University College was founded in 1832 when the Bishop of Durham, William Van Mildert, donated Durham Castle, former home of the Prince Bishops of Durham, to become the first college of Durham University. Over the next five years, the Castle was converted and the Keep was rebuilt for use as student accommodation so that in 1837, the first ever Castle students were able to move into their new home. Since then, there has also been a huge amount of refurbishment – the Lowe Library basement was created from the college wine cellar, the Great Hall floor was replaced after years of erosion from dancing, and the Undercroft Bar and common room areas have been extensively updated to allow for more student activities. As our one of our mottos states, Floreat castellum – ‘Let the Castle flourish’!
We spoke to Castle’s Union and Societies Officer, Benjamin Rich, to find out a little more about the college.