Girish Mahajan (Editor)

John Snow College, Durham

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Established  2001
Principal  Carolyn Summerbell
Phone  +44 191 334 0034
Undergraduates  913
Colors  White, Dark blue, Gold
Named for  Dr John Snow
Vice Principal  Janet Dixon-Dawson
Founded  2001
Postgraduates  16
John Snow College, Durham
Motto in English  To seek the highest through knowledge and wisdom
Website  John Snow College Snow JCR John Snow Boat Club
Address  Durham University, Queen's Campus, University Blvd, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees TS17 6BH, UK
Motto  Per scientiam et prudentiam quaere summam
Similar  Durham University, Trevelyan College - Durham, Ushaw College, Langwith College - York, Lucy Cavendish College

John Snow College is a college of the University of Durham in England, and one of two located at Queen's Campus in Thornaby-on-Tees, 23 miles (37 km) south of the city of Durham itself. The College takes its name from the nineteenth-century Yorkshire physician Dr John Snow.



In 1992, the Joint University College on Teesside of the Universities of Durham and Teesside (JUCOT) was established on the site as a joint venture between the University of Durham and the University of Teesside. This was initially intended to grant joint degrees validated by both institutions (BAs and BScs). However, Teesside, which had only become a university in 1992, had difficulties in taking on its responsibilities for the college and Durham took full control in 1994.

A programme of integration with Durham began, leading to the college becoming University College, Stockton (UCS) in 1996 – a college of the University of Durham and the only college with teaching responsibilities. Further integration led to the campus being renamed the University of Durham, Stockton Campus (UDSC) in 1998, and the removal of its teaching responsibilities. In 2001, UDSC was split into two colleges: one was John Snow College, and the other was George Stephenson College; the campus was also renamed University of Durham, Queen's Campus (UDQC), in honour of the Queen's jubilee.


Termly formal dinners exist within the college in which members of college attend in their relevant Academic dress of Durham University and follow the rules outlined by the college and disciplined by the JCR chairman. Two college Balls are held per annum, one in the Michaelmas Term and a further Graduation Ball in the Epiphany Term in which large numbers of the college attend.

Snow Day occurs once a year and is a celebration of everything it is to be a member of the college, the event is held within the college halls of residence and features entertainment, music and food. A new tradition of Snow Day is to start the day with a water fight in the spirit of John Snow's discovery from the Broad Street water pump handle; the first such water fight occurred on the very first Snow day on 27 May 2002. This was initiated by the Backhouse Girls as an initiation for members of other blocks such as Craggs and Bolton who wanted to become honorary members of the Backhouse Girls. The water fight commences early in the morning as a signal to wake up all college members for the day ahead.

Being located at Queen's Campus there is much competition between John Snow College and Stephenson College, and a tradition of competing against in each other in almost anything that can be won over the other college occurs. This starts with ensuring that all new members of the college are taught the college songs and told what is expected of them as a 'John Snow Ranger'.

Facilities and Societies

The college accommodation is located within several buildings surrounding two courtyards; one of which is for parking and the other a landscaped area with trees, gardens, benching and a BBQ area. The college benefits from a large common room with a decked area and houses the college bar 'The Igloo' serving drinks, coffee and some food throughout the week to college and University members.

There is a large games room with 2 snooker tables and games consoles, a modern computer suite exclusively for college members, a quiet study room and an art room for all students and the art society. In addition to this a music block also exists which is available to book by all students of the college for practice and rehearsals.

Infinity Musical Theatre is one of the most successful new societies at Queen's Campus and were finalists at the DSU Awards Dinner for Best New Society in 2010. They performed the North East Premiere of Bad Girls The Musical at ARC Theatre, Stockton in February 2011 and actively recruit each year for new members. Their next production was the smash hit production of Footloose, performed at ARC Theatre in February 2012.

Along with this society is the Art Society, Christian Union, Street Dance Society, Finance Society, Drama Society and Equinox Jazz all exist at the college as well as an impressive selection of sports teams.

John Snow College Boat Club

John Snow College Boat Club (JSBC) is the rowing club of John Snow College, at Durham University. Both John Snow and Stephenson Colleges have access to non-tidal water to row, the River Tees, and they make use of a rowing pontoon alongside the Queen's Campus site.


When Durham University took responsibility of the campus in 1994, Tees Rowing Club was asked to help develop rowing. The campus became known as University College, Stockton (UCS) in 1996 and as such the boat club was called University College Stockton Boat Club (UCSBC), to differentiate it from University College, Durham.

Further integration led to the campus bring renamed in 1998 along with the Boat Club University of Durham Stockton Campus Boat Club (UDSCBC) to differentiate it from University College Boat Club. The club rented out rack space for its boats in Tees Rowing Club's boathouse down Boathouse Lane, the site of Tees Rowing Club's boathouse since 1864. The club raced under the Palatinate Colours, the remains of which can be seen on the old blades.

In September 2001, John Snow and George Stephenson Colleges were formed out of University of Durham Stockton Campus, which although it provided UDSCBC the opportunity to create two separate clubs, it was decided due to low membership and boats that it should remain a joint club. In November 2001 both Tees Rowing Club and UDSCBC left the site on Boathouse Lane and moved into new shared premises at The River Tees Watersports Centre, which was funded by the Big Lottery Fund and £80,000 from Durham University.

In late 2010 the new boat house was officially opened. The boat house is situated on the southern shore of the Tees and on campus, shared by both the John Snow and George Stephenson Colleges.

The Principal

Carolyn Summerbell is the current Principal of John Snow College and is a Professor of Human Nutrition with research concentrating on Obesity Related Behaviours based at the Wolfson Research Institute close to the college itself.

Former Principals

  • H.M. Evans 2002–2008
  • Carolyn Summerbell 2008 –
  • References

    John Snow College, Durham Wikipedia