Saturday 11 May 2019

Ushaw College, County Durham

Ushaw College

Ushaw College: exterior view and interior of St Cuthbert's Chapel

Attendance at the AGM is free of charge. Tickets for the optional refreshments £11.00 and the tours £15.00.


11.00 am: Foregather 11.00 a.m. in The Lounge (tea/coffee/biscuits for those who have paid for refreshments).
11.30 a.m. Talk in the Presentation Room (free) Speaker: Dr. Roderick O'Donnell.
12.30 Buffet lunch in The Lounge (for those who have paid for refreshments).
13.30 AGM in the Presentation Room (free to all members).
14.00 Tours (for those who have paid): 3 rotating guided tours, approx. 45 minutes each, ending at 16.30.

The Roman Catholic college at Ushaw, four miles west of Durham City, closed in 2011 bequeathing us a unique and spectacular legacy of buildings and contents, a cultural jewel and treasure house. The first main building on the site is in Classical style, a fine example dating from 1804-08 designed by James Taylor of Islington. However, the glory of the complex is its magnificent display of nineteenth-century Gothic Revival buildings, designed by three generations of the Pugin dynasty and by the firms of Joseph & Charles Hansom and of Dunn & Hansom. Particular highlights are the Library (the Hansoms, 1849-51), the Refectory (redesigned by A.W.N. Pugin, 1846, further enhanced 1873), and St. Cuthbert's Chapel (A.W.N. Pugin 1844-48, rebuilt 1883-4 to designs by Dunn & Hansom incorporating Pugin's work).

We were very fortunate in that Dr. Roderick O'Donnell, a leading authority on the Pugin family and the architecture of the nineteenth-century Catholic Revival (and a devoted enthusiast for Ushaw) kindly accepted an invitation to talk to us about Ushaw College's significance in the resurgence of the Catholic faith in the nineteenth century and the Pugins' part in the development of its architectural expression. This was a lecture not to be missed!

Our afternoon tours included the 'standard' tour of the main parts of the building open to the public, a 'Hidden Ushaw' tour of parts not normally accessible and, perhaps best of all, a visit to the Library (now run by Durham University) which is not normally open to the public. By special arrangement, we were able to see a selection of the splendid architectural drawings produced by Ushaw's designers.

Booking form: for reference only.

next >>

<< previous