King’s Parade

Plan showing the position of the former Provost’s Lodge and other buildings, with sale details and location of present screen (Willis and Clark, vol. 1, p. 544, fig. 54).
Plan showing the position of the former Provost’s Lodge and other buildings, with sale details and location of present screen (Willis and Clark, vol. 1, p. 544, fig. 54).

In the previous section, I mentioned that the Provost’s Lodge was moved to the south of what is now called the Back Lawn, between 1823 and 1828. Prior to that, the Provost’s Lodge had been to the east of the Chapel, alongside several houses. Now one can see well-manicured grass and a large horse chestnut tree in that space, as well as a low wall dividing it from King’s Parade.

In 1769 the College sold 11 of those houses to the University and in 1786 it disposed of the north wing of the Provost’s Lodge, also to the University. After this, a brick building was added to the south wing of the Provost’s Lodge and part of the north wing was replaced with another square building.

When Wilkins built a new Provost’s Lodge between his new Library and the river, (now it is the College Office), the buildings to the east of Wilkins’ new screen were no longer required. This allowed their clearance, affording the view which is enjoyed by many visitors to King’s Parade, arguably our second most iconic view.

Though not a particularly large lawn in comparison with the Front Court and the Back Lawn, this triangular plot increases the sense of openness of King’s Parade and allows a great view of the Chapel, screen and Porter’s Lodge.

In April 1932, a railing which had separated the lawn from the pavement of King's Parade was replaced with a low wall, built using Weldon stone like that used for parts of the Chapel and a Portland stone coping. The wall was erected using bequests from Dame Bertha Newall (in memory of her uncle Septimus Phillpotts, a King's Fellow) and Arthur Berry. The wall was built to echo similar changes at the front of the neighbouring Senate House. This demonstrates the College's recognition of its surroundings and the importance of their treatment of that space for the enjoyment of passers by.

Exhibitions | Back to the top | Bibliography»