University of Hull

This article is about the British university. For the university in Hull, Quebec, see Université du Québec en Outaouais.
The University of Hull
Motto Lampada Ferens (Latin)
Motto in English
Bearing the Torch [of learning]
Type Public
Established 1954 – University Status
1927 – University College Hull
Endowment £ 12.5 million (2013)[1]
Chancellor Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone
Vice-Chancellor Calie Pistorius
Visitor The Lord President of the Council ex officio
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 17,010 (2014/15)[3]
Undergraduates 13,395 (2014/15)[3]
Postgraduates 3,615 (2014/15)[3]
Location Kingston upon Hull
53°46′13″N 0°22′02″W / 53.770263°N 0.367141°W / 53.770263; -0.367141 (Hull campus of University of Hull)Coordinates: 53°46′13″N 0°22′02″W / 53.770263°N 0.367141°W / 53.770263; -0.367141 (Hull campus of University of Hull)
and Scarborough Campus
54°15′52″N 0°23′47″W / 54.264430°N 0.39650°W / 54.264430; -0.39650 (Scarborough campus of University of Hull)
, England
Campus Urban area

Scarf colours, blue and gold


Academic silk colour Turquoise blue[4]     

Affiliations Global U8 (GU8), Utrecht Network

The University of Hull is a public university, founded in 1927,[5] located in Kingston upon Hull, a city in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The main university campus is located in Hull and there was a smaller campus in Scarborough on the North Yorkshire coast. The main campus is home to the Hull York Medical School, a joint initiative with the University of York. Students are served by Hull University Union.

The University's Brynmor Jones Library was the workplace of the poet Philip Larkin who served as its Head Librarian for over thirty years. The Philip Larkin Society organises activities in remembrance of Larkin including the Larkin 25 festival which was organised during 2010 in partnership with the University. Andrew Motion, another prominent poet, and former poet laureate, also worked at the university. Lord Wilberforce was chancellor of the University from 1978 until 1994. Robert Armstrong was the chancellor from 1994 to 2006. Virginia Bottomley was installed as the current chancellor in April 2006.

Alumni of the University of Hull are especially prominent in the fields of politics, academia, journalism and drama. They include former MP and later Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott (John Prescott), former MP and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Lord Hattersley (Roy Hattersley) and current deputy leader Tom Watson, politician and author Chris Mullin, social scientist Lord Giddens (Anthony Giddens), poet Roger McGough, journalist John McCarthy and film director, playwright and screenwriter the late Anthony Minghella.


University College

Thomas Ferens, the major benefactor financing the foundation of the University College of Hull
The Venn Building
"Moving Matter" by Joseph Hillier

The foundation stone of University College Hull, then an external college of the University of London, was laid in 1927 by Prince Albert, the Duke of York (who later became king as George VI). The college was built on land donated by Hull City Council and by two local benefactors, Thomas Ferens and G F Grant. A year later the first 14 departments, in pure sciences and the arts, opened with 39 students. The college at that time consisted of one building, now named the Venn building (after the mathematician John Venn, who was born in Hull). The building now houses the administrative centre of the university. Other early buildings include the Cohen Building, which originally housed the college library, and Staff House, built in 1948 as the Student's Union. Another early structure was the Chemistry Building, built in 1953. With the rapid expansion of student numbers which took place in the 1950s many many academic departments were housed in temporary buildings, colloquially known as 'huts,' which gave the campus the feel of an 'academic army camp.'[6]

Though many of the buildings on Hull's campus are of red brick it is not a redbrick university in the strictest sense of the term, as it was not founded as part of the civic university movement of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.[7] Hull, with its origins in the 1920s, has been categorised as a 'younger civic university' (also referred to as a "Whitetile university") and it is placed between the 'redbricks' and the 'plateglass universities' founded in the 1960s.[8] The university's expansion in recent decades has seen the addition of a variety of building styles: from the traditional older buildings, through 1960s teaching blocks, to modern additions.

The first principal of the college was Arthur E. Morgan (1926–1935), the second was John H Nicholson (1935–1956), who also served as the university's first vice-chancellor when the college was granted university status.

Coat of Arms

The university coat of arms was designed by Sir Algernon Tudor-Craig in 1928. The symbols are the torch for learning, the rose for Yorkshire, the ducal coronet from the arms of the City of Hull, the fleur-de-lys for Lincolnshire and the dove, symbolising peace, from the arms of Thomas Ferens. These symbols were later reused to create the current university logo. The motto, Lampada Ferens (Bearing the Torch), incorporates the name of the university's founding father within a Latin pun.[9]

Royal Charter

The college gained its Royal Charter in 1954, which empowered it to award degrees of its own, making it the third university in Yorkshire and the 14th in England. Within a year of the charter being granted applications to study at the new university had doubled, and in 1956 student numbers topped 1,000 for the first time.

The Mace

The academic authority and autonomy of the university is symbolically embodied in the ceremonial mace. Made of gilt silver, and incorporating devices from the Hull University coat of arms, the mace was presented to the university in December 1956 by the Lord Mayor of Hull. As a gift from the city it also reflects the close relationship between "town and gown" existing in Hull. The mace is carried in procession and displayed at all major university ceremonies.[9]

Expansion in the 1950s and 1960s

Brynmor Jones Library

The Brynmor Jones Library, which houses more than a million volumes, was constructed in two phases: the first phase was fully completed in 1959, with a tower block extension officially opened in 1970. During the 1950s and 1960s a considerable number of academic buildings were built, including the Larkin and Wilberforce Buildings (originally given other names). The 'Martin Plan' of 1967, Sir Leslie Martin was the university architect, envisaged a campus with its tallest buildings in the centre surrounded by buildings diminishing in height towards the perimeter. In the course of the 1960s most of the departments housed in temporary structures were moved into new purpose-built premises. However, Biochemistry was still partially located in a 'hut' to the rear of the Venn building into the early 1980s.[6] This early phase of expansion through building ended in 1974, after this year there was to be no further academic building construction on the campus until 1996. However, student numbers doubled in this period, with the university becoming highly efficient in using its existing building stock.[10]

Liquid crystal technology

In 1972 George Gray and Ken Harrison created room-temperature stable liquid crystals in the university chemistry laboratories, which were an immediate success in the electronics industry and consumer products. This led to Hull becoming the first university to be awarded the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement for the joint-development of the long-lasting materials that made liquid crystal displays possible.[10][11]

Expansion in the 21st century

In 2000 the university bought the site of University College Scarborough on Filey Road, Scarborough, plus two linked buildings on the same road. This became the University of Hull Scarborough Campus.

A further significant expansion took place in 2003, when the buildings of the University of Lincoln campus, which were situated immediately adjacent to Hull University's main campus, were purchased. The acquisition increased the size of the Cottingham Road campus by more than a third. It was the largest single act of expansion in the history of the university. Hull University fully occupied the newly acquired premises in the 2005 academic year; the area becoming the university's West Campus. The site now houses the Hull York Medical School and the relocated business school, which is located in three of the most prominent buildings – Wharfe, Derwent and Esk.[10]

In 2012, the University began the ambitious refurbishment of the Brynmor Jones Library, a £27 million project which will transform the 7 storey former workplace of Philip Larkin, into a learning hub suitable for students for years to come. The project is due for completion in the summer of 2014.[10]

Hull History Centre

The Hull History Centre, which opened in 2010, is located in a new building on Worship Street in Hull city centre. It unites the holdings of Hull City Library's Local Studies collections and Hull University's archives and is run in partnership between the City Library and University Library.


The main campus is located in a residential district of North Hull on Cottingham Road. The University has a smaller campus in Scarborough on the North Yorkshire coast.

Main Campus (Hull)

Hull University is a campus university; though situated in a city, its main campus is in a suburban rather than urban district. The main campus occupies a single, clearly defined site and is self-contained in regard to catering and entertainment for students and staff. Most of the major features of the campus are described in the 'history' section above; in addition, the campus has a large Students' Union building, which is often described as one of the finest in the country, and extensive playing fields and other sports facilities. The large village of Cottingham on Hull's north-western outskirts houses most of the university-owned student accommodation.

University College Scarborough

University College Scarborough

University of Hull: Scarborough Campus, formerly the University College Scarborough, is a satellite campus of the university located in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, attended by approximately 2,000 students. Formerly a higher education institution offering BSc and BA degrees, the building was acquired by the University of Hull in 2000, offering Education courses, particularly at a primary level, as well as courses in Marine Biology, Digital Media, Music Technology Theatre Studies, Tourism Management, and a number of Business and English courses.

Scarborough ran somewhat independently of the main campus in Hull, with its own branch of the Hull University Union. Being much smaller than the main campus, there were approximately 2,000 students attending courses at Scarborough per academic year, with graduation ceremonies taking place within Scarborough's historic Spa Complex. It was home to the Keith Donaldson Library, and Calvino's cafe and bar, which was refurbished in 2007, and reopened by The Bar Wizards of Britain's Got Talent fame. The campus also contained basic amenities for study, such as computer labs,performance studios for students of Theatre and Dance related courses as well as dedicated music suites in the "Filey Road Studios" building opposite the campus.

In April 2014, the University released a statement that Scarborough Campus was "not sustainable in the medium to long term", and in June held a public consultation outlining the future of the campus with a new academic model in mind. In March 2015, it was revealed that the Hull College Group were the University's "preferred partners for taking forward the Scarborough Campus". The college returned to its former name, "University College Scarborough" and became art of the Hull College group, but still hosts programmes from both Hull College and the University of Hull.[12]

History of the Scarborough facilities, prior to their acquisition by the university

The university building started out as Orleton Boys' School and included facilities such as a swimming pool and a gym. The main building also contained dormitories for the boys. "Cayley Halls", named after the aeronautical engineer Sir George Cayley, was built when demand for office space meant that students could no longer reside within the main building, and continues its use at present for the students of the university.

In 1947, the building became the North Riding College, used for teacher training. However, a downturn in numbers of trainee teachers in the early 1990s led to an expansion into undergraduate degrees, and the college became known as University College Scarborough, offering BSc and BA degree-level courses in an effort to avert closure.

Academic profile

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Lecture theatres attached to the Applied Sciences Building

Until recently, there were two faculties, the 'Faculty of Applied Science & Technology' and the 'Faculty of Science & the Environment', before becoming the 'Faculty of Science' and later being renamed to the 'Faculty of Science and Engineering'.

Notable centres for research include the Hull Immersive Visualisation Environment[13] (HIVE), the Institute for Estuarine and Coastal Studies[14] (IECS), the E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics (MCA)[15] and the G W Gray[16] Centre for Advanced Materials. The Chemistry department is noted for its research record, and the Computer Science department is noted for its Computer Science and Video Game development degrees.

A new biomedical research facility will bring academics from biology and chemistry together and will include Positron Emission Tomography with CT scanning (PET-CT) and two mini cyclotrons. Two new research groups will be based at the facility, called the Allam building: one focusing on cardiovascular and metabolic research and the other on cancer.

Arts and Social Sciences

Wilberforce Building – entrance

Most social science and law-related department housed in the refurbished Wilberforce Building. Includes the School of Arts and New Media at Scarborough, formed in August 2006. Drama is taught in the Gulbenkian Centre, including the Donald Roy Theatre. History, English, Languages and Music are in the Larkin Building.

Health and Social Care

Based in the Calder, Aire and Dearne buildings in the west campus (former campus of universities of Humberside, then finally Lincoln). The Leven building contains mock clinical areas, wards, an operating theatre and a midwifery suite, within a simulated environment.

The FHSC is running a new degree programme, BSc Global Health and Disease (International Health, Development and Humanitarian Relief).[21]

Faculty of Education

Hull York Medical School

Loxley Building, Hull York Medical School.

Teaching of medicine began in October 2003 on the west campus. Medical students receive joint degrees from the universities of Hull and York. The school includes the 'International Society for the Study of Cough' based at Castle Hill hospital on Castle Road in Cottingham. Third and fourth year students train also at hospitals in Scunthorpe, Grimsby, and Scarborough.

Postgraduate Medical Institute

Established in 1994, one of the PGMI's sections is the Yorkshire Cancer Research-funded Centre for Magnetic Resonance Investigations which, under the directorship of Lindsay W. Turnbull, is actively engaged in researching the application of magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques to cancer research.

Hull University Business School

The Esk Building – part of the Business School

Established in August 1999, Hull University Business School has around 3,500 students from over 100 countries. Students are taught at the Hull and Scarborough campuses, with additional MBA students taught overseas. On the Hull campus, the school occupies refurbished listed buildings on the West Campus which were opened in 2005. The Logistics Institute was completed in September 2007, and officially launched in March 2008.[26]

In 2011, following accreditation by the AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB, the Business School became the first in Yorkshire, and the 13th in the UK, to achieve "triple crown accreditation" status.[27]

Wilberforce Institute

The Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) is located in Oriel Chambers on the High Street in Hull's Old Town, adjacent to Wilberforce House. It undertakes graduate research in the field of slavery and human rights and offers an MA in Slavery Studies. WISE draws upon the university's academic expertise in history, law, social sciences and English. The institute's patron is Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Maritime Historical Studies Centre

The University's Maritime Historical Studies Centre provides a BA in History and Maritime History, an online Diploma in Maritime History and PhD research in maritime history. The Centre is located in the Hull's Old Town in Blaydes House.

(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[33]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[34]
(2017, national)


National rankings are summarised in the adjacent box.

Student life

Students' Union

Hull University Union
Main article: Hull University Union

Hull University Union is the main provider of student catering, services and entertainment on the university campus. It has over 100 student societies affiliated to it, and also runs a volunteering and charity hub. Approximately 50 sports clubs are affiliated to the Students Union's Athletic Union, many of which compete in BUCS national university leagues. The University Union was voted Students' Union of the Year in July 2012.[35]

The student union building comprises an on-site nightclub as well as a number of bars and catering outlets. The building also houses a shop, a Waterstones book shop, advice centre, and the university-run careers service.

There is a monthly student newspaper called The Hullfire, an online television station called Hullfire TV and a student radio station which broadcasts from the union building called Hullfire Radio.

Student accommodation

The University of Hull's main student accommodation complex is The Lawns in the nearby village of Cottingham. It accommodates nearly 1,000 students across seven halls of residence: Ferens, Lambert, Nicholson, Morgan, Downs, Reckitt and Grant.[36] Students from six of the halls rely on the communal Lawns Centre as a catering and social hub. Ferens Hall was built during the Second World War as a barracks for the US Air Force whilst the other six halls were purpose-built between 1963 and 1967.

Thwaite Hall is a traditional hall of residence also in Cottingham set in an 18th Century country house surrounded by its own parkland and lake. It has 187 rooms.[37] The university's other accommodation in Cottingham is Needler Hall, also an 18th Century country house. It has 167 rooms.[38]

There is on-campus accommodation at the Taylor Court flats, which comprise 288 self-contained, single study-bedrooms. Student housing is based primarily in the terraced streets around the university campus itself, as well as around the Newland Avenue and Beverley Road areas of the city.


Sports Centre

Hull University Rugby League

Competing in BUCS Northern Premier, the highest level of Student Rugby League in the country, Hull University Rugby League (HURL) are one of the University's most successful teams, and the only team representing the University of Hull at a national level, ranking 3rd best in England. In affiliation with Super League club, Hull FC, HURL are coached at Level 3 standard, resulting in their prominence in the BUCS Championships in recent years. HURL enter the Challenge Cup in Round One, only two rounds prior to the entry of Super League clubs.

Hull Ice Hogs

The Hull Ice Hogs are a British ice hockey team that play in the Second Division North of the British Universities Ice Hockey Association. The team plays its home games at the Hull Ice Arena.

Hull University Swimming Club

The Swimming Club competes regularly in BUCS. The club trains at the historic Beverley Road Baths, though they are campaigning for swimming facilities to be built on campus.

Notable academics

Notable alumni


  1. "University of Hull Statement of Accounts 2012/13" (PDF). Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Higher Education Statistics Agency – Home". HESA. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 "2014/15 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  4. "Academic Dress: Gowns, Robes, Hoods and Caps – University of Hull". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  5. "University History webpage from University of Hull website
  6. 1 2 "The history of our buildings – University of Hull". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  7. "The Independent newspaper, A-Z of universities, 3rd para". London: 13 August 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  8. Beloff, Michael (1970) The Plateglass Universities, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, p. 19.
  9. 1 2 ""The Mace – a potent symbol of authority", University of Hull Alumni Site". Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  10. 1 2 3 4 "History – University of Hull". 27 June 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  11. "You are being redirected". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  12. . University of Hull Retrieved 20 September 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. "HIVE – University of Hull". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  14. "You are being redirected". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  15. "E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, University of Hull | University of Hull". Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  16. "Professor George William Gray". Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  18. "Welcome to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences -The University of Hull". Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  20. "Departments – University of Hull". 26 February 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  21. "Global health and disease". University of Hull. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  22. "Centre for Educational Studies – University of Hull". 4 November 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  23. "IFL". 13 August 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  24. "PGMI – University of Hull". Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  25. "The University of Hull – Hull University Business School". Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  26. "Logistics Institute Launch". Hull regeneration. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  27. "International honours for Hull University Business School". Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  28. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17 - United Kingdom". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  29. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  30. "World University Rankings 2016-17 - United Kingdom". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  31. "World University Rankings 2016-17". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  32. "University League Table 2017". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  33. "University league tables 2017". The Guardian. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  34. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2017". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  35. "Hull Students' Union is best in the country! – University of Hull". 7 January 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  36. "The Lawns, University of Hull Accommodation". University of Hull. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  37. "Thwaite Hall, University of Hull Accommodation". University of Hull. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  38. "Needler Hall, University of Hull Accommodation". University of Hull. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  39. "100 UK university discoveries". The Guardian. London. 5 July 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  40. Vinson, G.P. and Tait, J.F. John Guest Phillips. 13 June 1933 – 14 March 1987, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 34 (December 1988), pp. 610–637
  41. "Death of Monika Kinley, advocate of Outsider Art". AMA. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  42. Butler-Sloss, Baroness Elizabeth. "Levy, Allan". Dictionary of National Biography. OUP. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
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