Derwent College

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Coordinates: 53°56′48″N 1°02′53″W / 53.9466°N 1.0480°W / 53.9466; -1.0480

Derwent College
Derwent college crest wiki.gif
Derwent College crest
University University of York
Established 1965
Named for River Derwent, Yorkshire
Provost Dr. Rob Aitken
Dean Mr. Jonathan Exon
Undergraduates 543 (resident)
Website Derwent College
view from behind Derwent College toward Heslington Hall

Derwent College is a college of the University of York, one of the first two colleges (along with Langwith) to be opened following the university's inception. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 22 October 1965. Derwent College is home to the University's Politics and Philosophy departments.

The college itself is on the fringe of the campus, lying next to Heslington Hall, and close to the gazebo and gardens known collectively as The Quiet Place. Famous past members of the College include Greg Dyke (politics alumnus and now University Chancellor), Jung Chang and Harry Enfield.

College facilities and events[edit]

Facilities in Derwent include Computer Services classrooms and computer rooms, a Junior Common room, and the Derwent bar and dining room. During the day there is a main dining room, a snack bar and a drinks bar.

Club D, a student disco on campus is organised through the Junior Common room. This is held periodically at weekends during term time in the Derwent bar and dining room. The College also holds the annual Big-D (formerly known as Derwent BBQ) the biggest event on campus. It is an end of year event along the lines of Club D, but on a larger scale. Taking up the whole area in and around the college, it is normally held on the final Thursday of the Summer term and has several rooms of music, bars and food, and open air activities.

Past acts to play at the event include Fenna Rhodes and Bruce from X Factor, and more recently[when?] Lil' Chris, Boyd from Neighbours and The Cheeky Girls. Pendulum and Chesney Hawkes played the event in 2008, and Simian Mobile Disco, Scratch Perverts and Utah Saints in 2009. In 2010 bands Chase & Status and Audio Bullys were headliners.

Junior Common Room[edit]

All undergraduate residents of Derwent College are members of the Junior Common Room, and continue to remain members throughout their time at the university. The Junior Common Room Committee is responsible for representing the interests of Derwent students, organising events, and welfare provision. The Committee is elected annually from the undergraduate population, and consists of around 40 members.


Derwent College has six accommodation blocks, named A, B, C, D, E, and F. Blocks A, B, C and D are standard university accommodation. They were built in the CLASP system, invented by Andrew Derbyshire, consisting of prefabricated concrete blocks and panels.

Block A is part of the main college building, being the north-west and north-east sides of a small quadrangle, with the administrative offices and JCR on the south-east. B Block is situated nearer Heslington Hall overlooking the University Lake. C and D Blocks are also located near Heslington Hall and also form a single separate building in most important respects. A concrete slab forming part of a covered walkway is the only actual connection between C block and the kitchen portion of the main college building.

The original college only had A, B, and C blocks. Block D was added a few years later on a different floor plan with comparatively small individual rooms, but a large central kitchen and eating area. The older blocks had little communal space but somewhat larger rooms.

There were also a small group of rooms known as "N Block" (N standing for nucleus) which are situated above the bar. Originally these were used for guest accommodation, however they have since been converted to offices now forming part of "the Philosophy corridor."

E and F Blocks form part of the Derwent-Langwith. They are situated across the other side of University Road from the rest of the college, adjacent to Heslington Church field. They are more recently brick-build accommodation and some of these rooms offer en-suite bathroom facilities.

Further to the main blocks, Derwent students are also accommodated in Eden's Court which is situated on Heslington Lane. Eden's court comprises 8 houses, each of 10 rooms with similar layout to those of Halifax College. Eden's Court is jocularly referred to by the other blocks of Derwent as 'Shutter Island', due to its isolation in being situated nearer to Halifax College than the Derwent nucleus.


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