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Durham University

Durham University News


Durham’s latest College salutes social reformer and women’s campaigner

(14 December 2005)

Durham University is naming its 16th residential college after the Northumberland-born writer, pioneer of women’s education and social reformer Josephine Butler.

The Victorian campaigner had family links with the University – including her husband George Butler who was a lecturer in classics. In the late 19th century Durham was one of the leading universities in granting degrees to women - one of the causes closest to Josephine Butler’s heart.

Durham, the current Sunday Times University of the Year, will admit the first men and women students to Josephine Butler College in 2006 - which is also the centenary year of her death. College buildings are at an advanced stage of construction at the Howlands site off South Road Durham.

Following approval of the name by the University’s governing Council, Vice-Chancellor Sir Kenneth Calman said:

“The collegiate character of Durham is part of our pulling power. We are already getting applications for the so-far unnamed college under the new UCAS admissions cycle and it is very timely to confirm its new identity.

“We have chosen a name with a splendid list of associations: with education, with health and well-being, with justice, reform and social responsibility. Josephine Butler was a remarkable person whose influence shook up society in the 19th century and is still in evidence today. She was from our region. She has family links both with the University and with the parliament that brought the University into being. We are also pleased to add another woman to the roll of people commemorated by our colleges.”

Durham has also announced that Mr Adrian Simpson, currently a Senior Lecturer at Warwick University, has been appointed Principal of the new College and will take up his post in January. A specialist in mathematics education, he has taught in schools and at university level and is also Warden of the Arthur Vick Hall for students at Warwick.

Mr Simpson said: "Josephine Butler College is a new and exciting venture for Durham University and for all of us - staff and students - who will generate the ethos of the college in its first years. As with the other colleges, we hope that it will be a major benefit not just to the University and its students, but to the city of Durham and the wider community. In choosing to name it after Josephine Butler, the University is celebrating her ideals of equality and campaigning social justice, ideals which we hope will be reflected in the development of the college right from the start."

Josephine Butler is self-catering, providing an alternative to the traditional full-board college model. The University already has two self-catering colleges at its Queen’s Campus in Stockton, but this will be the University’s first in Durham. It will have study bedrooms for 400 students and a range of communal social facilities.