Group RAF, part of RAF Bomber Command. The hall was not re-occupied by the family after the war. When the university was founded, Sir Bernard Feilden supervised the hall's conversion into the administrative headquarters of the university.

Science Park and on-campus organisations

Next door to the university on the York Science Park are organisations including the Higher Education Academy, the Digital Preservation Coalition, the National Non-Food Crops Centre, the York Neuroimaging Centre, the York JEOL Nanocentre, the IT office of VetUK, the UK head office of AlphaGraphics, the accelerated mass spectrometry specialists Xceleron Ltd, and the Leeds, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. The Science Park is also home to some parts of the School of Physics, Engineering and Technology. The Department of Electronic Engineering's Recording studios are located in the park and in summer 2011, the Department of Physics moved its Plasma Physics and Fusion Group to the Genesis buildings in the Science Park at the newly created York Plasma Institute,[21] and moved its Physics of Life group to the Science Park in winter 2019. York Conferences are located on the university campus.

King's Manor

Main article: King's Manor

King's Manor

Located in York city centre, and thus the one part of the University outside the East Riding but instead I 'York within the Walls', King's Manor is about two miles from the main Heslington West campus, the historic King's Manor began as the Abbot's House of St Mary's Abbey and went on to become the headquarters of the Council of the North following the dissolution of the monasteries. For many years after 1966, the King's Manor housed the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies (IoAAS). The IoAAS was a postgraduate institute primarily specialising in providing mid-career education for architects and others. In particular, it became well known for its one-year Diploma Course in Conservation Studies.

The Manor It is now home to the Archaeology, Mediæval Studies and Eighteenth Century Studies departments, and is regularly used by other related departments such as History. It has a public restaurant and is used for art displays.

Not far from the King's Manor is the Minster Library, in Dean's Park. Students and staff of the university are able to use the Minster Library, which shares staff and cataloguing with the main university library, and holds the huge collection of early books belonging to the Dean and Chapter of York Minster.

Other properties

The university owns several other properties including Catherine House, Constantine House, 54 Walmgate, and Fairfax House. The university publishes an annual code of practice for student accommodation[22] to help students living off-campus.


Physics Block

York is a collegiate university and has eleven colleges.[2] All colleges have equal status, and each has its own constitution. The day-to-day running of the colleges is managed by an elected committee of staff and student members chaired by the college's Provost. Most colleges have a Junior Common Room for undergraduate students, which is managed by the elected Junior Common Room Committee, and a Graduate Common Room for postgraduate students, as well as a Senior Common Room, which is managed by elected representatives of the college's academic and administrative members. Other colleges however combine undergraduate and postgraduate representation together into student associations. The colleges are deliberately assigned undergraduates, postgraduate students and staff from a wide mixture of disciplines.[2] The Sunday Times noted, "The colleges are tight-knit communities within the university and enjoy a healthy rivalry." The colleges share practical features of the halls of residence of other UK universities, as well as the traditional Oxbridge and Durham colleges. The university built two new colleges on Campus East, opening in 2021 and 2022.[4] The ninth college was founded in 2014 and was named Constantine after the Roman emperor Constantine I, who was proclaimed Augustus in York in 306 AD. The tenth was founded in 2021 and named after Anne Lister. The eleventh was founded in 2022 and named after David Kato.

Name Foundation Named after
Derwent College 1965 River Derwent
Langwith College 1965 Langwith Common
Alcuin College 1967 Alcuin of York, scholar and advisor to Charlemagne
Vanbrugh College 1967 Sir John Vanbrugh, architect and designer of Castle Howard
Goodricke College 1968 John Goodricke, astronomer
Wentworth College 1972
James College 1990 Lord James of Rusholme
Halifax College 2002 Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax
Constantine College 2014 Emperor Constantine the Great
Anne Lister College 2021 Anne Lister, Yorkshire landowner and diarist
David Kato College 2022 David Kato, a Ugandan activist

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about University of York)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Goodricke College – Campus development, The University of York". The University of York. 4 October 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Colleges". University of York. 
  3. "David Kato – David Kato, University of York". University of York. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "New residences". 
  5. "Four universities join elite Russell Group". BBC News. 12 March 2012. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Our History: Foundations". University of York. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "History of the University". University of York. 
  8. "The history of the Society". The Yorkshire Philosophical Society. 
  9. "Our History: The 1960s". University of York. 
  10. Afshar, Haleh (16 August 2007). "Obituary: Graeme Moodie – Education". The Guardian (London). 
  11. "University of York". 
  12. "Our History: The 1990s". University of York. 
  13. Garner, David (27 February 2003). "University outlines plans for new campus". The University of York. 
  14. Chilvers, Mike (14 May 2004). "University threat to 'last farm'". BBC News. 
  15. Curtis, Polly (30 April 2004). "York set for £500m expansion". The Guardian (London). 
  16. "Prince Andrew officially opened Goodricke College". The Northern Echo. 29 April 2010. 
  17. "23 remarkable places listed in 2018". 
  18. "History of University of York's library revealed" (in en). 
  19. "Designing Libraries – Raymond Burton Library for Humanities Research". 
  20. National Heritage List 1148497: Heslington Hall (Grade II* listing)
  21. "York Plasma Institute – York Plasma Institute, University of York". 
  22. "Code of Best Practice for Student Accommodation". University of York. 17 June 2012.