The Society

Durham Castle Society Committee

David Held (President) is Master of University College, Durham and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Durham University. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is author of more than 60 written or edited books and of an extensive number of academic articles on democracy, democratisation, globalisation, global governance and global policy – over a 25-year period. David also has far reaching administrative and management experience in both universities and the private sector. He is the founder and Director of Polity Press, the Durham Global Policy Institute and the Wiley-Blackwell flagship journal, Global Policy.

 John Hollier (Castle 1949-1951) was born in 1929 in York and was educated at Archbishop Holgate Grammar School there.   After military service in Austria he went up to Castle in 1949; graduating in 1951. He joined Turner and Newall and moved on to Unilever in 1957.  He worked for a number of subsidiary companies in personnel until he went as Personnel Director to  SSC&b Lintas International, which was sold to Interpublic, an American advertising company in 1982. Interpublic had worldwide responsibility for advertising a variety of products. John’s particular area of responsibility was Personnel and Pensions. In the sale of the Unilever company, the pension funds - some thirty of them around the world - were of crucial interest to the staff. As a result of this, John became the Pension Fund Chairman in addition to his other responsibilities. Subsequently this experience led to several similar roles after his retirement in 1987. John learnt a great deal about investment and the City. After retirement he spent ten years on the governing body of University College and was involved in founding the Trust with Albert Cartmell (Bursar), Edward Salthouse (Master) and Neville Pearson. Since the Trust’s formation, he has been Chairman of UCDT and is currently a Trustee.

Martin Gunson (Treasurer) (Castle 1973-1974 and 2007-2017) discovered he was Treasurer of the Durham Castle Society in April 1997. A keen amateur musician, he trained as a Chartered Accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co (now KPMG), subsequently working at two small practices local to his home on the Fylde Coast, and in 1994 set up his own practice in Lytham. Most recently, he has spent two years also working as a Policy Adviser at the Office of Tax Simplification, and was pleased that in Budget 2014, the Chancellor had incorporated some of his proposals.

Alex Nelson (Castellum Editor and Society Representative on College Council) (Castle 1980-1983) is the stationmaster at Chester-le-Street Railway Station. He has remained actively involved with Castle as the Editor of Castellum, and the Trust and Society's Representative on College Council. Alex is also an active member of the Senior Common Room at Castle.


John Morrissey (Secretary) (Castle 1964-1967) has been Secretary to DCS since 2011. He qualified as a solicitor in 1970, spent 11 years in private practice, moved to the oil industry for 21 years, to the gas industry for 1 year and has been working in the security industry since 2002.

Nick Mercer (Membership Secretary) (Castle 1973-1976) has been membership secretary of the Society since 1997.  He has also been a trustee for the Trust. Nick read English at Castle on an army cadetship and was Senior Man in 1975/6, presiding over a rent strike in his last term to stop the college reducing the “all found “ basis of college fees. Nick spent 20+ years in the army with a variety of operational and MOD jobs, the last as the army’s “Ombudsman”. On leaving the army, Nick became the manager of a small Hertfordshire firm of solicitors and grew it 8 fold to be a top 100 UK firm. Nick now manages a software company that provides systems to run learning support for students over 16 who have additional learning difficulties. He lives near Hampton Court. Nick’s father was at Castle from 1942-49 and also Senior Man in 1943.

Chris Morrison (Castle 1968-1971) joined the committee in 2013, having attended many annual reunions since leaving Durham. After obtaining a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Freie Universität, Berlin in 1974, he held permanent academic teaching and research posts in the medical faculties of both Bristol and Manchester Universities. After deserting the UK for Switzerland in 1987, he worked in pharmaceutical R&D for 22 years before taking early retirement in 2009 in order to devote more time to running his own electronics workshop in Basel dedicated to the renovation of vintage valve radios and to do a lot more skiing! He became a Swiss citizen in 2000.

Kate Carter (Castle, 2012-2015) has been a member of the DCS Committee since 2013. She was President of Castle MCR from 2013-2014. Her background is in Soft Matter Physics; having completed an integrated Masters' degree in Theoretical Physics at the University of Leeds, she moved to Durham in 2012 to undertake an ERC-funded PhD researching the Rheology of Complex Fluids. 

Gregory Carter (Castle 2006-2009; Present) has been a member of the DCS Committee since 2012. He was the President of Castle MCR from 2010-2012, and served on the University Senate (2011-2013), amongst other bodies. His background is in psychology, having completed Bachelor and Masters' degrees in the subject. He is currently finalising his PhD, on the Dark Triad of Personality (Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy), and his published work can be found in academic journals, or requested via ResearchGate. This year, in addition to completing his PhD, he is marrying Katherine Howarth, a fellow PhD student at Castle, and DCS Committee member. 

Kevin Hawes (Castle 1977-1980) was Secretary to the Durham Castle Society and the Trust from 1997 to 2005.  He spent 20 years with IBM in a variety of commercial, technical, professional, consulting and management roles working with major clients in Financial Services, Banking, Retail, Insurance, Technology and Industrial sectors. In 2005 he made a career change, purchasing a run-down Sussex farm and transforming it into a successful livestock enterprise.  He is now a full time farmer and continues to support Castle on the Durham Castle Society Committee and as a Trustee.

James Rowley (Castle 1994-1997) is currently serving his fourth spell as a Durham Castle Society Committee member. After graduating with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in Politics, James has spent fifteen years in investment banking, based in London. The majority of this time has been spent at Credit Suisse where he has had various roles within the Corporate Bank. These have included being a credit analyst covering retail and utility companies, the COO of the Corporate Bank in Europe and most recently in loan portfolio management focussing on trading credit default swaps to hedge loan exposure.  James has also been a Trustee of the University College Durham Trust since 2010.

Eric Forman (Castle 1950-53) joined the committee in 2012, having entered the College as one of the last beneficiaries of an ex-service grant, at a time when wartime food rationing persisted, in order to read for Honours in Politics and Economics. He joined British Railways as a traffic apprentice, a survival of a management training scheme conceived by the former LNER company. Subsequent appointments in Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, York, Birmingham, Leicester and Glasgow culminated in a final spell at BRHQ in London. A particularly rewarding experience outside work and in retirement was with the Tunbridge Wells branch of the Samaritans between 1972 and 2008.

Richard Ellery (Castle 1964-1967) read Geography and survived two years at Abbey House. Totally lacking in any defined ambition, became a schoolmaster in London, his home area. Taught for about 15 years, thereafter worked in schools until blessed early release in 2002. He married, had two children, and has been enjoying life since retirement, cooking, gardening, watching sports and corresponding with old Castle friends. Richaed has attended very many Reunion dinners since his first as JCR Castle Society Rep in 1965.

Honorary Vice-Presidents



Dr D.W. McDowall
Master, 1973-1978

Dr Edward Salthouse
Master, 1979-1996

Prof. Maurice Tucker
Master, 1997-2011

Durham Castle Society

Durham University