Grey College, Durham

Grey College, Durham

Name = Grey College

Motto = " Gradibus ascendimus "
("Ascending by degrees")
Colours =


Named_after = Earl Grey
Established = 1959
head name= Master
head = Prof. J. Martyn Chamberlain
Senior Tutor = Tony Cleaver
JCR Name= JCR President
JCR = Steffan Messenger
Undergraduates = 932
Postgraduates = 50
Website = [ Grey College]
JCR Website1 = JCR Website
JCR Website2 = [ JCR Website]
Boat Club Website = [ Grey Boat Club]
Campus = Durham City

Grey College is a college of the University of Durham in England. Although it was originally planned that the college was to be named Oliver Cromwell College, this proved too controversial [Hill, Christopher: God's Englishman - Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution (Penguin, 1970) p265] and it was instead named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, who was Prime Minister at the time of the University's foundation.


Founded in 1959, Grey was the first college of the University's post-war expansion, and the second college to open on Elvet Hill after St Mary's. It was also the last college founded before the separation of Durham and Newcastle in 1963. The college initially only admitted men, but has been mixed since 1984.

In March 1959, just a few months before the opening of the college, the Elvet block (then the main block of the college) was devastated by fire. However, the college recovered to open as scheduled in October and has since adopted the phoenix as its unofficial badge. The college coat of arms features a scaling ladder (or gré — the badge of the Grey family) between two St Cuthbert's crosses (the symbol of Durham). A new grant of arms in 2004 confirmed these and added the phoenix as a crest.

The head of the college is known as the Master. The first Master was Dr Sydney Holgate, who was head of the college from its foundation until 1980. He was followed by Eric Halladay who was Master until 1988 when Victor Watts took over. The current Master is Professor J. Martyn Chamberlain, appointed after the sudden death of Victor Watts in 2002. The college has a fellowship in Mathematics (the Alan David Richards Fellowship) and a general fellowship scheme (the Sydney Holgate Fellowships), which includes funding for Research Fellows and an Artist in Residence.

During the 1966 World Cup, Grey was home to the Soviet Union's football team who were playing their group matches in Sunderland and Middlesbrough. They won all their matches while based in Durham, but eventually lost to West Germany in the semi-finals.

Grey College was exclusively for male students until the start of the 1984-1985 academic year, when a contingent of nineteen women joined the college in their first year as a pilot program. These first female members of the college had been assigned to Grey, rather than having chosen it, since they had not specified a college of residence at the time they had applied to the University of Durham. Few changes were made to accommodate the new mixed-sex living arrangements - toilet and bathroom facilities were shared, for instance. Female students could, however, request lace curtains in addition to the regular fabric curtains for their rooms.

In the following year, 1985-1986, Grey College opened its doors to all women, who could now actively apply to join the college. By the time these women had graduated three years later, Grey had become indistinguishable in population from the other mixed-sex colleges of the university.

About the college

There are four accommodation blocks on site: Hollingside (the main building), Elvet, Oswald, and Holgate House. Grey was the first college in Durham to have all of its bedrooms connected to the university computer network. The college offers a number of other facilities: Hollingside contains the 350-seater dining room (the college is fully catered), the college bar and the JCR, which has the largest TV of any Durham college, while Holgate House has a conference centre and a library with over 7,000 books. A fifth building, Fountains Hall, is the home of Fountains Theatre Company (FTC), and also contains the college chapel, a multi-purpose hall (for everything from badminton and Grey College Boat Club training, to band practice), and a pizza bar. The University Botanic Garden and the High Wood are located next door to the college, and a path leads directly to the Science Site.

Notable social events include the fireworks display (the largest in Durham); the Cheese Society's "Winter Wonderland of Cheese", infamous for its "secret recipe" punch; "The Informal Ball" with its fancy dress themes, such as 2005's "Music Legends" (with people dressed as anything from Mozart to The Spice Girls to The Crazy Frog to a roaring bison); and "Grey Day", a mix of fun events on the lawn and college bands, traditionally accompanied by the consumption of alcohol. The year comes to an end with "The Phoenix Ball" - one of the most popular in the universityFact|date=January 2008.

Grey has a large number of sports clubs, ranging from Grey College Boat Club through Grey College Ultimate Frisbee Club to Team Croquet. Many of Grey's sporting clubs have enjoyed success in recent years, notably the Women's Hockey team, Boat Club, Darts Club and Rugby Club, as well the Ultimate Frisbee Club being unbeaten throughout its existence. [cite web |url= |title=DUAU College Champions |accessdate=2008-01-08 |format= |work=] [cite web |url=|title=Grey College Sports and Societies|accessdate=2008-01-09|format= |work=]

The Grey Cheerleading Squad have won the title of best cheerleading squad in the university for three years running; first in the 2005/06 year and then again in both 2006/07 and for a third consecutive time in 2007/08. The Cheerleaders also crowned runners up at Festival Italia 2007 in Rimini.

Members of the college sometimes refer to themselves as the "Grey Army" and can be found at many college sporting events (usually rugby games) supporting the team, with a "Commander-in-Chief" appointed each academic year to lead the troops. Another mascot of the college is the "College Trout"- a Big Mouth Billy Hamill toy that is currently stationed behind the bar.

Notable alumni

* Daniel Casey - Co-star of Midsomer Murders
*Professor Chris Higgins - academic, Vice Chancellor of the University as of 2007.
* [ Dominic Montserrat] - TV Egyptologist (deceased).
*Tim Stimpson - Rugby Union player and England international.
*James Wilby - Actor
* Peter Dixon - England Rugby Union Captain.
* Sir David George Maddison - appointed High Court Judge in 2008.

External links

* [ Grey College] - official website
* [ Grey College JCR] - undergraduate student organisation website
* [ Grey College MCR] - postgraduate student organisation website
* [ Grey College SCR] - staff organisation website
* [ Grey College Bar] - college bar website
* [ Grey College Association] - alumni organisation website


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