A little history...
St Aidan’s College started in 1895 as a group of female students studying from home, as back then it was considered unsuitable for female students to live in University lodgings. It remained like this until the Second World War, after which, the former group of Home Students was reorganised, and it re-emerged as St Aidan’s Society in 1947. Originally located at 24 North Bailey (opposite the Cathedral) and Shincliffe Hall, Aidan’s was originally a college on the Bailey. The first Principal was Miss Ethleen Scott, although in the earlier days of Aidan’s history, a female member of staff had overseen the care of the Home Students with the intriguing title of “Censor”.
In 1961, St Aidan’s was reconstituted as a full College and just three years later, the students moved into the current buildings atop of Windmill Hill. These buildings were designed by Sir Basil Spence (architect of Coventry Cathedral). By this time, Miss Scott had been succeeded as Principal by Dame Enid Russell-Smith, who then handed over to Miss Irene Hindmarsh in 1970. It was during her period of office that Aidan’s became a mixed-gender college, admitting its first male students in 1981.
Today, St Aidan’s is led by the College Principal, Dr. Susan Frenk, who remains loyal to Aidan’s rich history. Now recognised for being one of Durham’s more modern and informal colleges, we have a fairly relaxed approach to the student experience. Our students make our college what it is and we actively encourage our students, both past and present, to give back, in whatever way they can, to the place which has helped to set them up for later life.