Folklore Student Accomodation

York was planned and built as a Collegiate University, with all colleges close together on the main campus. These are covered in their own document. There were also plans from the beginning for a substantial amount of accommodation around Heslington, some of which came to be built. In recent years many additional properties have been converted to student rooms under the Living Over The Shop scheme.

Individual Histories

More detailed reports are in the pipeline.

St Lawrence Court

St Lawrence consists of short terraces of houses, each with 10 study-bedrooms on three storeys. The houses are designed for self-catering, each having a large kitchen. There are 26 houses in all, labelled A-Z. St Lawrence was built after Eden's Court, at the start of the 70's.

At first students were mostly undergraduates with some postgraduates. Following the expansion of James College and it's change to an undergraduate intake, St Lawrence was promised exclusively to postgraduates, the transition starting in 1994. In practice, undergraduates still live there, due partly to lack of space elsewhere.

Unlike the old colleges, there is no 24-hour portering at St Lawrence, and there is no bar or canteen. The only central facilities are a common room and laundry.

The University is keen to let out houses to holiday-makers over the summer. (Your editor was there during summer 1996 and didn't see a single one let, but it could be argued that he keeps rather different hours to most holiday-makers.)

Eden's Court

Between St Lawrence Court and the campus. Self-catering accomodation in the form of 8 houses each with 10 single rooms for undergraduates.

Eden's Court was the first of the developments near Heslington, and was developed by the Design Unit, attatched to the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies. It was built at the start of the 70's.

Halifax Court

Due to be finished for the start of the 1996/7 academic year, but delayed by conflicts with local residents and contractors going bust. Halifax Court is now expected to open after Christmas 1996. It is built in the same style as the extensions of Alcuin, and Derwith.

Halifax Court will accomodate about 450 students, in houses of 10-12 students each, by the time it is finished. The plan is to phase construction over three years. Phase one should include a student shop, common room etc.


A group of houses on campus, next to IRISS and the Music Department. Houses 83 graduates, in a mix of single and double study-bedrooms. Kitchens are provided. The buildings date from 1968.

Bleachfield has a number of much-sought-after garages to rent.

There is also a traditional cast-iron red phone box at one end of the buildings.

Catherine House

An unremarkable building, housing 26 graduates in single rooms. Next to Garrow House, access from campus is either along Retreat Lane and sharp left, or cut through the Tuke Centre off University Road.

Constantine House

In York, handy for King's Manor and a listed building into the bargain. Constantine is home to 28 graduates, in single or double rooms.

One of the first buildings to be aquired by the University after it was founded in 1963.

The Hostel

Next to the Retreat (may have been part of it at one point?), and accomodating 20 students in 18 single rooms and a double.

Pete Fenelon reported that

In the early 90s it was largely inhabited by Computer Scientists doing the MSc in Information Processing (mainly overseas students). I lived there for about a month after re-joining the university to work in Computer Science in 1990 because a house I was planning on moving into fell through (in fact, I moved five times in six weeks -- three of those in one week). It was a strange place to live.

The (large) rooms were equipped with one five-amp round-pin plug (mine ended up with my stereo and a telly on it), and all in all gave the impression of not having changed since the 50s or 60s. They certainly hadn't been decorated for that length of time and the furniture was ancient. My room, I am told, overlooked the mortuary at the Retreat. I didn't open the curtains very often. As I was living there in September, one lot of MSc students had disappeared and the next lot hadn't yet arrived; I think I may have been the only inhabitant for a week or so. I certainly saw nobody in there for a long time. I know that my room was never entered by any cleaner during my tenancy.

I think it (like Garrow) may have been a nurse's home before the University got its hands on it. The Hostel had the most amazing baths -- you really could get a hot bath nice and quickly. But that, and its proximity to campus, were the only thing going for it.

On the whole it was a strange and slightly eerie place to live, especially when it was deserted.

Fairfax House

A large and impressive house, Fairfax stands on Heslington Road on the way towards the Barbican from campus. Not to be confused with the equally large and impressive Farfax House in the city centre, which is a museum now. 93 undergraduates have single rooms there, and get breakfast provided for them each morning.

During summer, Fairfax house is let as bed-and-breakfast accomodation by the University.

Garrow House

The `period mansion' (translation: big old house) of Garrow House has been converted into accomodation for 28 students, 26 in single rooms and the other two in a double. Facilities are quite good, and some of the rooms are huge.

The house was built in the early 19th century.

Has a darkroom.

Holgate's Hall

A large house in Holgate, with 39 single rooms, 5 double rooms and 2 flats. Reserved for undergraduates.


Not a building, but included here for completeness. The University run the Property Rental Scheme, whereby they act as agents and guarantors to private landlords who own houses in town. Over 100 houses are let in this way, with each house having 2-6 students in it.

Related pages:

* University city centre buildings
* The LOTS scheme
* History of the Colleges

* Folklore Index Page * Disclaimer
* S020 Home Page * Send us Mail