History of the University


Explore our timeline‌‌

Explore the key events, stories and personalities from the University's history in our interactive timeline.


Before the Second World War, Heslington was a quiet rural retreat with a local aristocracy, and a working village with around 12 farms.


Fresh, young, forward looking and enthusiastic, the University was known for its friendly atmosphere before it even opened its doors.


The 1970s was the decade in which college social life began to blossom.


The start of the 1980s was not promising, seeing the start of cuts across higher education and a fire in the Chemistry Department.


By the end of the 1990s, York was dominating national league tables for research and teaching. 


The new Millennium saw a sea-change in the way that Britain viewed higher education.

Oral history project

Oral history project

Hear from the people who have helped to shape the history of the University.