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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Studying Architecture at Cambridge

Outside Emmanuel College
Once I had become familiarised with college routines I had to turn my attention to the School of Architecture based at 1-3, Scroope Terrace: three Georgian houses at the top of Trumpington Street in Cambridge. It consisted of three floors of studios, lecture rooms, library and staff accommodation. There was also a small shop where you could purchase equipment, including second-hand drawing boards. Standard architectural equipment in those days consisted of drawing board, T-square, set-square, pencils, drawing pens, rubbers and watercolour paints.

The number of architectural students in the whole University was no more than about 20 so you can imagine there weren't many in each college. The only other student from my college was a dependent of the founder of the college itself, Sir Walter Mildmay. He was also called Walter and the two of us shared the next three years within the college, the department and even in the Boat Club.

My tutor in the department was Mr Alex Hardy who saw me through three years of study. The School of Architecture was not, at that time, fully recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). After three years its students had to gain entry into another architectural school for the final two years of study. Cambridge was more academically minded with History of Architecture more prominent than innovative design. By the time I had completed the course things had changed dramatically. A new Professor had been installed, Leslie Martin, who had achieved fame as the designer of the Royal Festival Hall.

My final two years were spent at Durham University's School of Architecture, based in Newcastle. My tutor, Alex Hardy, suggested I apply. I am very grateful to him because it was during those two years in Newcastle that I met my future wife, Eileen.

7 comments:

  1. It's good to see another installment Trish. It seems as if our fathers' paths were actually quite different once National Service was over. MY dad went into the Drawing Office where he had been taken on , just before being called up. He was an engineering draughtsman, and worked for Smiths Industries for his entire working life, although he did end up as a Engineering Sales Director. I look forward to more episodes in your dad's life. Best wishes, J.

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    1. Our dads might have had different careers but interestingly when my dad met my mum she was a tracer in a drawing office for a big engineering research firm in Newcastle. And, funnily enough, my husband's father was a draughtsman for an engineering firm in Edinburgh. So we still have some connections!

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    2. That's interesting... so, there are more connections. Actually, I have only just noticed the Newcastle connection.... the gorgeous drawing at the top of your dad's blog shows the waterfront area by the bridge in Newcastle.....and my father -in-law ( also recently deceased) had his first job in a bank in that parade of buildings, just by the bridge. In fact, he remembered the railway bridge being constructed. He was there in the late 1920s I think. Some of my mothers' family are also from the north east. I still have cousins in Chester-le St and Birtley....what a small world. J.

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  2. I hope you're getting as much pleasure out of transcribing these as I do my Uncle's letters. It's lovely to know when your parents met!

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    1. I don't type them up as often as I should but when I open his book and start to read it's so lovely to have him back with me again.

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  3. The photograph is wonderful. Even more wonderful is how your Dad met your Mum! :)

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    1. Isn't it a great pic. I took a photo of Rory sitting on the same wall when we last visited Cambridge. There weren't half as many bikes in the photo.

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