Years of the Threes: A Few Facts


  • The Diamond Jubilee of the Fergusson Building is further celebrated by the completion of the renovation of St. Mary’s College Terrace, to its original design.  Opening ceremony by Vice-Chancellor.
  • Successful Garden Party and Family Day with fine, warm weather!
  • An attractive College calendar is designed.



  • Decision taken by the University Council that St. Mary’s should admit male undergraduates from October 2005.
  • Plans to set aside the Mews, now the Shepherd Wing, as accommodation for women only.
  • Aim to accommodate more postgraduates to make a more balanced community.
  • First JCR trip abroad – forty went to Amsterdam.
  • Golden Anniversary of first year of the new St. Mary’s Building on the present  site.



  • Death of Margaret Fergusson, Principal after whom the Fergusson Building is named.
  • First Honorary College Fellow is Professor Rosemary Cramp.
  • Extensions completed: the Williamson building has three new blocks connecting East and West Wings to create a quadrangle and projecting at either side, providing 52 study bedrooms. Conference Hall and atrium alongside the Dining Hall.
  • New lamps dedicated in Chapel.
  • Cinderella Midsummer Ball and one of the best garden parties ever!



  • New colour scheme and curtains in the Dining Hall.
  • The first shower is installed.
  • A cloakroom for the disabled installed on main corridor.
  • The Dell is established (shrubbery near entrance to main drive).
  • St. Aidan’s is now mixed and Grey soon will be.



  • Mary Holdsworth begins her last year as Principal after being in the post since 1962.
  • Washbasins are being installed in study bedrooms.



  • Washing machine and spin drier installed in Fergusson and a spin drier in Williamson.
  • Television in JCR and a radio set and record player in the new JCR.
  • Telephone installed in Williamson.
  • JCR has so many members that JCR meetings are now held in the Dining Hall.
  • Newcastle and Durham become separate Universities.
  • Kingsgate Bridge is opened.



  • First year of full occupation of the newly built College.
  • Development of grounds and interiors.
  • Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, unable to perform the official opening of the new St. Mary’s because of the death of her brother. Consequently, St. Mary’s has never been officially opened because the ceremony had to be within the first year of occupation.  She made an unofficial visit in 1956 instead.



  • “The conscription of women is the point at which the College has been most directly affected this year by the war.  According to present regulations no woman over nineteen years of age on 1st October may enter a University, and women over eighteen may have only two years in which to take a degree.  All women who enter must intend either to teach or to enter some form of National Service.  In spite of these regulations, however, we have a waiting-list of candidates for next year.
  • “Old students who lived at Abbey House will be sorry that it has been given up to help to house the Air cadets, whose numbers are overwhelming Durham.  St. Mary’s is now concentrated in the South Bailey, in Nos. 8, 13, and 6, one of the St. John’s College houses.” [St. Mary’s College Old Students’ Society Newsletter 1943].



  • Plans for new college chapel in garden of 8, The College (now Chorister School) where St. Mary’s resided. Hitherto, Deanery Chapel used.
  • Dedication to take place in 1933/34 academic year.  “The green roof harmonises with nature, the interior is well-proportioned and the exterior particularly pleasing”. Many gifts included an altar. A better organ and choir stalls still needed.



  • Student numbers quickly increased and 8, South Bailey has been acquired as an additional residence.
  • Proposal to launch an appeal for a new College.



  • Senate agrees on the desirability of admitting women to full membership of the University.
  • St. Mary’s living in Abbey House, “a long rambling, late Georgian building.”
  • Phyllis Wragge is Principal (1913-1915) of the Women’s Hostel, having succeeded Elizabeth Robinson (1900-1913).



  • Students residing in Abbey House from 1901 and Abbey Cottage.
  • It is now 4 years since St. Mary’s, known as the Women’s Hostel, began with six students living at 33, Claypath.

[Information and quotations from St. Mary’s College Society Newsletters]