The Union was founded by students here 175 years ago. Ever since, the Union has been the centre of University life, and is the place to be in Durham 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, for example, 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 colleges and degrees to meet. The Union’s Bar and Beer Garden are ideal for this. Located in a Grade II listed building, right in the centre of town, 24 North Bailey Club is renowned amongst students for its cocktails and Pub Quiz nights.




Where are we going? Today, the Durham Union plays an integral role at the heart of the University 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 in Michaelmas to our annual summer garden party, the Union is here for you to use as much or as little as you want throughout the academic year.