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Our History

Halifax College formally opened its doors as the 8th college at the University of York in Autumn 2003. However, we have been around since 1974 as individual courts, expanding to meet the needs of our members.

We are named after Edward Frederick Lindley Wood (1881-1959), the 1st Earl of Halifax and one of the founders of the York Civic Trust. The YCT was instrumental in the foundation of the University of York. Halifax was a politician and diplomat who served as Leader of the House of Lords and British Ambassador to the USA, among many roles.

Are you a former member of the College? Check out the York Global Alumni Association or our alumni page.

1974 to 1996: St Lawrence Court

St Lawrence Court opened in 1974 to house over 200 postgraduate students. St Lawrence was the first major accommodation block to have individual houses with kitchens in. This was a huge success with the postgraduates and, later, with the increasing number of international students attracted to the University.

1996 to 2001: Halifax Court

Halifax Court was opened in 1996 to accommodate the growing number of students at the University. The five new Courts (Ingram, Irvin, Lindley, Wood and Younger) housed nearly 500 students.

With so many students, Halifax Court developed its characteristic village-like feel, and the Halifax Court Junior Common Room Committee was formed to create social events for residents. In 1998, Halifax JCRC became the first committee of its kind to have a post for an overseas students’ officer, to accommodate the large number of international students.

2001 to 2003: The Birth of a College

Professor Mark Evans led the development of the new college. Building began for Ainsty and Hickleton Courts in 2001, along with a new central building to house the college offices, porters and a shop. Existing facilities were expanded and a computer room was opened in St Lawrence Court.

Today: Our Global Village

The college was opened on 23 November 2003 by then-Chancellor Dame Janet Baker. We have over 2500 members, including a couple of dozen student families housed along Garrowby Way.

Our students have formed an inclusive Students’ Association (HCSA) to provide social activities for Halifax College members. Although Halifax is now the largest and most diverse college in York, we have stayed true to our welcoming, friendly and homely dynamic. We are truly a global village in a world-class university.



Lord [Edward Frederik ]Halifax bei Göring in der Schorfheide. 20.11.37
Aktuelle-Bilder-Centrale, Georg Pahl (Bild 102). 
Image was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv).

Edward Fredrick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax.





Dame Janet Baker (c) EMI

Dame Janet Baker officially opened Halifax College in November 2003