Historic college celebrates 80 years of agriculture

Principal Suzanne Duncan and chairman of governors David Butler cut the Houghall Campus cake.
Principal Suzanne Duncan and chairman of governors David Butler cut the Houghall Campus cake.
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A County Durham college has celebrated its 80th anniversary this weekend.

East Durham College's Houghall Campus celebrated the big birthday yesterday.

Current staff and students at East Durham College, Houghall Campus.

Current staff and students at East Durham College, Houghall Campus.

Staff and students of the college tucked into a special cake featuring the Houghall crest, which has been a part of Houghall since its very beginning.

Suzanne Duncan, principal of East Durham College, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating the amazing 80th year of our Houghall campus.

“I am extremely proud of all of our hardworking students and staff who continue to make Houghall an excellent place to learn and work. We’re very excited to see what the next 80 years bring to Houghall too.”

Founded as the Durham County School of Agriculture in 1938, Houghall has a long and storied history of delivering land-based education to thousands of people from across the North East and dales.

The Durham School of Agriculture was opened on Thursday, October 20, 1938 by William Shepherd Morrison, MP and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Over its 80 years, Houghall has greeted a few famous faces. In 1959, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan visited the college for a 40-minute tour. In 1966,

Houghall was also home to the Italian World Cup squad who stayed in Houghall’s accommodation block.

Houghall’s new facility was officially opened by royalty, as Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal opened the campus in January 2017.

In 1967-68, Houghall became the Durham Agriculture College, expanding the range of courses to include such things as experimental husbandry and

veterinary hygiene.

The college then changed its name once again to the Durham College of Agriculture and Horticulture in the 80s.

By the end of the 80s, the college had rebranded itself as Houghall College. In 1999, the college merged together with Peterlee College, forming East Durham and Houghall Community College.

In 2008/09, the college received its final name change – East Durham College, Houghall campus.

Students can now study many different subject areas, including agriculture, animal care, dog grooming, equine, floristry, foundation studies, horticulture, land-based short courses, tree surgery and veterinary nursing.