Christ's College Alumni


E-newsletter Autumn 2017

Welcome to the autumn issue of the e-newsletter

Matriculation 2017


Matriculation Photograph 2017

It's the start of a new academic year at Christ's and and we've enjoyed welcoming our new and returning students to College. This year we have 397 undergraduates and 291 graduate students and we're hoping for another very succesful College year!


Great Gate Conservation Project

Many of you who have visited College recently or attended an event at Christ's over the summer, will have noticed that the Great Gate and the stonework above the entrance to the Master's Lodge are having something of a facelift. An inspection of the stonework showed that the carvings were covered in a thick gypsum crust, and alongside many cracks and fissures, were being worsened by the elements, so steps needed to be taken to preserve the stone from further distintigration. The work is being carried out by HIRST Conservation, a well-renowned expert in this field. It is also being executed in compliance with the Conservation Officer from Cambridgeshire County Council and have been overseen by an expert in stonework and conservation. Now at the mid-way point, the paint has to be very carefully removed and a number of repairs have been made. These repairs need an extended period to carbonate, before repainting can take place, so the stone will remain free from paint until the correct time, when it will be restored to its former glory. Watch out for a more in depth look at the project in the Lent term issue of Pieces!



Before and after: The Great Gate in 2015 compared with the stonework at the mid-way point with the paint removed in October 2017 


Sponsor a Book in the Old Library

On 1 November the College Library launched its latest Sponsor a Book initiative with a printed brochure listing twenty four items from the Old Library that need conservation. An online version of the brochure may be found here. Some highlights this year include a 17th-century herbal by John Parkinson, which featured in our Theater of Plants exhibition earlier in 2017; a book about witchcraft; and a nineteenth-century work intriguingly entitled Humanity to Honey-Bees, published locally (in Wisbech). The brochure also includes details of how you can sponsor an item -- simply contact in the first instance, or write to the College's Development Office.


While on the subject of the previous Theater of Plants exhibition, there is now an online version of the exhibition that features many of the items that were on display. You can find the link to the online exhibition presentation here.

The current exhibition, Numerous Verse: Four Centuries of Poets and Poetry at Christ's College is open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2-4 p.m. until 30 November. We would be delighted to welcome you for a visit!


Geneva Dinner

Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, Dr Rowan Williams (m. 1968) is hosting a dinner in Geneva on Saturday 25 November 2017 and is delighted to invite alumni from Christ’s, his undergraduate College, to join them.  The dinner will be held at the wonderful Golf Club de Genève, Route de la Capite 70, 1253 Vandoeuvres, Genève. Magdalene College very much looks forward to meeting those from Christ’s who wish to attend what promises to be a most convivial event.

The cost of the event is £70.00 per person.

For more information or to book your place please contact the Alumni and Development Office, Magdalene College, Cambridge, CB3 0AG, 01223 332104.The booking deadline for this event is Friday 17 November 2017.


Here, There and Everywhere...


L to R: Alan Holmes (m. 1957), Bruce Amery (m. 1943) & Antony Root (m. 1972)                                       

It is always impressive to see the global spread of the Christ's community and perhaps even more exciting to find out where there are pockets of alumni living nearby one another! Three Christ's alumni find themselves living in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire. They most recently bumped into each other at an event in the hamlet of Maugersbury, just outside the town.


Lector in Art

Lector in Art, Issam Kourbaj, is currently involved in a number of projects across the country. Please click the links below to find out more:

Living with gods: people, places and worlds beyond at the British Museum

Dark Water Burning World: the island of Lesbos & the boats of Syria at King's College London

Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival 2017


Down at the Bottom of the Garden...

Autumn in the garden has arrived, although this year the weather has come in waves of warmth and cold. As I write this entry, Cambridge is blanketed in thick dark cloud. However, the changing leaves on the Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), and the brightly coloured flowers of the Salvias are the stars of the garden at this time of year and pierce through the darker days. Other highlights include the Salvia guaranitica in First Court, which is standing as tall as the first floor windows and is flushed with deep purple flowers. The Salvia leucantha ‘Midnight’ in Second Court with its glorious pinky-purple spears which pop against its silvery stems and green foliage, bring a wonderful eye catching sight in the new herbaceous border. Others of note include the Salvia ‘Amistad’ which has flowered all summer and continues to flourish, and the ‘Phyllis Fancy’ in the Quincentenary Border in the Fellows’ Garden which has grown so large that it now forms part of the background structure of the border, its silvery foliage adding a lovely contrast to the dark Yew tree behind.

With the march towards winter in full swing, everything is changing very quickly now, with green fading to yellow, then red and finally to brown. The garden is preparing for hibernation, but we gardeners are working at full speed, and already planning for the spring.

We are beginning to put the garden to bed, cutting back dying herbaceous plants, mulching, pruning and planting up pots for winter and early spring displays. One of the main jobs to do at this time of year is the change of displays along the Fellows’ Building in Second Court. Over the last few months we have been bringing on over fifteen hundred wallflowers which will be planted out, along with a large number of tulips. We’ve kept the colour scheme of this planting scheme shrouded in mystery. We’ve been sworn to secrecy (and definitely feel like MI5 agents!), so we’re hoping the planting will add a bit of anticipation and excitement for the spring.

On a different note, the honey yield this year has been wonderful. We have produced over a hundred jars, which have now been gifted to the Fellowship. The end-of-season management has included feeding the bees sugar syrup in order to increase supplies and also a few last minute inspections to check the health of the apiary. We also combined two of the weaker hives in the hope that they survive the winter.

Finally, we love to get feedback and questions from our alumni and we’ve received one recently about the fish in the Master’s Garden. We believe there have been carp in the Rill for over seventy-five years; the earliest map we have found in the archives dates to the mid 1930s and the Rill itself is still fed by Hobson’s Conduit today. The fish require very little maintenance, and we feed them three times a week in the summer and once a week in the autumn and winter. There are currently around fifty carp and they thrive in this environment, notwithstanding some external threats such as the serious disease outbreak in 1993, repeated Heron attacks and a tenacious otter in 2016!



From L to R: Salvia guaranitica, Salvia leucantha and Tulip Tree

Look out for the next issue of the e-newsletter where we will feature pictures of the garders at work!

Don't forget that you can leave a comment or suggest a topic for the Gardening Diary on our online alumni NetCommunity pages here. Please log on and select 'Discussion Groups' from the Alumni Community drop down menu. If you have forgotten your password then click 'forgotten log in details' and follow the instructions. We'd love to hear from you!   



 17 November: Christ's College Colours Dinner

 25 November: Geneva Dinner with Magdalene College

5 December: Winter Drinks in London

7 December: Varsity Rugby Matches at Twickenham



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