The County College, Lancaster

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The County College
University of Lancaster
Motto Sine Consilio Nihil
"Nothing Without [The] Council"
Established 1967
Named for Lancashire County Council
Sister college Halifax College, York[1]
Principal Dr Karen Grant
Vice Principal Dr Steve Dempster
JCR President Jack McNamara[2]
Dean Stuart Powers
Undergraduates 1500
Newspaper Pendragon
Website The County College
The County JCR

The County College, also known as County College or County, is a constituent college of the University of Lancaster. The establishment of the college was financed through the benefaction of Lancashire County Council and it is named after it.[3] The original college building, County Main, was opened by HM The Queen in 1969.[4]


County college was the only college to be named after its benefactors, the County Council, who donated a generous sum of money towards its construction and promised to donate £50,000 a year for 10 years towards the university’s running costs. A commemorative plaque situated outside the college office remembers their generous contribution. It was decided that County college should be based upon the old Oxonian idea of building colleges around a quadrangle because it adds to the collegiate nature of the university and expresses the idea of an individual community. The only way that a square could be incorporated into County was around an old oak tree that had been spared as a sapling by an agricultural labourer over 200 years ago.[5] This original college building is now known as County Main. The building was erected around the tree without damage to its roots. The College is very conscious of its responsibility for the health of the tree and beneath its shade are two bench seats erected in memory of two former College Officers.


The Roundhouse (foreground, left) and County West (background), before its demolition.

The college residences were expanded in 1978 with the construction of County West. In 2004 the college further expanded, after being granted buildings that had been vacated by Cartmel College. These buildings have since been renovated and named County South and now house a relocated college bar. In October 2006 County South expanded with the opening of three large residence houses built on the site of demolished Cartmel College residence blocks.[6] County West was demolished in August 2007 and in January 2008 the new construction of the 'Townhouses' on County Field was completed. Following this expansion, the existing 'County Main' block was also renovated to include modern standard accommodation on the top two floors and classrooms and offices on the bottom two floors.


An oak leaf is used as a symbol of the College, and it is included on its Coat of Arms which was granted by the College of Arms. The college unofficial motto is Do it for The Tree.


The college has its own social calendar which provides County members the opportunity to go on nights out that are exclusive to them, to the nearby cities of Manchester and Liverpool. Originally the large kitchens which accommodated up to 26 residents allowed for residents to quickly get to know many people from their area of the college. This helped to contribute to the friendly feel of the college as a community. Flats are now generally smaller following refurbishment in 2008, though with 12 people to a flat the opportunity to meet new people is still there.

Since December 2012, following the restructure of the bars on the university campus, The County Bar (The Northern Oak) has hosted live music nights with Live at the Oak, which occurred every Wednesday during term time. Alongside the existing County Comedy Club, Live at the Oak was set up to bring live music back to campus and offer students the chance to get up close and personal with bands similar to that seen at other universities with academy style venues, such as Manchester and Liverpool. Since December 2015, Live at the Oak has occurred less often, though live acts still play the bar occasionally. The County Comedy Club, now known as Joke at the Oak, still takes place every other Thursday during term time.[7]


The college partakes in all of the inter-college sport events and competitions which are an integral part of collegiate life. These competitions relate to the Carter Shield and the George Wyatt Trophy. The college darts, pool, football and netball teams have all achieved much over recent years with the women winning all three of their events in the 2006 George Wyatt Trophy and the retaining their darts title in 2007 and 2008, giving County Ladies darts 3 wins in a row. As well as Men's B-team pool and Dominoes also winning their leagues in 2008. County College is noted for its football teams and their particular "bar golf" championship. For the first time in 2009, members of the College will be able to compete in an intra-college sports event for the Michael Mullet Shield - named after a former Principal and a founding father of the College. Each residential area of the College (Main, South, Creed, Town Houses and off campus) will vie for the shield in a number of sporting events. As of 2010 County also participates in the Legends Shield, which was originally a four-way competition with Fylde, Pendle and Grizedale colleges. The 2011 competition, however, did not feature Grizedale. The sports range from Wii Sports to hockey to bar sports. In 2011 the football's A, B and C teams were successful in winning all summer cups and in 2012 the A and B teams managed to retain the titles with the C team losing a hotly contested final. In 2013 the combined County football teams won 5 out of the 6 possible inter-college trophies.



The College Syndicate is responsible to the Council of the University of Lancaster for the good governance of the college. The syndicate meets once each academic year. and is composed of the entire Senior Common Room and the Junior Common Room executive committee. The current President of the Junior Common Room is Jack McNamara, who was elected by the students of the college.

The day-to-day running of the college is carried out by the college Executive Committee, which is a sub-committee of the College Syndicate. The Executive Committee is composed of the College Officers and the JCR Executive. The College Executive committee meets three or four times a term.

College Officers[edit]

  • Principal: Dr. Karen Grant
  • Vice-Principal: Rachel Fligelstone
  • Dean: Stuart Powers

Notable alumni[edit]


Coordinates: 54°00′45″N 2°47′03″W / 54.0126°N 2.7843°W / 54.0126; -2.7843