The City of Durham

Cathedral West End

Durham is a beautiful and historic city in the North-East of England. It is positioned about 18 miles south of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It has excellent transport links by road, rail and air, see the travel section for full details. Bill Bryson, in his book "Notes from a Small Island", said of Durham "Why, it's a perfect little city. If you have never been to Durham, go there at once. Take my car. It's wonderful". That quote has obviously served him well as he has since received an honorary doctorate and recently been made Chancellor of the university.

The castle, located in the central and oldest part of the city, the peninsula, faces across the lawned expanse of Palace Green to Durham Cathedral, which recently celebrated its millennium and was voted Britain's favourite building in 2001. Together, these two historic buildings comprise a World Heritage site. The City is dominated by views of the Norman cathedral from nearly all directions and it looks particularly spectacular when floodlit at night. If you have the time it is worth joining an organised tour of the cathedral and castle.

The city is significant in the history of the north of England, being the traditional seat of the Palatinate Bishops, bishops who had all the powers of a prince, enabling the unruly north to be kept under control while far from London.

This unique position of the Bishop of Durham indirectly led to the creation of the University of Durham, the third oldest university in England, when the bishop of the time donated his residence in Durham, Durham Castle, to provide accommodation for students in the city.

Durham is, in many ways, still dominated by the university during term time. A small city, its character is transformed during term time to a lively and relaxed location. The high percentage of students ensures an attractive and engaging mix of local pubs, bars and bistros.

Durham University

Durham is the third oldest university in England. It was begun in 1832, it was based around the castle which to this day still forms the basis of one of the colleges. Today the university is spread across the city but there are considered to be two distinct areas, the old "Bailey" colleges and the modern "Hill" colleges.

The Conference Venue

Durham Cathedral Sanctuary Knocker

The conference will be held in the Chemistry/Geology section building on the university's Science Site which is on the corner of Stockton Road and South Road. The location of the conference is near point 15, on this map of Durham University. The conference accommodation will be in Collingwood College (point 6 on the map), see the accommodation section for more details. The main entrance to the building is through the red-coloured greenhouse structure on the entrance road from Stockton Road, near the barriers.

The conference lecture theatres are sited around a coffee shop where there is plenty of space to sit and chat between talks. There will also be a number of commercial stands and the usual O'Reilly book stall to browse.

Wireless internet access should be available in the conference venue. There will be guest access to the university computer rooms available on request.

Note that parking on the Science Site is for permit holders only. Cars should be parked at the college from where it is a short walk to the conference venue.

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