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  • Writer's pictureWF Flemington

WFF reminisces (in 1938)

When I came up in 1924 memories were still valid of those great days a few years before when Dr and Mrs Hughes with six men began the adventure in the house in Brookside. We heard of those days from one of the original six, Harold Roberts, who returned in 1924 as Assistant Tutor. We still felt rather strange in Cambridge but that year was important for us. Questions were being asked by passers-by about the new buildings rising behind hoardings in Jesus Lane. The House was not ready for occupation until the Easter Term of 1925. Dr and Mrs Hughes had now moved to 32 Jesus Lane. Thus for the first two terms of that year the fifteen men were scattered in different places. Some were in lodgings. Some enjoyed the hospitality of Cheshunt College. We dined together, sometimes at Fitzwilliam House, more often at Cheshunt. We met for Dr Hughes’ lectures at 24 Jesus Lane, the present Porter’s Lodge. We always gathered for coffee at the Principal’s House on the first and last evenings of each term. I well remember how one day in the spring of 1925 Dr Hughes took us over after a lecture to climb ladders and inspect our future quarters.

In April 1925 we entered our Promised Land. The Dining-Hall, Common-room, Library, A, B and part of C staircases were ready for use. The Principal’s Lodge and Chapel were not yet begun. Our Chapel was a room occupying the present position of the Chairman’s quarters. There we gathered for morning and evening prayers and the Friday service. Workmen were still busy on part of the building and the court was covered with mounds of earth and clay. A large tree then stood in the angle between A and B staircases. Some of us can still recall a midnight scene when one who is now a prominent London missioner ran round and round that tree in somewhat scanty attire! The practice of meeting at ten p.m. for tea and talk dates from the earliest period of residence in the House, though needless to say its modern designation has arisen in a later and more degenerate age!

The formal opening took place on Friday, October 23rd, 1925. There was Dedicatory Service at 12 noon, conducted by the President of the Conference and a Luncheon at the Lion Hotel at 1.15 at which speeches were made by the Vice-Chancellor and the Regius Professor of Divinity. In the evening a meeting was held at which addresses were given by several leading Methodists.

So began the corporate life of the House in these buildings. Not long afterwards most of my contemporaries and I departed to other scenes with a vivid remembrance of the years in Cambridge and especially of all that Dr and Mrs Hughes had done for us.


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