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Ghost town Spooks, hauntings and tall tales - the University Offices ...

The magazine for The sTaff of The UniversiTy of Cambridge november/deCember 2009

Ghost town

Spooks, hauntings

and tall tales

Oral literatures

preserved

page 6

Porters reveal

strangest requests

page 15


SnaPShOt

good enough to eat: One of the more

unusual gifts to mark the University’s

800th anniversary was presented to Vice-

Chancellor Professor Alison Richard at a

reception at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

A large-scale sculpture of the building

was created by award-winning pastry

chef Thomas Lui as the centrepiece

of a gala dinner held in Hong Kong

last month. It was then flown over to

Cambridge. What was unusual about the

sculpture? It was made entirely of white

chocolate.

Wheel good fun: Three teams of staff

rode from Oxford to Cambridge in

September in support of three different

charities and the University’s 800th

anniversary. The sixth annual Oxford to

Cambridge bike ride was organised by

the British Heart Foundation. Each staff

team covered the 89 miles on University

Messenger Bicycles. The teams rode in

support of three charities: the British

Heart Foundation, Talk to Stars and

Camfed, the University’s Charity of

the Year.

Tomorrow’s world: More than 60

innovations went on show at the Open

House Festival of Interactive Technology

in September. The festival was organised

by the University and Microsoft Research

Cambridge to mark the University’s

800th anniversary. It offered a preview of

interactive displays, games and computer

technologies, among them this ‘wearable

impairment simulator’, which helps

designers understand how capability

loss affects people’s ability to perform

everyday activities.

Choir auditions: Do you or your friends

have a musically talented six or sevenyear-old

son? If so the King’s Choir would

like to hear from you. The college is

recruiting new choristers, with auditions

set for 16 January 2010. Successful boys

will be educated at King’s College School

and will receive a musical training of the

highest order. Fees are subsidised and a

range of financial support is available.

To register an interest email choir@kings.

cam.ac.uk.

2 | november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER

PHILIP MYNOTT

cOntentS

Cover Take a walk on

the dark side with our

round-up of the spookiest

Cambridge ghost stories.

Turn to page 8.

3-4 What’s new

5 Tribute

Professor Sir David Williams remembered

6-7 making a difference

The fight to preserve oral literatures

8-10 inside the colleges

11 Know your University

A brief guide to the Whipple Museum of

the History of Science

12 People

13 Prizes, awards and honours

14 advertisements

15 behind the scenes

Unusual requests put to porters

16 back page

newSletter

The Newsletter is published for the staff of the

University of Cambridge and is produced by the

Office of External Affairs and Communications.

Please send in ideas for the content and other

ways we can improve the publication.

Tel: (3)32300 or email newsletter@admin.cam.ac.uk.

Suggestions for articles for the February/March

edition should reach the Editor by 4 December.

Editor: Andrew Aldridge

Advertising: Nick Saffell

Design: Creative Warehouse

Printers: Labute Printers

Ghost town

Spooks, hauntings

and tall tales

newSletter Online

www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/newsletter

The magazine for The sTaff of The UniversiTy of Cambridge november/deCember 2009

Oral literatures Porters reveal

preserved strangest requests

page 6

page 15

COVER IMAgE: ISSAM KOURBAJ


MARIE SADLER

what’S new

Your comments and contributions are always welcome.

Please send them to the Editor at newsletter@admin.cam.ac.uk

The deadline for the next issue is 4 december.

Sainsbury laboratory passes milestone

AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE in the

creation of a new world-class research

facility was marked last month with a

topping out ceremony.

The Sainsbury Laboratory, set to

house 120 scientists studying plant

development, is a £92 million facility

currently under construction. The

topping out ceremony traditionally

marks the completion of the outer

structure of a new building.

Nearly 100 guests gathered at the

site to hear speeches from Roy Murphy,

Managing Director of main contractor

Kier, Professor Ian Leslie, Pro-Vice-

Chancellor for Research, Professor

John Parker, Director of the Botanic

garden, where the building is sited,

and Lord Sainsbury, whose gatsby

Charitable Foundation has provided

£82 million towards the cost, the largest

single gift received by the University

since the launch of the 800th

Anniversary Campaign.

“This is one of the most exciting

projects with which my charitable

foundation has been involved,”

Lord Sainsbury said.

“It combines an inspirational research

programme, an historic site and a

beautiful laboratory designed by Stanton

Williams, and it will become a centre of

excellence in plant science.”

Winter wonderland: places are now open for the 2010 Artic Dog Sledge

Challenge, a 200km journey through the wilds of northern Norway. The trip, from

1 to 7 March, is organised by the Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI),

and will see participants make their way over frozen lakes, through Artic forests

and across icy wastes. For more information, telephone Challenge

Coordinator Cathy Cooper on (01223) 336540 or visit the SPRI website at

www.spri.cam.ac.uk.

NIgEL LUCKHURST

Professor John Parker

speaking at the Sainsbury

Laboratory topping out

ceremony (left), while an

artist’s impression (right)

shows the building as it

will appear when finished

Professor Parker said: “The garden looks

forward to maintaining its long tradition of

the study of plant diversity in the most up

to date way with this wonderful building.

The laboratory will be dedicated to the

advancement of curiosity-driven research

on plants.”

The building is due for completion

in late 2010.

tuscany tour hits

the right notes

CAMBRIDgE UNIVERSITY Musical Society

continued the 800th anniversary

celebrations with a highly successful tour

of Tuscany in August.

This ambitious undertaking took

the chorus and CUMS I orchestra, 130

performers in all, to venues in Florence

and the surrounding area. They

performed under the batons of their

Principal Conductor Stephen Cleobury

and recent Cambridge graduates Mark

Austin and Joseph Fort.

Highlights included a performance

of Dvorak’s New World Symphony in

the shadow of Siena Cathedral and a

triumphant rendition of Beethoven’s

Ninth Symphony in the magnificent

surroundings of the Salone dei

Cinquecento in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.

Founded in 1843, CUMS is one of the

oldest and most distinguished university

music societies in the world.

➔ For more information about the

society, log on to www.cums.org.uk.

november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER | 3


cOlleGe newS

churchill honours its founder 50 years on

CHURCHILL BEgAN its 50th anniversary

celebrations on 17 October when Lady

Soames, daughter of Sir Winston, planted

a tree to commemorate the founding of

the college.

The ceremony echoed the actions of

her father who, 50 years ago to the day,

had made his one and only visit to the

site that the college was founded on,

planting a mulberry tree in what is now

East Court.

After the tree-planting, Lady Soames

was joined by the Master Sir David

Wallace and his wife Elizabeth for drinks.

Churchill was founded in 1960 as a

national and Commonwealth memorial

to the former British Prime Minister. Over

its comparitively short history, the college

has seen 24 of its members go on to win

Nobel Prizes.

The college is using its anniversary

year to launch a fundraising campaign

to build new accommodation for 60

christ’s hopes

to splash out

ONE OF COLLEgIATE Cambridge’s

hidden gems – the Fellows’ bathing pool

at Christ’s – could be restored to full

working order if a fundraising campaign

proves successful.

The college is looking to raise

approximately £50,000 to cover the

costs of renovating the baths, which are

believed to have been built some time

during the 17th century.

If you are interested in finding out

more, email Christ’s Development

Director Catherine Twilley on cmt23@

cam.ac.uk. We would also like to hear from

anyone who has any information about

the pool. Please email Newsletter Editor

Andrew Aldridge on aja43@cam.ac.uk.

students. Called New Court, construction

is scheduled to start in 2011.

This academic year will also see a

range of events to celebrate its founding,

including an official appeal launch party

at the Churchill Museum and War Rooms

4 | november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER

newnham does it for queen and college

CLOTH CAPS, swing-boats and elaborate

moustaches were the order of the day

as Newnham enjoyed its first Victorian

Family Day in September.

The event, which encouraged

alumnae to show their families where

they studied, saw more than 500 people

enjoy a range of activities from the era.

Held in Newnham’s grounds, it also

proved quite a spectacle as college

members, alumnae and their families and

friends took up the invitation to come in

Victorian-themed fancy dress.

There were also crafts and

games from the era, and pennyfarthings

were ridden up and

down by members of the March

Veteran and Vintage Cycle Club.

Further attractions

included a Victorian Punch

and Judy show courtesy of the

Cambridge Folk Museum, and

an opportunity to get to grips

with 19th-century schooling

under the stern eye of a Victorian

schoolmaster supplied by Cambridge

Lady Soames plants a tree

to honour the founding of

Churchill, above right,

50 years after her father

Sir Winston did the same

in London, a series of Churchill Scientists

Lectures and a fundraising ball on

10 July 2010.

For more information on these and

the 50th anniversary log on to www.chu.

cam.ac.uk/alumni/development.

Assessment. Meanwhile the Whipple

Museum provided zoetropes (cylindrical

mechanical toys through which moving

figures can be viewed) that were

operated on the day by someone looking

suspiciously like Queen Victoria.

Alumnae who returned said how

much they appreciated being able to

come with their children. Many had been

unable to attend previous events because

of the difficulty in organising childcare.

Kathryn Rodgers, who read Modern

Languages at the college in 1984, and

who volunteered to run the Victorian

skipping stall, said: “The old-fashioned

cycles really made the whole thing feel

authentic, and the enthusiasm was

infectious.”

Penny Hubbard, Development

Director at Newnham, said she had

received many thank-yous. “It is clear that

this unusual event really struck a chord,

reaching out to many who had not been

back to Newnham for some time, and

enabling those with small people in tow

to enjoy meeting other Newnhamites.”


Professor Sir David williams (1930-2009)

Professor Sir David Williams: “A great scholar and leader”

academics now able to store

and view PhD theses online

gRADUATE STUDENTS, academics and

departments across the University can

now benefit from an online repository

that will store and manage access to

digital copies of PhD theses.

The repository, run by the University

Library in collaboration with the

University Computing Service, is an

extension of the Dspace@Cambridge

service, which allows academics to

deposit digital content of a scholarly

and heritage nature.

The DSpace@Cambridge team has

been working with the Board of graduate

Studies to ensure that the voluntary

deposit service is part of the submission

process for new theses.

graduate students will be notified

about the service when they submit their

thesis for examination. The student will

receive advice on how to upload to the

DSpace@Cambridge site, and how to

manage copyright for content created by

others – images or large citations,

for example.

Theses can also be deposited

retrospectively and the service is open

to University alumni.

Elin Stangeland, DSpace@Cambridge

Repository Manager, says the benefits to

both departments and graduate students

are considerable.

“For the individual, we take over the

management of the publication. We give

it a permanent URL, making it easy for

the student to share their thesis with

colleagues either within or outside the

University. Deposited theses are stored

on secure disks and, if the format goes

out of use, we will make sure it continues

to be readable.

“The other major benefit is to schools

and departments across the University

they can showcase their students’ work.”

Having theses online also means that

research is available instantly to other

researchers across the world.

➔ Detailed instructions on how to deposit

a thesis can be found at http://www.lib.

cam.ac.uk/repository/theses/

➔ For more information on Dspace@

Cambridge visit www.dspace.cam.ac.uk

Pay a visit to the online edition of the Newsletter:

www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/newsletter/

THE UNIVERSITY is saddened to report

the death of Professor Sir David Williams,

who was a Life Fellow and Honorary

Fellow of Emmanuel College, President of

Wolfson College from 1980 to 1992 and

Vice-Chancellor of the University from

1989 to 1996.

Educated at Queen Elizabeth

grammar School, Carmarthen, Sir David

came to Emmanuel College as an Open

Scholar in 1950 to read History and Law,

completing his MA and LLB.

He was subsequently called to

the Bar and was a Commonwealth

Fund (Harkness) Fellow at Berkeley

and Harvard between 1956 and 1958.

He then taught at the University

of Nottingham for five years, and at

Keble College, Oxford from 1963

to 1967.

In 1967 he returned to Emmanuel as

a Fellow in Law, and between 1970 and

1976 he was Senior Tutor and Tutor for

Admissions.

He became Reader in Public Law in

1976, and was Rouse Ball Professor of

English Law from 1983 to 1992.

Sir David was appointed President

of the University of Swansea in 2001

and Chancellor in 2007.

Paying tribute, the current

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alison

Richard said: “A great scholar and a

great leader, Sir David contributed to

collegiate Cambridge in so many ways.

As the first Vice-Chancellor in almost

800 years to hold the position full time,

he was a pioneer as well. We will all miss

him greatly.”

He is survived by his wife, Sally,

whom he married in 1959, a son and

two daughters.

november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER | 5


MARION WETTSTEIN makinG

a Difference

Voices of vanishing worlds

Imagine the English language had no written documents and its

last few speakers were likely to be dead within a decade. That is

the situation faced by hundreds of communities. But now endangered

oral traditions have a hope of being preserved for future generations

FIVE YEARS AgO Mark Turin published

a dictionary. To be precise, it was a trilingual

word list. But more importantly

it was the first written record of a little

known and endangered Himalayan

language – Thangmi – alongside English

and Nepali entries.

Although Turin didn’t know it at the

time, the publication foreshadowed his

latest initiative, the World Oral Literature

Project. Having encountered the Thangmi

language and its speakers in eastern

Nepal as a PhD student in linguistics in

the mid-90s, Turin realised that neither

the language nor culture were known to

many outside the community. Next to

nothing had been published about the

Thangmi people or the Tibeto-Burman

language they spoke.

The word list he published was

about much more than recording an

endangered tongue. While Turin’s PhD

thesis focused on the grammar of

Thangmi, the indigenous community

were far more interested in having a

dictionary they could use themselves.

His thesis, it was pointed out, would only

be available in English, making it largely

inaccessible to them.

What they needed was a word list in

Devanagari – a script they could read –

with accompanying Nepali and English

translations. The dictionary was therefore

not just about collating Thangmi words

6 | november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER

Collect and protect: Above, the

shaman Dirga Bahadur from

the Rai ethnic group of eastern

Nepal recites his oral narrative

for two fieldworkers in 2006.

Far right, the shaman Tek

Bahadur and assistants recite

oral texts and make an offering

to the ancestors through the

fireplace, also in eastern Nepal

in 2006

for their preservation: it was about

providing the speakers of Thangmi with

a written record of their language and

a resource they could use. In 2004, the

booklet, authored with his long-time

friend and co-researcher Bir Bahadur

Thami, finally saw the light of day.

Oral literature

The spirit of that work continues in

the World Oral Literature Project,

which was launched earlier this year.

Affiliated to and located in Cambridge

University’s Museum of Archaeology

and Anthropology, the initiative aims

to document and make accessible

endangered oral literatures before they

disappear without record.

So what is “oral literature” and just how

many of these voices are under threat?

“All natural, human languages are spoken,

but only some have an established

written form,” says Turin.

“In Western universities, there is a

scholarly emphasis on languages with


celebrated written traditions, such as

Sanskrit, Hebrew and Ancient greek. Of

the 6,500 languages spoken on earth,

however, many do not have written

traditions, and many of these speech

forms are endangered. Our concern is

that when an exclusively oral language

becomes endangered, the cultural

expressions it encodes are also in danger.”

Indigenous cultures are often

put under pressure by the effects

of globalisation or rapid social and

economic change. A well-meaning

national education programme in one

of the world’s major languages such as

Mandarin Chinese or English may have

the side-effect of eroding local traditions

and regional languages.

Many such traditions cling to life in the

form of oral ‘texts’, which the World Oral

Literature Project aims to collect, archive

and disseminate. Oral literature can

include chants, epics, poetry, folk tales,

songs, myths, spells, legends, proverbs

and tongue-twisters.

Preserve and share

“In many communities, the primary oral

texts are creation myths,” says Turin. “Our

Western epics are published as literature,

but oral narratives rarely are as few

indigenous peoples have had a means to

document in writing what they know.”

“generations of anthropologists have

had privileged access to indigenous

communities and have had the chance

to record volumes of oral literature, but

many scholars didn’t know what to do

with the recordings of the narratives

they had collected once they had been

analysed. We are providing a way for

the material that has been gathered to

be preserved and – when ethically and

culturally appropriate – to be shared with

heritage communities and disseminated

to a wider audience.”

The project provides small grants to

support researchers and communities

around the world who are interested in

recording and publishing these traditions

before they disappear.

To date, news about the initiative has

been circulated, rather like its subject

matter, mostly by word of mouth.

Nevertheless, Turin has already been

inundated with correspondence from

interested collaborators and contributors.

Each bid for funding is assessed by a

review board and by area specialists, and

early projects are underway in Colombia,

Inner Mongolia, Nepal, the Sino-Tibetan

frontier and the northern Philippines.

As this research is fed back to

“Of the 6,500

languages

spoken on earth

many do not

have written

traditions –

many are also

endangered”

finD Out mOre

For more information on

the World Oral Literature

Project visit www.

oralliterature.org

ALBAN VON STOCKHAUSEN

Cambridge, the project will assemble a

digital repository of oral literature from

around the world. Using the web, people

will be able to read the transcribed texts

and listen to, or watch, recordings of

spoken and sung vernacular traditions.

The project also aims to build up

a network of scholars and indigenous

researchers committed to documenting

and analysing oral narratives. In

December this year, researchers, museum

curators, archivists and other experts

will gather in Cambridge for a workshop

hosted by the Centre for Research in the

Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities to

enable them to share ideas on how such

fieldwork can best be carried out.

Perhaps most importantly, Turin sees

INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC DAY

AND BOARDING SCHOOL FOR

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WELCOME • SITUATED IN THE

HEART OF BEAUTIFUL CAMBRIDGE

the World Oral Literature Project, just

like his Thangmi dictionary, as being a

resource that will only succeed if it is

of use and interest to the communities

themselves. While Cambridge can be the

place where the materials are hosted and

maintained, both physically and digitally,

communities will require copies of the

output so that future generations can

access and understand the culture and

language of their ancestors.

“At present there is no single place

that offers researchers and communities

from around the world a promise

that collections of oral literature will

be responsibly managed, archived

and stewarded into the future. That’s

something we would like to provide.”

St Mary’s

C A M B R I D G E

www.stmaryscambridge.co.uk

ENTRANCE

EXAMINATIONS

SENIOR SCHOOL:

YEARS 7-10 ENTRY

Saturday 30 January 2010

JUNIOR SCHOOL:

YEARS 3-6 ENTRY

Year 3

Monday 18 January 2010

Years 4 - 6

Monday 25 January 2010

REGISTRATION & BURSARY APPLICATION

DEADLINE: 30 NOVEMBER 2009

B E C A U S E T H E R E ’ S N O T H I N G

G I R L S C A N ’ T D O.

Senior School: Bateman Street Cambridge CB2 1LY Tel: 01223 353253

Junior School: No 2 Brookside Cambridge CB2 1JE Tel: 01223 311666

november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER | 7


inSiDe the cOlleGeS

the dead

among us

In a month that sees two lost collections

of supernatural fiction set in or around

the University republished, we take a look

at some of the city’s enduring ghost stories

THERE ARE PLACES in Cambridge where

you shouldn’t walk alone. Not at night,

and not if you’re easily frightened.

Trinity Lane – that tempting cutthrough

from the centre of town to the

Backs – is one of them. Here, the citycentre

lights recede with every step you

take and, once inside the bowels of the

medieval city, squeezed between Trinity

and gonville and Caius colleges, you

might think twice about heading over

the Cam.

All Saints Passage is another of those

shortcuts that’s just a little too dark – a

little too malevolent – for comfort. And

then there is Christ’s Pieces. Don’t be

fooled by the street lights: on a misty

November evening, with the perimeter

trees masking the city’s landmarks,

it’s hard to navigate the criss-cross of

paths – especially with a drink or two of

Dark streets,

Fenland mists

and imposing

buildings are

the backdrop

to all manner

of grisly tales

8 | november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER

something to disorientate you.

This is the Cambridge of ghost stories

– a place where dark streets, Fenland

mists and imposing buildings form a

backdrop to all manner of grisly tales:

deaths foretold; apparitions in college

gardens and floating, earless heads

(one was said to have revealed itself to a

Sidney Sussex student in 1967).

ghostly gossip

Tales of college and institutional

hauntings are legion here, with the

creaking of doors that were thought to

be locked, and the tread of footsteps on

blocked staircases, feeding an evergrowing

pool of ghostly gossip. But those

looking for a more substantial brush with

the supernatural might like to dip into

some of the published ghost fiction that

takes Cambridge as its backdrop.

The genre has enjoyed something of

a resurrection, so to speak, of late with

two ‘lost’ titles brought out recently by

Oleander Press, publisher of the muchlauded

The Night Climbers of Cambridge.

The first is Tedious Brief Tales of

Granta and Gramarye, a collection of

supernatural stories set in Jesus College.

The author, a certain Ingulphus, was

better known as Arthur gray, Master of

Jesus between 1912 and 1940. The tales

include ‘The Everlasting Club’ which, as

you might infer from the title, is distinctly

difficult to leave, and that of alchemist

Anthony Ffryar, who nearly cures all

illness but unfortunately gets called to

attend a funeral… his own.

Also out this month is Stoneground

Ghost Tales, another Oleander collection

of unsettling ghost fiction first published

in 1912 by Eg Swain, Chaplain of King’s


College. These nine stories recount the

adventures of the ghost-hunting rector of

Stoneground, Reverend Roland Batchel.

The tales are set on the edge of the Fens,

where Swain was vicar for many years.

Jon gifford, owner of Oleander

Press, says he is interested in publishing

any genre of ‘lost’ book that has close

associations with the University and the

local area but is delighted to be able to

bring back these books. “gray has been

unavailable in the UK since 1919 and

Swain since 1912,” he says.

haunted garden

Another recently republished ghost story

is AP Baker’s A College Mystery, a tale of

intra-collegiate rivalry at Christ’s in the

mid-nineteenth century. It was originally

brought out in 1918 and is now available

through Back-in-Print Books.

ALL IMAgES COPYRIgHT OF ISSAM KOURBAJ

Baker was an undergraduate and

lecturer at Christ’s at the turn of the

20th century, and his book purports to

explain the true and grisly story of two

college Fellows – Christopher Round and

Philip Collier. The ghost of the former,

it is said, walks through the garden

every year on 29 May and, on the same

night, unsettling noises echo through

the Fellows’ Building, where Round and

Collier had rooms.

The strength of A College Mystery

lies in its ability to convince the reader

that what passes in its pages is a true

and accurate report of a terrible real-life

incident (Baker’s novella is made up of an

extended confession, excerpts from local

newspapers and first-hand accounts from

contemporary witnesses).

Richard Reynolds, who works at

Heffers on Trinity Street, and was

Ghost town: these

atmospheric images of

Cambridge were taken by

Christ’s artist in residence

Issam Kourbaj using a

camera obscura

instrumental in bringing the story back

into print, says he hears stories of people

who stay in the Fellows’ Building and

suffer a frightening and sleepless night,

only to later find out about the story and

the book.

Whether the gruesome incident at

its heart is true, the Fellows’ Building at

Christ’s, and its garden towards the back

of the college, are certainly two of the

more atmospheric places in collegiate

Cambridge.

Baker’s story is fairly well known across

the University – but it was one of his

academic contemporaries who brought

Cambridge and the supernatural to mass

public attention. That man was MR James

(1862-1936), former Provost of King’s

and Director, from 1893 to 1908, of the

Fitzwilliam Museum.

James wrote more than 30 ghost

stories in total, and his best work still

has the ability to disturb and scare.

While nearly all of his stories are set

outside Cambridge – typically in a small

Continental village, or an overlooked

corner of the Suffolk coast – his

protagonists are often Cambridge men

from a still-recognisable world of colleges

and academia.

readings by the fire

The best way to experience ghost

stories is to hear them read aloud. It

was something that James did himself,

inviting a select audience of friends to

his King’s study every Christmas, where

he would treat them to his latest spinechilling

composition.

It is a tradition that survives. Up

the road from James’s alma mater in St

John’s, Patrick Boyde, Emeritus Professor

of Italian, organises a programme of

events throughout the year for graduate

students and Fellows of the college.

The most popular single event, he says,

are the ghost stories he puts together

in December, read by the fire in the

16th-century Combination Room.

After seven successful years, Professor

Boyde has a good idea of how to transfix

an audience. “get the atmosphere right

– candles and a glowing fire – and have a

good reader,” he says. “A skilled reader can

convey all the necessary psychological

detail in seconds. The listeners will be

kept sitting on the edge of their seats

and the slightest pause may lead them to

think the next sentence will hit them in

the stomach.”

Fans of James – or those looking to

witness the power of his storytelling –

might also consider actor Robert Lloyd

november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER | 9


inSiDe the cOlleGeS

Ghost stories

are a way of

reinventing

what we

have lost”

Parry’s one-man show A Pleasing Terror,

an atmospheric retelling of two of

James’s earliest tales, ‘Canon Alberic’s

Scrap-book’ and ‘The Mezzotint’. The

production, which will be performed at

the Corpus Christi Playroom from 14 to

19 December, sees Lloyd Parry play James

in full Edwardian dress – a dead ringer, it

has been said, for the great ghost writer

himself.

Meanwhile, back at Christ’s,

Publications Officer Helen Mort has just

brought out a collection of poems called

A Pint for the Ghost. Over the past few

years, Helen has established a reputation

as one of the country’s most promising

young poets, and her latest pamphlet

was inspired by Cambridge’s master

ghost writer.

“I got the idea for the poems from

reading MR James,” she says. “I was struck

by the way we relate to places. I’m from

10 | november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER

Tales of college hauntings are

legion across Cambridge

Sheffield and am inspired by the area

and its former industries. It struck

me that ghost stories are a way of

reinventing what we have lost.”

Helen is not just interested in

tales of the supernatural, though. Her

poems use the ghost-story tradition to

present often unpalatable truths about

ourselves. “You can be a stranger in

your own town, or in your own life,” she

explains. “And the stories we make up

for ourselves are as real as the facts.”

While Helen’s poems are set in

Sheffield, she does have a strong

and pleasing link to ‘supernatural

Cambridge’. While working at Christ’s,

she lived in the Fellows’ Building, the

setting for A College Mystery.

“The rooms are mainly used as

offices now, and at night there was

no-one around. It was a terrifying place

to live.”

IMAgE COPYRIgHT OF ISSAM KOURBAJ

Books to

be won!

ARE YOU inspired by the dark, misty

streets of Cambridge? Think you

could turn people’s blood cold with

your writing? Why not enter our

ghost story competition?

The Newsletter has teamed up

with Oleander Press and Heffers to

find the most promising writer of

ghost fiction in the University. The

winner will receive copies of the

following books: MR James’s Casting

the Runes and Other Ghost Stories; A

College Mystery by AP Baker; Tedious

Brief Tales of Granta and Gramarye

by Ingulphus; Stoneground

Ghost Tales by Eg Swain and

Whipplesnaith’s The Night Climbers

of Cambridge.

Entries should be ghost stories

set in, or inspired by, Cambridge.

They don’t have to be completed

tales – you can limit yourself to

an opening 800 words – but they

should show promise.

The competition is open to

members of the University only,

with entries judged by Richard

Reynolds of Heffers, Jon gifford

of Oleander Press and Newsletter

Editor Andrew Aldridge.

➔ Please send your submissions to

Andrew Aldridge, Newsletter Editor,

The Pitt Building, Trumpington

Street, Cambridge CB2 1RP or email

them to him at aja43@admin.cam.

ac.uk by 11 December.

Be sure to include an email and

telephone number.


Welcome to an occasional series on

University institutions. First up, the

Whipple Museum of the History of

Science (pictured right)

knOw yOur uniVerSity

yesterday’s science today

IT IS EASY in this age of rapid change to

forget about the scientific instruments

of yesteryear. But a trip to the Whipple

tells us why we should care about them:

most are fascinating objects; many have

unusual stories associated with them; and

nearly all tell us something interesting

about the people and societies who first

brought them into the world.

Take the museum’s collection of

pocket calculators. Marvel at the

heavy-buttoned bricks from the

early 1970s. Admire those sleek,

breast-pocket machines from the

1980s. And enjoy some of the early

children’s calculators that you may

have bought – or have been

bought – as a present many

years ago.

You can enjoy these

endearing machines in isolation –

or as part of a wider display on the

history of calculating devices, which

preoccupied scientists and inventors

for the best part of 350 years.

It is a typically unusual and interesting

collection from this lovingly run museum,

which was founded in 1944 when Robert

Whipple (1871-1953), an avid collector

of scientific instruments and rare books,

donated his personal collection to

the University.

Whipple, who rose to become

Managing Director of the Cambridge

Scientific Instrument Company, was

involved in various learned societies

and institutions, and his interest in the

practice of science led him to amass

an outstanding collection of antique

scientific instruments.

Today, the museum is an integral

part of the Department of History and

Philosophy of Science, with students

making use of the collections for their

studies as well as creating some of the

display cabinets themselves.

COPYRIgHT THE WHIPPLE MUSEUM

“It would be

easy to lose

an afternoon

or two in this

museum’s

company”

Above: Charles Darwin’s

Achromatic Compound

Microscope, the centrepiece

of a temporary exhibition at

the Whipple Museum of

the History of Science

It is also very well curated. The

permanent collections – which include

exhibits focusing on astronomy,

microscopes and educational models –

are wide ranging, the narratives behind

them illuminating, and the labels are

clear and unobtrusive. Despite its rather

modest space, it would be easy to lose an

afternoon or two in its company.

The Whipple also displays collections

on a temporary basis – its Darwin

exhibition, which includes the naturalist’s

microscope and annotated user manual,

has proved particularly popular this year,

according to Museum Assistant Sarah

Robertson. So has its collection of more

than 40 globes, which can be viewed

until December this year.

So the next time you have a spare

lunch hour, why not pay a visit and

learn about the fascinating world of

the history science?

finD Out mOre

➔ The Whipple Museum of the History of

Science is on Free School Lane. It is open

Monday to Friday from 12.30 to 4.30pm.

Now for

girls as well

as boys.

To �nd out more, visit

www.perse.co.uk or call

01223 403805 for a prospectus.

The deadline for applications

for entry in September 2010 is

31st December 2009.

november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER | 11


PeOPle

aPPOintmentS

Professor gerard evan took up the

Sir William Chair of Biochemistry

and Head of Department on 1

October, replacing Professor Sir

Tom Blundell. He was previously

gerson and Barbara Bass Bakar

Distinguished Professor of

Cancer Biology at the University

of California, San Francisco.

Professor Evan’s research is

focused on understanding the

processes responsible for genesis

and maintenance of cancers, in

particular cancers of the pancreas,

colon, brain, skin and liver.

Professor Tim Crane was appointed

to the Knightbridge Professorship in

the Faculty of Philosophy with effect

from 1 September. Professor Crane

was a member of University College

London’s Philosophy Department

between 1990 and 2009 and, in 2005,

founded the Institute of Philosophy

at the University of London, where he

was Director until 2008. He studied

at the University of Cambridge in

the mid-1980s, obtaining his PhD in

1989. The Knightbridge Professorship

is one of the oldest professorships at

the University.

John emmines has stepped down as Senior Esquire Bedell

after 22 years with the ceremonial team. Mr Emmines said:

“As the 102nd Bedell since 1250, it has been a pleasure

and honour to be part of that constancy of purpose. It has

been my privilege to be present during a busy and historic

period for the University, and to have worked as part of a

good team and met some wonderful people.” Mr Emmines

will remain in his post as Assistant Safety Adviser in the

Health and Safety Office.

12 | november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER

OBituary

helen elsom

Professor dame ann dowling

became Head of the University’s

Department of Engineering on 1

October. She replaced Professor

Keith glover. Professor Dowling

said: “This really is a wonderful

opportunity for me to work with

the whole department in

developing the future of

engineering at Cambridge.

Professor glover has done a superb

job for the past seven years and I

look forward to taking on this role

and the challenges ahead of me in

ensuring continued excellence.”

David Howarth, Member of Parliament

for Cambridge and a Clare Fellow, writes:

Dr Helen Elsom, who died on 17

September aged only 52, was a

pioneering classical scholar who

moved from academia into hi-tech

industry while pursuing a parallel

career as a music critic.

Dr Elsom came to King’s College from

the East End of London. She obtained

first class honours in Classics in 1979,

completing her PhD on the Roman

novelist Apuleius in 1985, having also

gained an MA from Princeton University

in comparative literature.

From 1984 to 1987 Dr Elsom held a

Research Fellowship at Clare College,

before embarking again for the

United States to take up an assistant

professorship in classics at Cornell

University.

Dr Elsom was one of a small group

of British women classicists who sought

Jane mcLarty took up the post

of Senior Tutor at Wolfson on 7

September, succeeding David

Jarvis, who is moving to be

Senior Tutor of Murray Edwards.

Jane was previously Admissions

Tutor at Lucy Cavendish. She

is an Affiliated Lecturer in the

Faculty of Divinity, teaching

New Testament greek and

supervising for New Testament

papers. She has just completed

her PhD dissertation on the role

of emotion in early Christian

literature.

in the 1980s and 1990s to bring feminist

thinking to bear on classics and put the

study of women in antiquity at the centre of

the subject.

She also wrote a superb study of the

relationship between the New Testament

and greco-Roman literature.

The early 1990s were, however, a very

difficult time in academia, especially in the

humanities. Undeterred, Dr Elsom defied

the supposed gulf between the humanities

and the sciences by launching herself into

a new career as a technical writer in hi-tech

industry, in which role she eventually

returned to Cambridge.

Of very wide cultural interests, she wrote

extensively on music, taking a particular

interest in Handel’s operas. Her reviews –

always both sharp and measured – appeared

mainly online, where they achieved a wide

following.

She was also involved in politics as a

staunch Liberal.

Helen will be missed mainly, however,

as a loyal friend whose pointed insights into

people and events, often expressed with

acerbic wit, were tempered by

great kindness.


PrizeS, awarDS anD hOnOurS

new fellows of the British academy

Professor Mary Jacobus

Seven Cambridge academics have been

elected to British Academy Fellowships

this year in recognition of their research

achievements. They are:

Professor simon baron-Cohen, Director

of the Autism Research Centre and

a Fellow of Trinity. Professor Cohen’s

research focuses on the neuropsychology

of autism, specifically in the phenomenon

of mind-blindness. It also extends to the

psychology of sex differences in humans

and the role of foetal testosterone in

neurocognitive development.

Professor Philip ford, Professor of

French and Neo-Latin Literature and a

Fellow of Clare. Professor Ford’s research

places an emphasis on the relationship

between humanism and writing in French

and Neo-Latin literature. He has produced

a wide variety of publications on subjects

such as george Buchanan, Pierre de

Ronsard, Renaissance mythography

and the reception of Homer in the

Renaissance.

Professor Jonathan haslam, Professor

of the History of International Relations

and a Fellow of Corpus Christi. His

research interests include the history

of thought in international relations,

the history of Soviet foreign policy

and the contemporary history of Chile.

Professor Haslam has also published a

biography on the historian, journalist and

Dissertations

dr danielle van den heuvel won

the International Economic History

Association’s PhD Dissertation Prize (pre-

1800 category) for her thesis ‘Women and

Entrepreneurship: Female Traders in the

Northern Netherlands circa 1580-1815’

(Aksant Academic Publishers, 2007).

Dr van den Heuvel was appointed Ottilie

Hancock Research Fellow in Modern

international relations theorist EH Carr.

Professor mary Jacobus, Director of the

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social

Sciences and Humanities and a Fellow

of Churchill. She is also a professor of

English at the University. Professor

Jacobus’ research interests lie in British

Romanticism with an emphasis on

the work of William Wordsworth. She

also has special research interests in

feminist literary theory and criticism,

psychoanalysis and visual culture.

dr John marenbon, a senior research

Fellow of Trinity whose academic

interests are centred on the history

of philosophy, especially the period

spanning the sixth to 18th century. Dr

Marenbon has written specifically on the

period before 1200 on Boethius, Anselm

and Abelard. His current work, however,

extends to the period of Leibniz.

Professor susan rankin, a Professor of

Medieval Music and Fellow of Emmanuel.

Her research is on Western medieval

music and its transmission and notation

from origins to the thirteenth century.

She is also interested in the development

of the Latin liturgy, with a special focus

on ritual.

Professor John duncan, Honorary

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Professor Duncan researches the

psychological and neural mechanisms

of selective attention and general

intelligence. His research uses a

variety of different methods including

cognitive psychology, studies of brain

damage, functional brain imaging and

neurophysiology.

The British Academy is the national

academy for the humanities and the

social sciences, the counterpart to the

Royal Society, which exists to serve the

natural sciences. Its president is the

philosopher Baroness Onora O’Neill,

the former Principal of Newnham and a

lecturer at the University’s Department of

Philosophy.

History at girton in 2008. Her research

interests are primarily in the economic

development of early modern Europe.

St Catharine’s alumnus Chris

fitzsimmons won the British

Hydrological Society’s dissertation

prize for his paper ‘Subglacial drainage

system structure and morphology of

Midtdalsbreen, Norway’.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Professor John Gurdon

Dr Danielle van den Heuvel

Other awards

➔ Professor Christopher dobson,

Master of St John’s, has been awarded

a Royal Medal for “his outstanding

contributions to the understanding of the

mechanisms of protein folding and misfolding,

and the implications for disease”.

Three Royal Medals, known also as the

Queen’s Medals, are awarded annually by

the Sovereign upon recommendation of

the Council of the Royal Society.

➔ Professor John gurdon has been

awarded the 2009 Albert Lasker Basic

Medical Research award with Professor

Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University.

They received the award for their

discoveries in nuclear reprogramming.

This process instructs fully specialised

adult cells how to turn into stem cells

that can guide the formation of any

tissue type. Nuclear reprogramming thus

provides the means to create invaluable

materials for experimental or therapeutic

purposes.

➔ Professor John Williams has been

elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of

Engineering. He is distinguished as the

originator of the spiral groove pumping

seal, which has greatly extended the

performance of mechanical face seals and

is widely used in the oil and gas handling

industries.

➔ Professor sir John meurig Thomas,

of the Department of Materials Science

and Metallurgy and former Master

of Peterhouse, has been awarded

the Bragg Lectureship by the British

Crystallographic Society.

➔ Professor horace barlow, who is

based in the Department of Physiology,

Development and Neuroscience, was

awarded the Swartz Prize for Theoretical

and Computational Neuroscience. The

American Society for Neuroscience

presents the prize to “an individual

whose activities over a period of time

have produced a significant cumulative

contribution to theoretical models or

computational methods in neuroscience,

or to a person who has made a

particularly noteworthy advance over

the past several years in theoretical or

computational neuroscience”.

➔ dr Jessica sharkey recently won the

Sir John Neale Prize in Tudor History,

awarded by the Institute of Historical

Research. Dr Sharkey joined Wolfson as

a Research Fellow in October from Clare,

where she completed her PhD thesis ‘The

Politics of Wolsey’s Cardinalate, 1515-

1530’ under the supervision of Professor

John guy.

november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER | 13


aDVertiSementS

Advertising on this page is open to University staff. The cost is £15 for a single insertion or £75 for six insertions. The deadline

for the February/March issue is 9 December. Send your copy – no longer than 70 words – to the Editor at newsletter@admin.

cam.ac.uk or call 32300. We reserve the right to edit contributions

hOuSeS tO rent

➔ north yorkshire moors

Low Mill, Farndale, with sitting

room, dining rooms, playroom,

kitchen, four bedrooms, two

bathrooms and garden with lovely

views. Sleeps seven, all mod cons.

Fabulous walks in all directions.

Near Rievaulx, Castle Howard,

Runswick Bay. £370 a week.

Contact Horace or Miranda Barlow

on 01223 366618/333867 or email

hbb10@cam.ac.uk.

➔ Cornwall

Traditional granite cottage in

peaceful countryside between St

Ives and Penzance. Sleeps five in

three bedrooms, with comfortable

sitting room, kitchen-breakfast

room and bathroom. Sunny

garden and off-road parking. Close

to beaches and coves, coastal

path, sub-tropical gardens, historic

properties. Details and photos at

www.tinminerscottage.co.uk.

Contact Penny Barton on pb29@

cam.ac.uk or 01638 507192.

➔ arran, scotland

Holiday let on the Isle of

Arran with easy links from

glasgow. Available all-year

round. Recently refurbished fourbed

house on seafront with views

of the Holy Isle, sleeps six. Cycle

routes and forestry tracks a short

walk from the house, with

mountaineering, horse riding and

sailing available on the island.

Contact km511@medschl.cam.

ac.uk. Further details are at

http://www.cottages-and-castles.

co.uk/property/view/accomodationcottages-lamlash-marine-villaar058.html

➔ Perth, scotland

Scandinavian-style fourbedroomed

house in quiet area

of Perth available for holiday lets.

Beautiful secluded garden, safe

for dogs and children. Sleeps

up to seven with lounge/dining

room (TV, video, DVD), two

bathrooms with showers, one

double bedroom downstairs, large

conservatory. Beautiful forestry

one mile away, Scone Palace

nearby. £350-£550 a week.

Contact mornaknottenbelt@

hotmail.com

andalucia, spain

gorgeous country house near

14 | november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER

national park with stunning

views. Sleeps eight (plus cot) in

four double rooms. All comforts

including internet, large pool,

large terraces, underfloor heating

and wood burning stove. guided

walking and biking available,

Malaga airport one hour away.

From £500 a week. Short breaks

available.

www.casalouisa.net.

➔ algarve, Portugal

Spacious, family owned apartment

sleeps up to five in idyllic village.

Private patio and roof terrace,

shared pools. Picturesque beach

five minutes away, restaurants in

village, tennis, golf, waterparks and

shopping close by. Faro airport 45

minutes away. Stunning and quiet

location. Short and long breaks

available. More information at

www.holiday-home-rentals.co.uk

(property 4995).

Contact Helen at Helen.floto@gmail.

com or phone 01954 267291.

➔ Cote d’azur, france

Flat available to rent, fully

furnished, one bedroom, living

room, kitchen, bathroom. Double

bed with single put-u-up, two

balconies facing south-east,

fifth floor with lift. Easy access

to airport, daily market, sea and

surrounding countryside.

£50 per night.

For more information email

shimis2003@yahoo.fr

➔ Tuscan apuan alps, italy

16th-century Italian monastery

available for conferences,

workshops, schools and group

meetings. Fully equipped lecture

theatre and extensive computer

facilities with accommodation

onsite. Daily activities such as

mountaineering, caving, canyon

walking, city tours, swimming, art

classes and restaurant trips can be

organised on request.

Contact details at http://www.

vallico.net/tti/tti.html

➔ Tuscany, italy

18th-century farmhouse with eastfacing

studio available September

to May. Restored to high standard,

with writers, artists and academics

in mind. Central heating, mod

cons and broadband. Beautiful

location above small hamlet ten

miles from Lucca. Sleeps five.

Long-term rent discounts. Details

and photographs available.

Contact jmg47@cam.ac.uk

➔ rome

One-bedroom luxury flat available

for short rentals. A/c, cable

television, fully networked, vast

terrace. £400 per week all

inclusive. Further info available

on request.

Contact: Cristiano Ristuccia car37@

cam.ac.uk

➔ suffolk

Comfortable, spacious, well

equipped cottage with piano

in Butley, Suffolk. Available for

Aldeburgh Festival, weekends

and short breaks throughout the

year. Close to Orford, Sutton Hoo,

Snape and Minsmere. Sleeps up to

eight. More information at www.

butleycottage.co.uk.

Contact Miranda on 01223 357035

or info@butleycottage.co.uk

➔ bohinj, slovenia

Beautiful new one-bed, groundfloor

apartment. Sleeps up to four.

EasyJet Stansted to Ljubljana plus

40 minutes by car. Five-minute

walk to Kobla Ski, 15-minute drive

to Vogel Ski. Full range of winter

sports.

Contact Peter Hayler on pjh89@

cam.ac.uk

SerViceS

➔ orchestra

The King John Orchestra is a

sociable orchestra set up by

and for parents and friends of

schools in and around

Cambridge. It rehearses

fortnightly on Monday evenings

in school term time in the

grange Road area and

currently has vacancies for brass

and string players. If you want

to get back to playing your

instrument in an informal and

friendly atmosphere,

please email kjo@kcs.cambs.

sch.uk.

➔ Private english Lessons

Cambridge Classroom offers

private tuition in English with an

experienced and highly qualified

tutor, from preparation for tests

and examinations, to simple

conversation classes. We can also

work on skills like pronunciation

or writing. All kinds of learner

are welcome: visiting scholars,

graduate students or anyone

wishing to brush up on their

English skills. Details at

www.cambridgeclassroom.co.uk

or email info@cambridgeclassroom.

co.uk.

➔ garden design

Local garden design, border

design, Christmas wreaths: does

your garden need rejuvenating?

Call us for stylish ideas or

horticultural advice. We also make

bespoke, evergreen or willow

wreaths and table centre-pieces

for autumn, Thanksgiving and

Christmas.

Contact Annick or Helen on 01763

209367/01954 267291 or visit www.

paperwhite.co.uk

VOlunteerS

➔ help the homeless

Volunteers needed for Business

Action on Homelessness (BAOH),

which helps homeless people

back into employment. Volunteer

as a ‘job coach’ or help with CV

writing/interview skills sessions in

Cambridge. BAOH is also looking

for University departments and

colleges that can host individuals

on short unpaid work placements.

Contact Jenny Webb on 01638

663272 or email jenny.webb@bitc.

org.uk.

➔ museum help

The Scott Polar Research Institute

is recruiting volunteers to staff

the museum when it reopens

in June 2010. If this interesting

development appeals to you, and

you can give time on a regular

basis – one or two half-day shifts

a week – please send a short CV

to Nick Hunnisett at the Institute,

or email it to him at nsh32@cam.

ac.uk by 18 December. For an

informal chat, call Nick on 07752

163948.

The University of Cambridge

accepts no responsibility for the

advertisements or their content.

When submitting an advert,

please remember to include your

contact details.


ILLUSTRATIONS BY FELIx BENNETT

BehinD the SceneS

Porters’ blues

Chaperoning wildlife, retrieving lost rugby posts and handling enquiries about

14th century Cambridgeshire. Here are a selection of some of the stranger requests

porters have been asked across collegiate Cambridge

“TWO AMERICAN STUDENTS called

us at half-past two in the morning

to ask us to remove a spider from

their room.”

“Several years ago, a part-time

porter – who has since moved

on to pastures new – put up

our college flag. The only

problem was that he

hoisted it upside down. It

then got stuck and we had

to call the fire service to get it

down.”

“We had a strange

memo not so long ago:

‘Please put ducks on pond

at 9.30am’.”

“Our old Master had

two cats – Jemima and

Geoffrey. Every Sunday

we had to babysit one

of them because he would

run into the chapel and start

miaowing at the top of his voice. It

drowned out the choir.”

“Last year a student asked us if he

could hang a brace of partridges in his

room.”

“I was once asked to come and catch

a pheasant that was running around on

the second floor of one of our staircases.

I went up and, sure enough, there

was a large male pheasant causing

havoc. I got a large bath towel, caught

him and released him

downstairs.”

“I was asked

to donate

my body to

science”

“Late one evening we had a thrush

trapped in the Porters’ Lodge. It was

playing dead so I turned all the lights

out, and opened the window in the

hope that it would fly out. People did

ask why we were sitting in complete

darkness.”

“A long time ago we had someone, a

bit worse for wear, who decided to climb

over the college wall. Unfortunately

he slipped and impaled his leg on the

Master’s gate. We called an ambulance,

and then the fire service, who cut

the man free and took him and the

offending railing to Addenbrooke’s

Hospital. The following day I had a call

asking me to retrieve the metalwork

from the hospital so the Master’s gate

could be mended. He made a speedy

recovery.”

“A few year’s ago an elderly alumnus

of the college came to stay. Some time

during the afternoon, he came down

to the Porters’ Lodge to explain that

his phone wasn’t working. I asked him

whether it was connected to the socket.

A quizzical look came across his face

so I went up to his room. Sure enough

the phone was out of its socket and I

showed him how to fix the problem.

He then turned to me and said: ‘Crikey,

I didn’t realise you had to plug those

things in.’ ”

“We found some rugby posts in our

college court one morning.”

“I was asked to donate my body to

scientific research.”

“Once a year we have to walk

the college ducks across the road

and towards the river. They choose

to breed in the Master’s garden.

We get them ready and in line, and

the Head Porter and Head Gardener

walk them across the road. The Head

Porter at the college opposite then

takes over until they arrive safely at

the river.”

“Last weekend I got a call from a

lady helping her grand-daughter with

her homework. She wanted to know the

population of Cambridgeshire in 1300.”

november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER | 15


800th anniVerSary uPDate

x

Quentin Blake unveils 800th mural

ILLUSTRATOR AND DOWNINg alumnus

Quentin Blake has produced his own

distinctive history of the University in its

800th year.

‘Cambridge 800: an Informal

Panorama’ is a collection of 13 drawings

more than 20 metres long that

depict some of the University’s most

recognisable alumni.

The mural, donated by the University

to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, was unveiled

by the artist in September.

It will form the centrepiece of the

hospital’s Art Walk, which was opened

in 2002.

a first-class

service

THE ROYAL MAIL has created a

commemorative stamp sheet

featuring some of the discoveries

and achievements of Cambridge

researchers and alumni over the past

eight centuries.

The stamp sheets are available at

the Fitzwilliam Museum Shop, as well as

at most Post Offices.

Sky-high

celebrations

in the uSa

ONE OF THE world’s most

famous buildings will be

lit in Cambridge blue for

the University’s 800th

anniversary celebrations.

The Empire State

Building in New York City

will be lit on Friday, 4

December and Saturday,

5 December. The tribute

was arranged through

the work of Cambridge in

America, the University’s

alumni relations and

fundraising office in

the USA.

Cambridge in America

will also be throwing an

800th anniversary gala

on the Saturday evening,

where broadcaster and

Cambridge alumnus Sir

David Frost will be Master

of Ceremonies.

finD Out mOre

from Cambridge in

America’s website at www.

cantab.org

16 | november/deCember 2009 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NEwSlETTER

time travel for your coffee table

A PUZZLE produced by Christ’s

artist in residence Issam Kourbaj in

collaboration with the Cambridge

Archaeological Unit takes you back in

time to Cambridge’s foundations.

‘A Cambridge Palimsest’ also includes

a map drawn especially for the project

by Jon Harris.

The word palimsest comes

from ancient greek and refers to

a manuscript page that has been

scraped off and reused. Issam’s

palimsest consists of five layers, much

like a three-dimensional jigsaw, that

chart the development of the city

– from its geological foundations,

AFTER CELEBRATIONS big and small, the

800th anniversary year will come to a close

exactly where it began.

The finale will take place over

three nights in January, starting on

Friday the 15th and winding up on

Sunday the 17th.

Senate House and Old Schools will

once again feature prominently, as will

several other venues in central Cambridge.

Please come and join us celebrate in style.

➔ For full details, check the 800th

anniversary website at www.cam.ac.uk/800

medieval development and on to its

current state.

➔ For more information, email Issam

on ik254@cam.ac.uk

a date for the diary: the finale beckons

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