The Pemberton Building, also known as the Pemberton Rooms, was designed by W. D Caroe in the Tudor style and built in 1929. Caroe was an important figure of the Arts & Crafts Movement who established his own practise in 1884 – a firm that still exists today under the name of Caroe & Partners. Caroe was employed by numerous religious institutions, and his posts included being architect to Durham Cathedral. He was also a designer of furniture, metalware, embroidery and sculpture.
In addition to housing lecture rooms, the Pemberton Building is also home to the Durham Union Society. One of the oldest student debating societies in the world, the Union Society was in established in 1842 and soon acquired a reputation for controversy. In 1914, for example, it pushed for women to have the right to vote – 14 years before universal suffrage.