The Union was founded by students 175 years ago. Ever since, the Union has been the centre of Durham life, and is the place for pioneering free and open debate.

1842: The Beginning

Originally housed in the reading rooms of Hatfield Hall and University College, the Union moved to Palace Green in 1872, where it has remained ever since. Today the Debating Chamber is one of Durham’s finest sights, sitting between the Castle and the Cathedral; it is a magnificent setting in which to listen to some of Britain’s leading lights.




1914: Controversy The Union has always had a taste for controversy. In 1914 it pushed for women to have the vote-fourteen years before universal suffrage. The Union has been unafraid to challenge established thinking of the day and  joining the Union is a way for you to challenge your own preconceptions of the society we live in.




More than just a debating society The Union has always been much more than just a debating society. It is a place for students from across all the collegesand degrees to meet. The Union’s Bar and Beer Garden are ideal for this. Located right in the centre of town, in a Grade II listed building, 24 North Bailey Club is well known amongst students for its cocktails.




Where are we going? Today, the Durham Union plays an integral role at the heart of University life and perfectly complements the collegiate system. We continue to expand both the quantity and quality of events on offer to members. From weekly debates to more informal forums and addresses; from Durham’s best ball to the big summer garden party, the Union can be there for you to use as much or as little as you want.