20th Century

A New University

Students coming out of Heslington Hall.

York has been a centre of learning since Anglo-Saxon times and for more than 200 years York’s leaders talked about establishing a university.  That ambition was finally realised in 1963.

In the decade before, York had beefed up its academic credentials with the opening of both the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies.

This helped to convince the government that York deserved a university, and ministers granted permission in 1960.  A great proponent of the project, Alderman John Bowes Morrell, donated 180 acres of land at Heslington and soon college buildings were constructed around a newly-created central lake.  The first 228 students arrived at Heslington Hall in the autumn of 1963.  A year later King’s Manor opened as the university’s centre for arts subjects.

By 2000, more than 8,000 students were enrolled at the University of York, and it was among the top universities in the UK.

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