Hatfield College History: Buildings

Hatfield College Chapel

The first purpose-built chapel in the University, Hatfield College Chapel was conceived in 1851, and built by 1854. The architect was Rev. James Turner who designed the chapel in decorated gothic style. Finance was produced by an appeal to alumni topped up with a loan of £150 from the University.

Furnishings, panelling, organ, and plaques were all added later. Originally, it must have been stark and strictly functional. The Harrison and Harrison Organ was installed in 1882 and completely refurbished in 2001. The original cost of the organ was £310 and the recent rebuild cost £65,000. Both expenses were raised by public subscription mainly from former students. The lectern was the gift of the Hatfield Association.

The Chapel contains memorials to former staff and students of the College who died in the two World Wars. An oak panel commemorates the fallen of the 1914-1918 War and there is a Book of Remembrance naming those lost in the Second World War.

In the beginning, student attendance at Cathedral services was compulsory. After the Chapel was built, attendance of students at Chapel services was obligatory for the next 80 years. The Second World War put an end to compulsion. Since then, Chapel has been an important but minority interest of the College.

The Chapel Choir is made up mainly of Hatfield students. As well as singing in Hatfield Chapel itself, the choir has recently performed at other venues including Chester, Durham, Gloucester, Rochester and Worcester Cathedrals. Another important choral activity is making recordings of their recitals. Here is a sound clip from one such recording - Pitoni's Cantate Domino.

The Coaching Inn

The Coaching Inn was acquired by Durham University in 1845 for the sum of £4,250. The following year, it was occupied by the newly-founded 'Bishop Hatfield's Hall'.

The Inn dates back to the mid-seventeenth century. Originally built as a town house for wealthy members of local society, it was used as such until 1760 when it was converted into a coaching inn known as The Red Lyon. The building continued to be used for that purpose until 1799 when it reverted to its original use as a private house.

The Inn was much more extensive at the time that it was first occupied by Hatfield Hall. Since then, however, substantial parts of the building have been replaced by newer structures. The only parts of the original building that still survive are the Dining Hall, the Senior Common Room (formerly a card room), the SCR Dining Room and D Stairs leading to rooms above. The Dining Hall was extended northwards by the addition of an annex in 1962.

Hatfield Cottage Hatfield Cottage

Acquired by the University in 1897 together with the Rectory, Hatfield Cottage may have been built to serve the adjacent Church of St Mary-le-Bow. Since acquisition, the Cottage has been used at various times to house College staff, as student accommodation and as a teaching facility.

Hatfield Cottage appears to date from the early nineteenth century and there are still some original features that point to this period. However, the Cottage has been substantially modified in a number of respects since then.

The Melville Building (A & B Stairs)

The Melville Building (A & B Stairs), an accommodation block originally comprising 28 student sets, was completed in 1849 at a cost of £4,000. The architect was Anthony Salvin who was also responsible for e.g. designing the University Observatory and restoring Durham Castle's Keep. Although from Durham, Salvin developed a national reputation and was responsible for extensive restoration to the Tower of London and to Windsor Castle.

The outward Tudor style appearance has changed little but there have been recent internal improvements adding modern and even luxurious facilities. The chimneys in the architect’s drawing remind us that student rooms were once heated by coal fires.

The Melville Building houses the Junior Common Room and the College computer room.

The Rectory

Since being acquired in 1897, the Rectory has been used for housing students. Today, it also serves as the College's main administrative block with offices for, among others, the Master, Senior Tutor, Bursar and Chaplain.

The origins of the Rectory go back to 1666 or even earlier. It is possible that it stands on the foundations of one of the medieval gatehouses into Durham. Massive sandstone internal walls provide evidence of these origins. Other features of note include the fine wooden portico in Bow Lane which dates from around 1713 and a fine eighteenth century wrought-iron staircase. Although the Rectory did house priests, it was actually built as a private house and was more often used for that purpose than as a rectory. Indeed, its proper name is Bow Lane House.

The Rectory also houses the Birley Room (formerly the Melville Room). The Birley room was first used as a Junior Common Room but since then has had a number of different uses. At present, it is used for meetings, dining, musical recitals and other events.

C Stairs

In the 1930s the introduction of Science teaching and Education courses increased the need for accommodation and so C Stairs was built. It replaced a section of the Coaching Inn that had been used for domestic purposes since the foundation of Hatfield Hall. C Stairs was designed in neo-Georgian style by Durham University architect William Thorpe Jones. It was officially opened in 1932 by Lord Halifax. C stairs was the first Hatfield accommodation to provide students' sets specifically containing separate studies and bedrooms, supplied with running water.

Pace Building

Designed by Emanuel Vincent Harris, Pace Building was completed in 1950. It was named after Rev. Canon Edward George Pace who was Vice-Master of Hatfield from 1917 to 1947, serving under no less than three different Masters. The architectural historian, Pevsner, describes the building as friendly, going on to say 'stone, with a big hipped roof, front doorways with Gibbs surrounds to each set, and a nice rhythm of windows towards the river.' As well as student rooms (E to H Stairs), the building also houses the College library and a Gymnasium.

Kitchen Block

In 1954, the new Kitchen Block was completed. It was designed in neo-Georgian style and cost £21,000. The Block comprises not only the main kitchens, but also offices and a small number of student rooms. It occupies the site of a group of anterooms attached to the west end of the dining hall, some dating back to the time of the Mansion.

Gatehouse Block

The original, seventeenth-century gatehouse tenement collapsed in 1955 revealing evidence of its earlier, medieval fabric. Pottery shards found on the site suggest that the origins of the building were thirteenth century. It was replaced by a neo-Georgian accommodation block incorporating a Porter's Lodge in 1962. The new building was designed by architect Thomas Worthington and cost £55,000.

Jevons Building

The present Jevons Building is on the site of an earlier dwelling house which had been occupied by several Hatfield Principals and Masters, most notably by Professor Frank Byron Jevons after whom it is named. The new building was designed by architects Bernard Taylor & Partners and completed in 1968 at a cost of £154,000. As well as student rooms (J to M Stairs), the building also houses the College bar and a laundry.

Bailey House

The last purpose-built accommodation block built for the College, Bailey House was designed by architect David Roberts and completed in 1971. It replaced houses at 41-42 North Bailey but incorporates their finely-carved stone doorways. The attractive facade of Bailey House comprises reused pink brick within a grid of blue brick.

Palmers Garth

Palmers Garth is a short distance from the main College site across Kingsgate Bridge. It was originally built as a University administration block. Among other things, it housed the Careers Advisory Service. However, in 1991, The Careers Advisory Service moved across the road to Dunelm House and Palmers Garth was handed over the Hatfield College for use as an accommodation block. One year later, a new block was added to the existing building significantly increasing its capacity.

Palatine House

Palatine House was built by Durham County Council as an residential care home and completed in October 1968. Hatfield took possession of Palatine House in October 2006. The building offers 45 single rooms in a single-storey building behind Church Street. This property, only five minute's walk from College, is a self-catering Postgraduate Centre offering a sense of 'independence' from main College but within reach of all its facilities. Palatine House has its own lounge area, kitchen, dining hall, laundry, quadrangle and lawned area - not to mention a small car park in the heart of Durham!