News archive 2008
Art exhibition in the Chapel
The Chapel is showing nine paintings by the artist Leone Marklew-Barrett. Leone creates spiritual art for prayer and meditation, and the paintings in the exhibition were inspired by the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Christmas Eve service at King's.
The exhibition will be in the West End of the Chapel from 13-20 December and will be open Monday to Saturday 9.30am-4pm, and Sunday 10am-4pm. You can buy postcards and other merchandise by the artist at The Shop at King's on King's Parade, Cambridge.
Posted: 10 December 2008
Details of Christmas services
On TV and radio
- Carols from King's: 24 December, 6.30pm on BBC 2
- Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols: 24 December, 3pm on BBC Radio 4; also broadcast at various times on the BBC World Service. Download the Order of Service [pdf file].
- Note: the BBC have made a documentary on A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, called Christmas Past and Christmas Present at King's. The documentary will be broadcast on 23 December at 1.30pm on BBC Radio 4, and repeated on 25 December at 10.15pm.
Please note that Carols from King's and A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols follow a different Order of Service. Carols from King's was recorded earlier in the month.
Christmas Eve service
If you are planning to come to the Christmas Eve service, the queue is admitted at 1.30pm and the service begins at 3pm. Normally, anyone joining the queue before 9.00am will gain admission, but we cannot guarantee this. It finishes at around 4.30pm. Please note that this service is not suitable for young children.
Arrangements for those who want to queue are as follows:
- The only entrance to the College will be via the main gate on King's Parade. All other gates will be locked.
- Members of the public in the queue will be admitted to the College grounds via the Front Gate from 7am.
- The Porters will monitor the number of people joining the queue and, once there are as many people in the queue as there are seats available, members of the public will be advised that it is unlikely that they will be able to attend the service.
- Bags and packages cannot be taken into the Chapel and must be deposited with the Porters in the designated area.
For more details about the Service see the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols page.
Christmas Day service
There will be a sung Eucharist at 11am on Christmas Day.
Posted 2 December 2008
New CD of Christmas carols
EMI have just released a new two-CD set of Christmas carols sung by the King's College Choir. The set is called Christmas at King's and contains 50 of the best and most-loved carols, including Oh come, all ye faithful, The Holly and the Ivy and Silent Night. It also contains lesser-known but beautiful carols from the medieval period to the present. The choir is conducted by Sir Philip Ledger, Sir David Willcocks and the current Director of Music Stephen Cleobury.
The CD also features a wealth of newly recorded material, including Ding Dong Merrily On High, In The Bleak Midwinter and See Amid The Winters Snow conducted by Stephen Cleobury, making this a truly unique collection. Click on the player to listen to See amid the winter's snow from the CD (requires Flash Player).
Posted: 2 December 2008
New Year dining promotions
Brighten up the gloomy months of January and February by taking advantage of special promotions from King's:
- Free room hire in the Saltmarsh Rooms. These period rooms make a memorable venue for a special dinner for 12-56 people. Free room hire means a saving of up to £285, depending on the size of your party.
- Gourmet business lunch package in the Beves Room. The Beves Room is ideal for business meetings, seminars and training courses. Room, hire, AV equipment and wi-fi is provided for free, and you will be treated to a gourmet sandwich lunch. At £25.95 (ex. VAT) per person you save £10 per head.
Posted: 27 November 2008
King's is recruiting choristers
Is your son aged six or seven and musical?
Auditions for choristerships 17 January 2009
Sing in the magnificent King's Chapel, receive an excellent education, enjoy broadcasts, recordings and foreign tours.
The Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, would be delighted to talk to parents on an informal basis (tel: 01223 331224; email: email@example.com). For information about the school contact King's College School (tel: 01223 365814; www.kcs.cambs.sch.uk).
King's makes every effort to make choristerships possible for any boy with the right musical ability, regardless of financial circumstances.
Posted: 27 November 2008
Organ recital, 29 November
On Saturday 29 November King's student Tom Kimber will give a free organ recital in King's College Chapel. The programme will be:
- J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C BWV 547
- Kimber: Merzbild
- Naji Hakim: Sinfonia in honore Sancti Johannes Baptistae
- Max Reger: Introduction and Passacaglia in d minor
The concert will start at 6.20pm.
Posted 25 November 2008
Meet David Willcocks
David Willcocks, former Director of Music at King's, will be at the Shop at King's on 10 December, 5.30-6.30pm to sign copies of his new book A Life in Music. The event is open to all; refreshments will be available.
The book tells the life story of the celebrated conductor, organist and composer, from his childhood and time as an organ scholar at King's to his Directorship of the Royal College of Music and The Bach Choir. He was Director of Music at King's from 1957 to 1974, during which time he made many recordings with the King's College choir. Several of these recordings are included in the CD which accompanies the book. Sir David tells his story in conversation, but there are also reflections from his family, friends and composers.
Posted: 21 November 2008
Christmas classics at The Eagle
Relax in The Eagle pub, Cambridge, on 9 December, and let the King's Choral Scholars serenade you with close-harmony and cheesy Christmas classics - the perfect way to start the festive season.
The Eagle is in Bene't Street, Cambridge, and the concert starts at 7.45pm. Admission is free.
Collegium Regale (Latin for 'King’s College') is the close harmony group made up of the 14 Choral Scholars of King’s College Choir. For more information about them see the Collegium Regal website
Posted: 17 November 2008
New show opens at Art Centre
An exhibition of paintings by Kate King and Renee Spierdijk began at the King's Art Centre on 14 November.
Kate King teaches fine art at Cambridge Centre for Sixth Form Studies and life drawing at King's Art Centre. She is exhibiting her small oil pastels together with more experimental mixed media pieces. Renee Spierdijk is Head of Art at King's College School, Cambridge, and she is exhibiting her portraits of unknown children.
The exhibition continues until 5 December. For the location and opening times, as well as more details about the artists, see the Art Centre page.
Posted: 12 November 2008
King's on Radio 4
Radio 4 has made a documentary to mark the ninetieth anniversary of the King's College Christmas Eve service, 'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols'. The documentary, 'Christmas Past and Christmas Present at King's', looks at the history of the service and includes interviews with the the Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, the Dean, Ian Thompson and some of the millions people who listen to the service around the world.
The documentary will be broadcast on Tuesday 23 December at 1.30pm, and repeated on Thursday 25 December at 10.15pm. For more on the Christmas Eve service, see the Nine Lessons and Carols page.
Posted: 7 November 2008
Elgar in the Chapel
On 1 December the University and town choir CUMS will be performing with the highly-regarded national Philharmonia Orchestra. The King's Director of Music Stephen Cleobury will be conducting them as they perform Elgar's inspirational oratorio, The Kingdom. CUMS is joined by King's Voices and the Emmanuel College Choir.
The soloists are Rachel Nicholls (soprano), Louise Crane (mezzo soprano), Justin Lavender (tenor) and Peter Savidge (baritone).
Tickets £35, £30, £22 (£5 students on the door only), available from the Corn Exchange box office (01223 357851). The concert will take place in King's College Chapel. For more concerts held at King's see the Concerts page.
Posted: 5 November 2008
KCMS concert, 24 November
King's College Music Society is holding a free concert of chamber music on Monday 24 November. Bethan White (oboe), Nina Ashton (bassoon) and Kausikan Rajeshkumar (piano) will be playing Britten's 'Insect Pieces for oboe and piano', Kim Ashton's 'Bagatelle for bassoon and piano', Poulenc's 'Trio op. 43' and a piece by Bartok (to be confirmed).
The concert starts at 10pm in the Hall at King's College.
Posted: 5 November 2008
New First Bursar at King's
Dr Keith Carne has been elected as First Bursar by King's Governing Body, to start 1 January 2009. Keith is a Senior Lecturer in the University Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics. He has been a Fellow of King's since 1983, with several specific functions, including Director of Studies and Supervisor in Mathematics, Financial Tutor, and Acting First Bursar.
Posted: 29 October 2008
Ajax: a King's idea that changed the world
As part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Cambridge News has whimsically picked out ten Cambridge ideas that changed the world. One of the ideas comes from a King's scholar who made a contribution to improving human health through better sanitation. Sir John Harington (1561 – 1612) invented the first flushable toilet, called the Ajax, from 'a jakes'('jakes' being the slang for 'toilet'). His name has entered popular culture in North America, in the euphemism 'the John'.
Being a scholar as well, Sir John wrote a book about his invention - Discourse upon a Stale Subject: The Metamorphosis of Ajax. Unfortunately, remarks in the book aimed at The Earl of Leicester got him expelled from Elizabeth I's court.
For a full programme of the Festival of Ideas see the main Cambridge University website.
Posted: 27 October 2008
Five ways to stop climate change
On 29 October the College Library hosted a discussion called 'Five things we should all do to mitigate the effect of climate change'. The discussion panel included authors of books held in the Library's Global Warming Collection, as well as other experts such as Professor Michael Grubb, Professor Howard Griffiths and Dr Aled Jones.
After the discussion there was the opportunity to view the Global Warming Collection in the attractive setting of the 19th century Library, and to have your own carbon footprint measured by the Carbon Footprint Association.
Find more about the Global Warming Collection on the Global Warming Collection pages.
Posted: 23 October 2008
Dante Quartet season begins with 'Forever Young'
The Dante Quartet began the third year of its residency at King's with a concert called 'Forever Young: Haydn and Mendelssohn'.
In the first half of the concert the Quartet played some of Haydn's most innovative music, and in the second half they were joined by four young Cambridge musicians to play Mendelssohn's youthful masterpiece, his Octet for Strings. The concert took place in King's Hall on Saturday 1 November.
For more concerts held at King's, including more concerts by the Dante Quartet, see the Concerts page.
Posted: 23 October 2008
King's team triumphs in University Challenge
King's College team beat Surrey University 225-150 on Monday 20 October in University Challenge. The two teams were neck and neck for much of the programme, but in the last five minutes King's raced ahead through a series of bonus points.
Summing up, Jeremy Paxman said the King's team put in 'a very impressive performance'. Congratulations to Hooper, Archer, Gold and Wallen!
Posted: 21 October 2008
New Concerts at King's season begins
Sunday 19 October saw the opening concert in the second season of Concerts at King's. As with our Easter Festival and the Dante quartet residency, part of the aim is to feature the breadth and distinction of the College's music-making, so it was particularly good to be able to welcome two rising stars of the younger generation for a recital of music for cello and piano.
Guy Johnston, winner of the 2000 BBC Young Musican of the Year, was a chorister in the College Choir, and is already in worldwide demand as a cellist and chamber musician. Huw Watkins read Music here, and is known not only for his piano-playing, but as a composer. He is a Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music.
'Johnston has already forged a place as one of the country's most promising and distinctive cellists.' (The Strad).
'A pianist of alert intelligence and a composer with something to say.' (The Independent on Sunday)
For ticket information and details of the rest of the concerts in the series, see the Concerts page.
Posted: 15 October 2008
Paintings of human form on show at King's Art Centre
On show at the King’s Art Centre until October 31 is an exhibition of recent work by Cambridge-based artist Richard Swift. The show consists of a series of dramatic, large-scale paintings of the human body. Each figure is roughly twice life size and has been made by scraping through layers of acrylic paint to form the image.
The Centre, on A staircase in the Front Court, is open to all from 11am to 5pm daily. Follow the signs or enquire at the Porters' Lodge.
'Swift's paintings confront the body of the spectator through an immediately felt identification. It is through the physical sensate body that all experience flows,' says Roger Cook of the Fine Art Department, Reading University, where Swift studied. 'There are no expressionist brush strokes, but a painstaking and 'hard-won' pictorial process of finding, losing and refinding the image by a technique which allows it to emerge, disappear and re-appear out of the darkness.'
Swift studied at the University of Reading and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. He co-founded the Chisenhale Art Place in East London (an international centre for contemporary art and dance), and was a prize winner in the Tolly Cobblod Eastern Arts fifth national competition. He has shown his work at a series of solo exhibitions including Esbank Istanbul, Sutton House London, the Towngate Gallery Basildon, and Churchill College Cambridge.
Posted: 15 October 2008
Peter Avery dies, age 85
King's Fellow and Persian scholar Peter Avery OBE died on 6 October. He was one of the world's foremost experts on the history and literature of Iran.
Peter's interest in Persian began when he served in the Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve in World War II. After the war, he studied Arabic and Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and after graduating in 1949 he worked as Educational Liaison Officer with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.
In 1958 he came to Cambridge as a Lecturer in Persian Language, Literature and History, becoming a Fellow of King's in 1964. He became a Life Fellow upon his retirement in 1990. In 2001 "for the Promotion of Oriental Studies" he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Peter Avery's publications include translations of the Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam, of 'Attar's Mantiq al-tayr and of the poems of Hafiz, as well as Modern Iran, published in 1965.
He served on the Editorial Board of the definitive, multi-volume Cambridge History of Iran, and edited the final volume, "From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic", published in 1991.
King's Provost Ross Harrison said, 'Peter's death means the passing of a unique and utterly distinctive aspect of life at King's.'
A Requiem Mass was held at 12 noon in King's College Chapel on Friday 24 October, followed by a Private Committal Service at Cambridge Crematorium. A Memorial Service will be held in King's College Chapel at 2.30pm on Saturday 7 March.
Posted: 7 October 2008
Climate change event: listen to the debate, join the discussion
A panel discussion called 'Climate Change: Insight from King's' was held on 30 September in London for King's Fellows and alumni. Experts from King's discussed insights stemming from their academic research and explored the scientific, economic and political aspects of climate change.
The panel included Lord Martin Rees (President of the Royal Society and Astronomer Royal), John Young (Professor of Applied Thermodynamics), Alexander Orlov (Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, State University of New York) and Michael Grubb (Chief Economist at the UK Carbon Trust and member of the independent Committee on Climate Change).
Participants at 'Climate Change: Insight from King's', clockwise from top left: Herbert Huppert, Lord Rees, Michael Grubb, Alexander Orlov, John Young
Kin'g College library houses a unique collection of books on climate change and global warming. See the Global Warming Collection pages.
Posted: 7 October 2008
Chapel undergoes routine repairs
Following a recent survey, repairs are currently underway to the fabric of the Chapel (the cladding as opposed to the structure of the Chapel). This is the first year of a major proposed ten-year programme of work, which will gradually progress around the Chapel.
The scaffolding also allows for further investigation into the condition of the masonry and stained glass. The work has been generously funded by King's Fellow Commoner, Robin Boyle (KC 55) and is being supervised by Henry Freeland of architects Freeland Rees Roberts. The scaffolding will be in place until approximately the end of January.
Posted: 29 September 2008
King’s catering gets top marks
A recent survey has rated the King’s catering and conferences services as 'excellent'.
The survey was conducted over 18 months among event organisers booking the College for events (from small dinner parties in the Saltmarsh Room to corporate and academic dinners in Hall). It asked them to score factors like the friendliness of the catering staff, the quality of the food and the efficiency of the organisation. No less than 82% said the service was 'excellent', 12% rated it as 'good', and only 2% as 'fair'. There were no ‘poor’ ratings.
"This stands as testament to the great commitment of the catering staff", said Catering Manager Jason Waterfield, "and I believe these results can only improve. The team are amazing and I am both proud and fortunate to have such a dedicated bunch of individuals to work with".
Posted: 29 September 2008
Concerts at King's programme announced
Concerts at King's is an annual series of concerts organised by the Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury. The 2008-9 programme includes works spanning 300 years, from Purcell and Haydn to Elgar and the contemporary composer Robin Holloway. The programme also includes an evening of English song and poetry, with readings of A.E Houseman and of former King's student Rupert Brooke.
Performers will include the Philharmonia Orchestra, the King's College Choir and the King's quartet in residence, the Dante Quartet.
For details and how to book see the full programme.
Posted: 12 September 2008
King's announces Research Fellowship competitions
King's has announced the 2008-9 competition for Junior Research Fellowships. Each year the College appoints four Junior Research Fellows, the subjects varying each year. The 2008-9 competitions are in:
- Pure mathematics and mathematical statistics
- Literary studies/literary theory
These prestigious Fellowships are organised by the College Research Committee, and support young researchers for four years. During this time, the successful applicants have complete freedom to carry out their research in the College. Students from any university can enter, as long as they have done a PhD and not more than two years of postdoctoral work by 1 October 2009.
For students with their own financial support, the Research Committee also offers Non-Stipendiary Research Fellowships, in any subject.
For details of these, and how to apply for the current competitions, see the Junior Research Fellowships page.
Posted: 5 September 2008
Hal Dixon Memorial Service
Members of the college will be sad to learn that Dr Hal Dixon passed away on Wednesday 30 July, aged 80.
Hal had been a fellow of King's since 1953 and was Vice-Provost from 1981 to 1986. A memorial service will be held in the Chapel on Saturday 18 October at 2.30pm.
Posted: 26 August 2008
Local artists exhibit at King's Art Centre
The King's Art Centre will be hosting a series of exhibitions by local artists. The Michaelmas term exhibition will feature the work of the Cambridge-based artist Richard Swift (www.richardswift.net).
If you are an artist based in the East Anglia region and would like to exhibit at the Arts Centre, contact the Centre co-ordinator Don Stubbs: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: 7 August 2008
Award for the Director of Music
The Director of Music at King's, Stephen Cleobury (left), has been made a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music. A ceremony was held to mark his award, which recognised his 'distinguished services to church music'.
Posted: 7 August 2008
New Communications Director at King's
Charlotte Sankey has been appointed Communications Director at King's. This is a new post in the College, and Charlotte will be co-ordinating the College website, editing publications such as King's Parade, and looking at other external-facing aspects of the College.
Charlotte comes from a career in publishing and journalism, and was the founder of the local magazine Cambridge Agenda.
Posted: 7 August 2008
Lord Rees elected Honorary Fellow
Martin Rees (Lord Rees of Ludlow) has been elected Honorary Fellow of King's. Rees was a Fellow of King's until becoming Master of Trinity in 2002.
He is arguably the most eminent and respected astrophysicist in the world, being Astronomer Royal, President of The Royal Society and a working Peer. In addition, said Fellows Ann Davis and Herbert Huppert, "he is a thoroughly decent person".
Posted: 6 August 2008
Premier of new composition
The world premier of the new work This Paradise by composer Roxanna Panufnik (right) was performed at King's last May by the Dante Quartet and King's Choral Scholars.
Roxanna is a well-loved contemporary composer, respected for her creativity, spiritual sensibilities and love of words. The concert represented the culmination of the Dante Quartet's highly successful year in residence at King's 2007/8.
Posted: 6 August 2008
First Bursar vacancy
King's College, Cambridge wishes to appoint a First Bursar in succession to Martin Reavley who has been appointed the Director of the University of Cambridge's Research Services Division. The College is looking for someone able to start on 1 January 2009 or as soon as possible thereafter. Applications should be made before 8 September and be posted to the Provost, King's College, Cambridge, CB2 1ST or sent by email to . Particulars and a description of the application process is available on the vacancies section of the King's website.
Posted: 5 August 2008
New 'A' frames for the College
Carpenter Ian Sutherland (left) puts the finishing touches to a new set of 'A' frames now in use to display information around the College.
Ian has worked for King's for 23 years. He communicates with colleagues by lip reading as he has been profoundly deaf since childhood as a result of meningitis.
Posted: 5 August 2008
New website for King's members
King's college and the King's College Association have launched a new website which will make keeping in touch far easier.
Exclusive to King's members, www.kingsmembers.org is password-protected with an online directory of members. It is ideal for social and professional networking. Members can also link from it to other networking sites such as LinkedIn, Flickr and Facebook. It is a convenient place for members to register and pay for events, to see who is attending events as well as make donations.
All Non Resident Members have been registered to the site and are able to update their personal information. If you have not yet received your username and password, please contact Sue Turnbull at email@example.com.
Posted: 5 August 2008
Monks make a mandala in the Chapel
King's hosted eight Tibetan monks for four days while they created a mandala in the Chapel. The mandala - or holy image - was made of coloured sands and represented the impermenance of life.
Once completed, the mandala was swept up and poured into the River Cam. The chapel was packed with visitors, including local schoolchildren, who watched the destruction ceremony in silence.
Posted: 5 August 2008
New stone installed with China's best-known poem
A white marble stone has been installed at the back of King's bearing a verse from the China's best-known poem. 'Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again' is by arguably the greatest poet of 20th century China, Xu Zhimo, and has an emotional place in many Chinese people's hearts.
Xu Zhimo wrote the poem on the King's College Backs, and it is thought that the golden willow of the poem is the tree that stands beside the bridge at King's, near to where the stone has been installed. This poem is one which most educated Chinese know and many feel deeply moved by. It provides a bridge between China and Cambridge, and King's in particular. Many Chinese students think of this poem when leaving Cambridge.
Xu Zhimo died in 1931 at the young age of 36 in an air crash. He studied Politics and Economics 1921-2 and was associated with King's through Goldsworthy Llowes Dickinson. It was in Cambridge that, under the influence of poets such as Keats and Shelley, he began to write poetry.
A friend of Cambridge in China arranged for the stone to be inscribed with the first two and last two lines of the poem and brought to Cambridge. It is made of white Beijing marble (the same stone used to construct the Forbidden City in Beijing) as a symbol of the continuing links between King's and China.
Posted: 8 July 2008
King's widens its net to Europe
29% of 2007 offers to students from outside the UK.
King’s is well known for breaking the mould of the type of students it accepts, and for seeking the best candidates irrespective of background. Now, under the present Senior Tutors, the College has moved to extend its search for excellent candidates beyond the UK, in particular to other EU countries.
Over the past three years, the College has developed contacts with schools in France, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands; Poland and the Baltic States have also provided a number of excellent applicants. This has had an impact: 29% of offers made in the 2007 admissions round went to students from schools outside the UK. Before the campaign, the figure was around 10%. The University-wide average is 15%.
In the 19th century, under Provost Okes (best known for admitting the first non-Etonian fellows and students, and requiring King’s students to take University exams), King’s was amongst the first colleges to admit non-conformists to the University. In recent decades the emphasis has been on access for students from UK state schools, and from backgrounds without a tradition of applying to Cambridge.
Why is King’s doing this? “Primarily it is an extension of the long tradition of seeking the best candidates, from wherever they come”, says joint Senior Tutor, Geoff Moggridge. “Half of our graduate students coming from outside the UK and many of our academics. It seems odd that our undergraduates are so unremittingly British. Globalisation means that attending a university abroad is increasingly common.”
“Of course we will continue to recruit the best students from British state and independent schools, but few Cambridge colleges are actively seeking applications from the EU,” said Moggridge. “We believe we have hit a rich vein of talent which can only add to the intellectual quality of King's”.
Meanwhile work has been going on to give school pupils a taste of life at King's. This spring King's had contact with around 200 individual schools from both the independent and state sectors across Britain and the EU. Much of the activity was organised by Schools' Liaison Officer, Catherine Dougherty: “We had contact with 1,446 school students,193 teachers and 123 parents. In addition, the King's College Students' Union made their annual Access Bus tour to three different local authorities”, she said. “The College is committed to admitting students of the highest intellectual potential, irrespective of their backgrounds, to Cambridge.”
Posted: 8 July 2008
Former chaplain, Pat Magee, dies age 93
The Reverend Canon Patrick Magee, chaplain at King's 1946-1952, has died at the age of 93. Magee studied at King's as a choral scholar in 1934 and read history and classics. At other points in his career, Magee was a Minister in Halifax and Kingston-upon-Thames, and Chaplain at Bryanston School and Tiffin School and a non-residentiary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral. He lived in Salisbury.
An Evensong in memory of Pat Magee will be held in King's Chapel on 15 November, 5.30pm.
Posted: 8 July 2008
How long does it take to change your mind?
Clare Lewis (second from right) and friends from Blyth Community College, Northumberland, fall for King's
Within half an hour of arriving at King's on an access visit, Clare Lewis, a pupil at Blyth Community College in Northumberland, had rethought her plans for university. "I was thinking about going to a local university because then I could live at home and travel in every day on the bus, which would keep the costs down," she said.
"But now I have changed my mind completely and, if my AS grades are good enough, I am going to apply to Cambridge to study science. You'd work hard and it would be good to be living in such a beautiful place. It would be so great to say you had a degree from Cambridge too.
Blyth Community College is a comprehensive that serves an area with above average unemployment still recovering from the loss of traditional industries. The proportion of pupils achieving five or more A*-C (including English and Maths) at GCSE has risen from 18 per cent in 2003 to 28 per cent in 2007, but still lags behind the national average of 48 per cent.
Sixteen-year-old Clare was one of 78 academically-able pupils from nine different state schools in Durham, Northumberland and Teesside who visited Cambridge last week as guests of King's. The college works closely with schools in the North East in conjunction with the government initiative Aimhigher.
Few of the pupils or the teachers who accompanied them had visited Cambridge before. Many of these high-achieving youngsters will be the first in their families to go to university, and come from schools without a strong history of making Cambridge applications.
"The most effective method of encouraging them to look at their widest options in terms of higher education is to take them to see leading institutions and meet students already studying there. I expected that the atmosphere at Cambridge would be competitive but the people we've met have been really down to earth. It makes me feel that I could fit in here," said Alexandra Ellis, 17 (pictured left), a pupil at Carmel Roman Catholic College in Darlington, a school where academic achievement is on a par with the national average.
Each year Catherine Dougherty, School Liaison Officer at King's, hosts visits from around 1,000 pupils and 60 schools (in addition to visits out to schools and colleges), working with a team of around 40 student volunteers to shatter the stereotypes. I see attitudes changing on a daily basis. In their feedback forms pupils tell us that they arrive expecting us all to be 'upper class' and that the University will be 'out-of-reach and cold', with strict schedules and rules,' said Catherine.
"When they leave pupils tell us they now view Cambridge differently, as a friendly place with a strong sense of community. Teachers can arrive with similar expectations and so it's as much a pleasure to welcome staff new to the Cambridge environment to King's as it is their students."
Claire Horsborough, who teaches French at St Leonard's RC Comprehensive School in Durham, where standards exceed national expectations, was one of the teachers to accompany pupils to King's College last week. "Catherine Dougherty plays a vital role in being the friendly and welcoming face of Cambridge. She gives pupils the factual information they need, takes their questions seriously but also helps them relax," she said.
"There's a danger that pupils like ours will think because they are from working class backgrounds and go to comprehensives that Cambridge is not for them. After spending 24 hours at King's they know there's nothing to stop them applying; they have the academic potential and the enthusiasm, and they just need to go for it."
For more about applying to King's click on 'Admissions' at the top of this page.
Posted: 11 April 2008
King's is delighted to welcome Dr Anjali Goswami as a Junior Research Fellow in Paleobiology, Lord Rees of Ludlow as an Honorary Fellow, and Robin Boyle and Prabir Kumar 'Sunny' Pal as Fellow Commoners.
Posted: 8 January 2008
King’s welcomes cattle back to Grantchester
King’s is pleased to announce that cattle will continue to graze the ancient meadows of Grantchester, a tradition that goes back centuries, while appealing to the public to help look after this Cambridge beauty spot. The College has owned the Meadows since 1452, when it purchased the land from the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the time. Its new tenant is Angelika von Heimendahl, a local vet who is looking for additional grazing for her expanding herd of distinctive Red Poll cattle, a breed native to East Anglia, which currently graze Midsummer Common.
"We are delighted that the new tenancy allows King’s to keep the aesthetic character of the Meadows with the presence of the red cattle, as well as support high quality local food production," said Charlotte Sankey, Communications Director at King’s. "Grantchester Meadows are famous for their beauty and have been immortalised in the words of Rupert Brooke (a King's student) and Pink Floyd. King’s would like to retain that character for as long as possible and for the public to continue to enjoy it". King’s also leases its land along the Backs, Scholars’ Piece, to a local farmer for grazing rare White Park cattle, for a peppercorn rent.
It is not generally known that King’s College owns Grantchester Meadows. Letting the Meadows has been a challenge due to the levels of public access and the disruptive behaviour of a minority of visitors. The previous tenant frequently had to repair fences after illegal raves and unauthorised camping, and replace fence posts ripped out to burn on campfires.
"It would be a shame if continuing misuse and vandalism made it impossible to graze the Meadows with livestock, due to rising costs for King’s and its tenants in repairing the damage. These pressures threaten the future management and enjoyment of the land, a serious concern for the College" said James Ingram of Savills, who manages the College’s agricultural property. "We are grateful to members of the local community who help by clearing up litter, disposable barbeques and glass, and help keep an eye on the welfare of the cattle. We ask visitors to respect these ancient meadows and not to leave litter or damage the land with fires."
He added: "It is fantastic to be able to let the Meadows to someone so enthusiastic about producing quality meat for local markets, and willing to graze this land."
Red Polls, now a rare breed, are ideal for areas with significant public access due to their docile nature. They are inquisitive and like people but should not be disturbed, especially when lying down, as this is not good for their digestion. Beef produced from the Red Polls is currently sold through Waller & Sons butchers in Victoria Avenue in Cambridge, at Cambridge and Impington farmers’ markets, and through an online box scheme.
Posted: 1 January 2008