In addition to the world-famous universities of Oxford and Cambridge, there is a third institution in England, much younger, but just as venerable and recognised as the first two.


Already in the 16th century, King Henry VIII wanted to found a university at this place. But he failed, as did Oliver Cromwell about a hundred years later, and it was to take until the beginning of the 19th century for the University of Durham to open its doors.

It was not until 1832 that the University (together with a college) was established by an Act of Parliament and in 1837 it received the Royal Charter (an award from the British King that gave the body a special status).


The University then moved to Durham Castle, which had previously served as the bishop’s residence.

In 1846 the so-called “Bishop Hatfield’s Hall” was inaugurated, which for the first time in English history provided affordable accommodation and full board for students.

However, it was expected that students would bring with them a servant to look after the physical well-being and personal needs of the student.


In the course of time the university was massively enlarged, about 1852 by a medical faculty or 1871 by the “College of Physical Sciences”.

Today, the university, together with Oxford and Cambridge, is one of the leading institutions in its country and was voted British “University of the Year” by the Sunday Times in 2005.