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Our History

Hild Bede has a long and captivating past. In 2016, we celebrated 175 years of education on the site. We took the opportunity to look back at our parent colleges, and how our very own Hild Bede was forged from humble beginnings. We remain as one college, distinct from our predecessors, but sharing their traditions and history.

Hild Bede is named after two great British scholars: the Venerable Bede, who has been called the ‘the father of English history’, and the abbess Hild of Whitby, described by Bede as a woman of great energy, a skilled administrator and teacher, who was consulted by kings and princes on account of her wisdom – clearly both excellent role models for us all.

The origins of the College date from the foundation of two nineteenth-century Church of England Colleges of Education: the College of the Venerable Bede (for men) and St Hild’s College for Women. These two Colleges amalgamated in 1975 as the College of St Hild and St Bede, which four years later became a University-affiliated college and ceased to specialise in education. The College had, though, accepted undergraduates in other disciplines prior to that date. 

The first three women graduates of Durham in 1898 were members of St Hild’s College – a fact of which we are very proud, as indeed we are of all aspects of our history.

Many well-known and influential people have been members of Hild Bede and its parent colleges, including two bishops and a surprising number of England cricketers. More recently (1991 to 1995), the former gymnast and TV presenter Gabby Logan was a member of College. She returned to Durham in 2015 to be awarded an honorary doctorate. We hope she will be visiting us again soon.


Our wish for you as you enter College is that, like so many who have gone before, you will succeed in achieving your full potential in whatever direction that may lie, and that you too will be a lifelong friend of the College of St Hild and St Bede.