TO COMPLETE our commemoration of Ushaw College's 450 years, our archive selection of pictures today features scenes from the college past and present.

The cutting below is from The Northern Echo of September 3, 1951, when 40,000 Catholics from across the north descended in "1,000 coaches, in hundreds of cars, by bicycle and on foot" to commemorate the 1,300th anniversary of the death of St Aidan, the first Bishop of Lindisfarne who, the Echo said, had "Christianised the North".

The Northern Echo:

"The ceremony provided a spectacle of colour and pageantry which will long remain vivid in the memory of those who worshipped," the paper said. "A vast arena, bounded on one side by the buildings of Ushaw College and on the other by the woods and hills of Durham, had been converted into an open air church to hold a congregation which would have filled several cathedrals.

"Dominating the scene was a dais on which the high altar and choir stalls had been erected. The golden candlesticks on the altar could be seen glinting in the sun under a cream canopy fronted with a golden cross."

The air was full of incense and the singing of the 170-strong choir of students, and the procession was full of friars, priests, monks, canons, monseigneuri, bishops, archbishops and "Redemporist Fathers". Cardinal Bernard Griffin, Archbishop of Westminster and head of the church in England, was present, as the Echo's front page picture shows, and a special message from the Pope was read in which he expressed his "cordial felicitations on this happy occasion".

After mass, many pilgrims picnicked in the grounds, but 20,000 teas and ice creams were served and 200 gallons of tea was dispensed. And then those 1,000 buses wound their way back down through Bearpark – thankfully, today's ceremony commemorating 450 years is not going to be so lavish.

MODERN photography by Jonathan Clegg