Hatfield College History: A Model College

The main basis of David Melville’s model college was economy to bring the cost of higher education within the means of the financially disadvantaged. This involved a package deal - an agreed living style more economical that anything which had existed before:

• All rooms were let furnished, with shared servants

• All meals were taken in Hall, communally provided

• Commons were to be fixed at a reasonable rate, known in advance.

In practical terms this meant that the cost of living in Hatfield was more economical than that of University College.

In the fullness of time, this system (which Melville personally commended to W.E. Gladstone) came to be adopted in Durham University after the Royal Commission of 1862 recommended it and then in Oxford at Keble College. This system spread throughout the world.

The numbers of students in Hatfield built up steadily requiring new building to accommodate these additional students. This led to disagreement with Warden and eventually to the failure of the Warden to renew Melville’s contract beyond 1851.