Durham’s worst colleges

Get ready to have your prejudices validated and fears realized with our compilation of the worst colleges in Durham

Durham’s bid to make “Doxbridge” a reality, by housing students in distinctive colleges rather than mundane flat systems, has certainly provoked competition over time.

Indeed, it’s fair to say that Durham’s collegiate system turns even the most rational student into a blindly fanatic loyalist, spouting the virtues of their college while brutally slagging off others.

We carefully selected from Durham’s 14 colleges (no one counts Stockton) the worst of a bad bunch. Read on to see if yours has made the cut.


When your college’s unique appeal stems solely from its “crazy hexagonal architecture” (taken from Trevs’ actual website), you know you don’t really have much to shout about.

With lots of sides but hardly edgy, Trevs is a college renowned largely for the liberties taken by other colleges’ socials in its bar due to its admirable tolerance for shenanigans.

With two brick columns on either side and a sizeable space in between, it was only a matter of time before “Trevs’ Football” was discovered by rogue sport socials.

Sadly, despite the website’s audacious claim of having “the best college bar in Durham”, it leaves much to me desired and remains about as special and memorable as a pull in Klute.

The faces say it all


For a college renowned for being full of people who do the Lord’s work, it seems unfair that God has condemned these virtuous few to living in John’s.

Sandwiched between the oh so hipster Cuth’s and the gorgeously welcoming Chads, John’s provides a painfully inadequate comparison to its neighbours.

Their downstairs bar could have feasibly been designed for hobbits, making it a risky venue for bar crawls of people over 6ft, and of course doing absolutely nothing to aid their less-than-sociable reputations.

They may be all going to heaven but it would seem they have to put up with a little bit of hell on their way by living here.

Spot the religious venerations


What sort of college hatred inciting article would this be without a vicious attack on the infamous Hatfield College. If Durham is Hogwarts, Hatfield are undoubtedly Slytherin.

Their motto “Be The Best You Can Be” is particularly ironic since Hatfield is primarily responsible for representing the worst you can be as a Durham student, taking it upon themselves to maintain the clichéd ‘rah’ image that plagues Durham throughout the country.

Like a moneyed, upper class college equivalent of Millwall FC, the majority of Hatfielders get off on the fact they are despised. In fact, being a Hatfielder provides an excellent taster of future life for its by offering a muted parody of life as Piers Morgan.

They may have lovely grounds, they may be good at sports and they may have the honour of having their own flute choir (an absolutely fundamental requirement for a great university experience) but look at the bigger picture.

When your college is routinely the subject of abusive songs where they’re essentially just told to “fuck off”, when Freshers are afraid to wear wristbands admitting their collegiate identity and when it is not an uncommon occurrence for people to urinate on the gates of your college, do you really want to belong to Hatfield?

They need gates for a reason


There is an old saying; “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Never have these words so aptly applied when describing Mary’s.

On the outside its grounds are stunningly picturesque, offering a postcard snapshot of Durham with its magnificent view of the cathedral and beautiful buildings. However, to slightly edit a phrase from Doctor Who: its shitter on the inside.

Walk in those doors and you are subjected to a terrifying vision of the future in which the world is at nuclear war and the last remnants of humanity are holed up bleak dingy bunkers.

The exposed piping, the empty corridors, the solitary dartboard hanging on the wall – all these and much more collate to form the wonder that is Mary’s. Renowned for its infamous “Filth” shots, the logic clearly is to get any visitor wasted enough not to remember how pitifully small the bar is.

There is a reason for the Mary’s challenge. It is to get out of there very quickly and as far away as possible.

Pretty deserted

Josephine Butler

When the only reason for people to visit your college is an Internship Fair, you know you’re in trouble.

Neglected from bar crawls, a logistical nightmare to get home from, Butler might as well be in Stockton. A massive pointless grass mound that dominates the centre of the college may mildly resemble the home of the Teletubbies, but other than a confused nostalgia the only other emotion that arrival at Butler evokes is one of being distinctly underwhelmed.

The airport lounge bar refuses to ever be full, so that any visit there makes you feel constantly on edge, and sadly even the panoramic views of the Park and Ride from the top of the mound can’t make up for this.

To borrow a phrase from the infamous Butler C Darts Team Twitter page, “If your A level results today got you into Butler, fear not. If you can throw darts there’s still hope”. If not, curl up into a ball and cry.

Where is Po?