The same but different
I was a student at Durham in the late 1960s and early '70s. Ever since then I've had great affection for the City and the University.
My elder son is now in his last year at Castle and it has been a great pleasure for me over the last few years to renew my familiarity with Durham.
So much has changed but so much remains unchanged. The essential Durham is unchanged - the river, the Cathedral, Palace Green, the Bailey, College Close, Prebends Bridge. The peninsula, now almost timeless, must be one of the loveliest urban places in the world.
Of course, the fabric of the City has altered as have the shops and bars. We had a Wimpy bar and a Chinese restaurant, not the wealth of cafes, restaurants and bars which now characterise the old streets. Most of the building since the 1970s has been sympathetic and unobtrusive. John Betjeman would love the houses now built below the railway station.
Life for the students is also largely the same. They now have to live out in their second year and they have more financial worries than we did. But that strange and heady mixture of intellectual challenge, languor, excess, uncertainty, certainty and gilded youth is much as it was for my generation.
Being a student is a privilege. Being a student in Durham remains, it seems to me, very heaven.
David Brearley, King's College, History, 1960-1963