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Josephine Butler


Q. What is a college?

A. Durham prides itself on its collegiate system and there are 16 different colleges at the University each with their own personality. All first year Undergraduate students are offered accommodation in their college. There is no formal teaching at your college, as Colleges are more a space for personal development. Each college offers its own social spaces, such as student lounges and bars, and its own sports, societies and committees for you to get involved in. Each college welcomes students from all different nations, and is the perfect place to meet plenty of new people from all backgrounds. In each college there is a range of personal support and a full range of events for everyone to enjoy.

Q. What is Josephine Butler College like?

A. Butler opened in 2006, and despite being Durham’s newest college we’ve certainly established ourselves as innovative, vibrant and welcoming. We excel in all areas of college life, whether it be in sporting prowess, academic achievement, or social events and we are the only fully self-catered college on the Durham site for this year.

Josephine Butler herself was a 19th Century feminist who strove to improve the lives of the disadvantaged in society, and the College proudly reflects the values she championed. The blocks of flats themselves are named after places that were of significance to Josephine Butler: Josephine was born in Milfield, lived and worked in Dilston and Wooler and died in Kirknewton.

As a college, a lot of the work for events and clubs is done by our JCR. JCR stands for ‘Junior Common Room’. The JCR is the student body, made up of all Butler undergraduate students. It provides activities, services, and opportunities for all of its members.

The JCR runs the non-academic side of College. Our own students run every single sport, society, and committee and even manage JB’s! The JCR also prides itself on being incredibly accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of experience or ability.

Q. What is the JCR, MCR and SCR?

A. The JCR is the Junior Common Room - Undergraduates are members of this common room.

The MCR is the Middle Common Room - Postgraduates are members of this common room, as well as year four undergraduates and mature students (any student who is 23 or older by the end of their first academic year).

The SCR is the Senior Common Room - consists of those members of University staff and the local community involved with the life of the College.

The common rooms elect a President and Executive Committee for the day-to-day running of the Common Rooms.

"Common Room" does not simply mean a room, although you will have access to the JCR/MCR/SCR Lounge while you are a member, where you can meet friends, watch films/TV, play computer and board games, etc. It also refers to a student representative body. The elected executive committee organises events for students at Butler and represents students in meetings with the College and the University.

You will need to pay a small membership fee called a "JCR Levy" for your Common Room at the start of your course, which will go towards financing events and facilities, such as improvements to the Lounges, sporting equipment, socials and meals. This fee will be billed automatically to students living in college accommodation.

Q. What can I get involved in?

We have a variety of different opportunities available to suit all our students at College.

At Butler we try to make sport as inclusive as possible from everyone. We have 21 different clubs and 48 different teams at Butler, from football and rugby to squash and Frisbee and many more! These teams are for all abilities so definitely give something a go even if you’ve never done it before or don’t think you’ll be very good.

We also have almost 40 active societies at Butler for you to take part in, from singing and drama to FIFA and Disney, along with plenty more. You can even set up your own if you can’t find one that is quite right for you!

We also have a number of Committees that are a huge part of Butler life, responsible for organising our charity fundraisers, campaigning for environmental causes, volunteering all around Durham, designing posters for our events, and much, much more.

You’ll be able to take part in taster sessions during freshers week if you want, or sign up for emails and information about the teams at our fresher’s fair, but you’ll have plenty of opportunity to sign up and get involved all through the year!

Q. How do I get in touch with the JCR?

A. You can contact the JCR here.

Q. What costs should I be expecting?

A. The residence charge depends on the period of residence and is subject to review each year - information is available here. All the costs below are correct for the 2018/19 academic year.

As a Collegiate University, there are certain charges that we ask you to pay which help us to support our students within the college environment and beyond. The JCR is a student representative body and all the college events, groups and campaigns are funded by the college. As such, we do ask our students to pay a charge after Freshers’ Week towards the JCR levy, the Library Fund, the Trust Fund and the Alumni Association fund.

The JCR levy is a fund which helps us put on our amazing events throughout the year, including Freshers' Week, Fashion Show and our Summer Ball. It also helps to fund our groups and campaigns, such as buying in equipment for sports and societies and helping towards welfare campaigns. Even as a liver-out this fund can help improve your experience of the college. This levy costs £135 and is a one off payment which applies to your entire time as a Josephine Butler undergraduate, and in previous years 98% of our students pay this levy. We ask that you pay this charge to ensure that we can keep producing these great events and that we are able to provide for all the sports, societies and committees that you would like to join thought your entire time at the college. If you do not wish to pay the JCR Levy, you will be asked to pay a premium for events and to join sports, societies and committees. There are also some events in which we are restricted as to numbers and priority will be given to JCR members.

The Library Fund is a £15 one off payment, and is used to provide for all students at the college and to help with our annual restocking. These books can be used by our students and often there are books that you may not be able to find elsewhere. Students that pay this fund may also borrow laptops for a period of time if some mishap occurs to their own.

The Trust Fund is £20 for the whole period of your degree and a fund which is specifically managed by the College and not just the JCR. It allows students to request funding for various projects and is open to all College members to seek support for perhaps a particular piece of equipment, to support students in their studies or to enjoy extra activities outside their academic commitments.

Finally, the Alumni Association Fund is a £5 one off payment and allows you to have a lifetime membership to our alumni society and be invited to alumni events that we hold in Durham or around the country. It also allows you to enjoy a subsidised formal dinner in the weeks surrounding your graduation. .

Q. What is the accommodation like?

A. Josephine Butler has around 600 en-suite bedrooms, organised into flats of six with a shared kitchen. Each bedroom contains a single bed, en-suite ‘pod’ (Shower, sink and toilet), a large desk with drawers, desk chair, desk lamp, a wardrobe with a safe in, three shelves and a notice board. There are also six electric plug sockets, computer network point and an television aerial point if you wish to bring your own television. TV license laws still apply, see the Official TV Licensing website for rules regarding watchig television in student accommodation. You are, however, not allowed any appliances such as kettles, heaters or mini-fridges in your room (unless for medical purposes). Students are permitted to decorate their own bedrooms providing they do not mark any walls. Students bring their own bedding, but bedding packs are available to purchase from the College.

Here are some measurements for the room:

Bed to Desk – 118cm

Bed to Pod – 75cm

Shelves – 71cm wide

Wardrobe to door – about 200cm

Q. Which colleges offer self-catered accommodation?

A. Only Josephine Butler College offers entirely self-catering for undergraduates in Durham City, although some other colleges have limited self-catering rooms available.

If you need help to decide which College is best for you, please click here.

Q. What facilities are there at College?

You’ll each have your own room and en-suite for your personal use, and you will share a kitchen area with 5 of your fellow undergraduate students. There is a laundry service on site for students living in college, which costs £3.50 per wash and includes unlimited use of the dryer. You will get a card for this when you arrive as a fresher.

A student's favourite space is our very own JB's, a café and restaurant that is open every day in term time and a few extra days around the year. In the day times it serves lunch, snacks and soft drinks, and in the evening our kitchen opens up and serves plenty of meals for you to enjoy, and the bar opens until late serving a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It is also staffed by Butler students, so keep an eye out for any job opportunities if you’re looking for somewhere to make some extra money!

We also have plenty of spaces for you to enjoy and take part in sports, societies and committees. We have our JCR lounge for you to use whenever you want; it has settees, TVs, games, DVDs and books, and some committees and societies meet here for the events and meetings. We have a gym which has all the equipment you need and costs only £20 for you to use for the whole year! There’s also our MUGA, which is a multi-use sports facility and Milfield Field where some sports teams meet. There’s a music room which you can use whenever you want to practice, and an arts room for all of your arty needs.

We’ve just expanded this year and we now have many rooms for you to study in throughout the year. You can also make use of our IT suite, open 24/7, which has a number of different programmes on for your course, and a library with plenty of books for you to borrow and do your assignments. The IT Suite also has a printer for student use.

Q. What’s the internet like?

A. We have a very good Wi-Fi system that stretches all over college, so you can use the internet from your rooms, the bar and the gym as well as everywhere else. There’s also a computer network point if you wish to use a desktop. We also have an IT suite in college for you to use.

It is recommended that students have anti-virus software on their laptop and undergo Quarantine before they arrive. More information can be found here.

Students can connect their phones/tablets to University Wi-Fi. Please find more information here.

Q. Is it possible to live in residence at the College for the full duration of a degree course?

A. We are unable to guarantee residence in all years. All Durham colleges (and with most universities) have less accommodation space than their student population. You will be asked about living in college at the end of term 1 for the following academic year.

Living out after your first year is popular. However, everyone remains a member of their college throughout their time at Durham and retains use of facilities even if they may be living out (this is where colleges differ from halls of residence in other universities) - we maintain a strong contact with you throughout your time here ... and well beyond!

Q. I want to study a particular subject, would it be possible to reside at this College?

A. Every college in Durham Campus takes students from all subjects.

Q. How do students living at Josephine Butler College travel into the city centre on a daily basis?

A. Durham is a very compact city! It takes about 20 minutes to walk from Josephine Butler to the heart of historic Durham and the city centre (and 25 to the train station and the education department - the furthest posts from the College).

The Howlands Park and Ride facility (which you can use without having to park a car) is based just outside Josephine Butler College and it goes every 10 minutes into the city centre with various stops on the way. If students show their campus card they will only pay £1 day rate for the PR2.

Q. Will I have to move out during University Vacations?

A. Your license to occupy allows you to stay in College for the academic year with one exception:

During the Easter vacation the College hosts post-application open days. In order to provide these students with the full College experience we ‘buy back’ student bedrooms in Milfield to accommodate them. The details of the scheme will be provided soon after the start of term

Q. What do I do if I have any special needs or a disability?

A. Please inform the college as soon as possible via email to so that they can assist you as necessary.

All information provided will be treated with the strictest of confidence.

Q. What food shall I bring?

A. We are a self-catered college which means you’re able to cook and eat your owns meals when you want. It’s useful to bring some food with you for the first week so you’re able to make all your food whenever you want. There’s plenty of places in town to do your shopping though, so don’t worry about bringing food to last you a lifetime! These food shops in town are normally open until around 10pm, but watch out for Sundays where the main shops shut at 4pm. You can also get food deliveries which come up to College; this is a perfect way for you to save some space in the car for your trip up and still get your food the day after arriving. If you want to get moved in then head out to do your food shop, we ask that you park in either the College car park or Howlands Park and Ride when you return. Don’t worry if you haven’t perfected your cooking quite yet though, you will get a free three course meal in your first week at your block’s formal and we have our very own bar and café (JB’s) which is open all week for you to buy lunch or dinner if you don’t want to cook. You can even get the food from JB’s to take away to your room!

Q. What is included in the bedding pack?

A. Burgundy duvet cover, white flat sheet, white pillow case, Duo pillow, 10.5 tog duvet, white bath towel, white hand towel. Bedding packs are available to overseas students only. will send information to overseas applicants in September.

Q. Can I bring a car for the year?

A. Students will only be entitled to apply for a permit to park on University premises if they:

  • have an exceptional medical need and are in possession of a blue badge; live in University premises and have academic commitments requiring them to travel to locations not easily accessible by public transport (e.g. some PGCE students);
  • have other exceptional circumstances;
  • represent the University in elite sports, in which case they will be eligible to apply for a permit for Maiden Castle/Queen’s Campus only.

Students who fall into these categories, must apply first to their College except for those applying under elite sport, which should be made directly to the Facility Manager, Experience Durham at Maiden Castle. Please note however, there is no guarantee that a permit will be granted (unless you are in possession of a blue badge).

Students who park vehicles anywhere on the University estate without permission or without a valid parking permit for a particular car park/location, will be found to be in breach of the University’s Parking Policy (Section A of the Parking Policy) and may be subject to a Parking Charge Notice. Breach of the Policy may also result in proceedings under General Regulation IV – Discipline particularly where there are repeated offences. A copy of the University Parking Policy can be found at .

Q. Can I post anything to College before I arrive?

A. We cannot accept any post sent to the College before you are in residence. Once you arrive, you will be given a key to an individual post box . Please remember to include your room number in your delivery address.

Q. What do I need to bring to cook with?

Please see the following page to see what is included in a kitchen: