James Foreman explained how he and a couple of helpers have sorted the collection into archive boxes. However, the collection needs to be catalogued and cross referenced for which volunteers are needed. Discussion turned to the question of how to make the archive more accessible.
Robert Hill gave an entertaining talk about his experiences over many years of showing groups of visitors around the glories of the city and the university. He went on to show his photographs of many more-or-less obscure corners of the colleges and town, challenging us to identify them.
Dr Seán Lang (a playwright and regular broadcaster as well as a lecturer in history at Anglia Ruskin University) gave a fascinating, and greatly entertaining, talk about Town and Gown in Cambridge in the 1890s. What started as a tale of student high-jinks quickly took us into the Boer War and profound social change.
Keith Dixon told us all about the extraordinary character who was founder of Cambridgeshire’s Village Colleges. This was an almost-rags to educational riches story: born in 1889 into a large family in Southport whose mother died when he was young and who had to work against all the odds to get accepted at Oxford University, but had to leave for war duty in WWI.
Patricia Mirrlees and others revealed the story of ‘The Stone House’: the impressive white building set back amid large gardens, as you swing round from Church Street into Mingle Lane. It is not made of stone at all – but of concrete! Who would have guessed that this is the last remaining grand house in the country to have been built entirely of concrete.