Social Programme

Social events

WELCOME RECEPTION at The Fitzwilliam Museum

Wednesday 28 August at 19:00

The Fitzwilliam Museum was described by the Standing Commission on Museums & Galleries in 1968 as “one of the greatest art collections of the nation and a monument of the first importance”. It owes its foundation to Richard, VII Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion who, in 1816, bequeathed to the University of Cambridge his works of art and library, together with funds to house them, to further “the Increase of Learning and other great Objects of that Noble Foundation”. In recent years, the Museum’s traditional base of support from alumni and private collectors has been augmented by generous provision from the National Art Collections Fund and other charitable organisations and public bodies, including H M Treasury (under the provision for the allocation to Museums of works of art accepted in lieu of capital taxes). Today, the Museum pursues a vigorous acquisitions policy as one aspect of its abiding commitment to hold the nation’s “treasures in trust”. The Standing Commission’s view is both echoed and expanded by the University itself: “The Fitzwilliam Museum is one of the greatest glories of the University of Cambridge. It is a museum of international stature, with unique collections most splendidly housed… Like the University itself, the Fitzwilliam Museum is part of the national heritage, but, much more, it is part of a living and continuing culture which it is our statutory duty to transmit”. Few museums in the world contain on a single site collections of such variety and depth. Writing in his Foreword to the catalogue of the exhibition for Treasures from the Fitzwilliam which toured the United States in 1989-90, the then Director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, wrote that “like the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam addresses the history of culture in terms of the visual forms it has assumed, but it does so from the highly selective point of view of the collector connoisseur. Works of art have been taken into the collection not only for the historical information they reveal, but for their beauty, excellent quality, and rarity… It is a widely held opinion that the Fitzwilliam is the finest small museum in Europe”.

DUXFORD RECEPTION at The AirSpace Aircraft Hall at Duxford IWM

Thursday 29 August – Coach transport departs Queens Road, Cambridge at 19:00

IWM Duxford is set within the spacious grounds of the famous former First and Second World War airfield. Wander under and around some of the most iconic aircraft in the world. IWM Duxford is home to an impressive collection of over two hundred aircraft as well as tanks, military vehicles and boats. Opened in 2007, AirSpace tells the story of British and Commonwealth aviation. Its Aircraft Hall is home to over 30 aircraft including an iconic Spitfire, a legendary Lancaster and the fastest-ever Concorde. The aerodrome at Duxford was built during the First World War and was one of the earliest Royal Air Force stations. During 1917 the Royal Flying Corps expanded and Duxford was one of a number of new stations established to train RFC aircrew. In September 1918 RAF Duxford opened as a flying school, and after the war ended the airfield was used as a base for the disbandment of squadrons from the Continent. In 1924, under reorganised Home Defence arrangements, RAF Duxford became a fighter station, a role it was to carry out with distinction for 37 years. By 1938 the reputation of RAF Duxford’s No.19 Squadron was such that it became the first RAF squadron to re-equip with the new Supermarine Spitfire, and the first Spitfire was flown into RAF Duxford in August 1938. In June 1940 RAF Duxford was placed in a high state of readiness. The period of intense air fighting that followed has become known as the Battle of Britain, and RAF Duxford played a vital role in Britain’s air defence. In April 1943 the airfield was fully handed over to the United States 8th Air Force, which had begun to arrive in Britain the previous May. RAF Duxford now became Base 357 and the headquarters of the 78th Fighter Group. RAF Duxford was officially handed back to the Royal Air Force on 1 December 1945. In July 1961 the last operational flight was made from RAF Duxford, and for some 15 years the future of the airfield remained in the balance. IWM had been looking for a suitable site for the storage, restoration and eventual display of exhibits too large for its headquarters in London and obtained permission to use the airfield for this purpose. Cambridgeshire County Council joined with IWM and the Duxford Aviation Society, and in 1977 bought the runway to give the abandoned aerodrome a new lease of life. Today IWM Duxford is established as the European centre of aviation history. The historic site, outstanding collections of exhibits and regular world-renowned Air Shows combine to create a unique museum where history really is in the air.


Friday 30 August at 19:00 – Booking is required – Please book when registering for the conference. Please see under the Registration tab for further information in regard to purchasing tickets for this event.

Henry VI (1421-1471) founded King’s College in 1441. The College’s buildings were intended to be a magnificent display of the power of royal patronage, and Henry went to great lengths to ensure that King’s College Chapel would be unequalled in size and beauty. But Henry’s full plans were never carried out. Most of the original College buildings were on the north and east sides of the Chapel and have long since been demolished.

The EFA2013 Dinner will be held on the Back Lawn of King’s College and the view over the Back Lawn is probably one of the most famous sights in Cambridge. There is a striking contrast between the late Gothic architecture of the chapel and the classical facade of the Gibbs building.

King’s College Chapel is one of the most famous medieval buildings in England. The foundation stone was laid in 1446 and it took over a century to build which included an interruption by the War of the Roses. It was final completed in 1547. There used to be another chapel north of the existing one, which was built when the College was founded. It collapsed without warning one evening in 1536-7, just after vespers. There is no trace of it left.

In 1461 Henry VI was deposed. When the news reached College, the masons gathered up their tools and walked away, uncertain that they would continue to be paid. You can see how far the walls had been completed by that time by looking at the buttresses. Each buttress has a well-defined line where the stone below is whiter than the stone above. The height where the colour of the stone changes is different on each buttress. The whiter stone is from a quarry given to the College by Henry VI. When building was resumed a different quarry was used, with darker stone.

During the Second World War the College responded to a threat of imminent invasion by mobilising all the chamber-pots in the College, with a view to housing evacuated children in the Chapel. The College had already taken the precaution of removing all the medieval stained glass from the windows. They replaced it with tar paper, which rattled thunderously, and a small bit of plain glass to let in light. Replacement of the stained glass was not complete until 1950, due to conservation works.

The Chapel houses The Adoration of the Magi by Rubens, painted in 1634 for the Convent of the White Nuns at Louvain in Belgium. The Chapel is probably best known for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast around the world on Christmas Eve.

In dry weather you can see a small square ‘crop-mark’ just west of the Chapel where the foundations of a wooden bell tower lie under the grass. This tower was built as a temporary accommodation for bells given to the College by Henry VI. The tower was demolished in 1739 and the five bells were finally sold for scrap in 1755. The proceeds helped pay for the Gibbs’ Building.

The Back Lawn area served various functions in the past. There was a bowling green by the river, a secluded garden for the Fellows, a walled kitchen garden, and the College had its own brewery just in front of where the Gibbs’ Building now stands. After the Chapel, Gibbs’ is the second oldest building in College. When masons stopped working in 1461 they left a large block of stone in the Front Court. This stone was laid as the foundation stone for the Gibbs Building, named after its architect James Gibbs , and begun in 1724. It is constructed in White Portland Stone. It was the only part to be built of a large scheme that Gibbs designed, which was planned to include similar buildings on the south and east side of the front court. The Gibbs’ Building now contains Fellows’ rooms, the Tutorial Office and the Turing Room (student computer room). The poet Rupert Brooke lived two years in the rooms on the bottom left of the Gibbs’ Building (‘E’ staircase).

The Backs is the name given to the strip of land on the opposite side of the river to King’s and its neighbouring colleges. The area of the Backs behind King’s is called Scholars’ Piece. This area is home to a herd of cattle, an unusual sight in the centre of a city.

In the 15th century the stretch of river which now runs through King’s College was the very heart of the town of Cambridge. Henry VI had to give a £26-a-year tax break to the town for compulsorily taking the land and demolishing the quayside and buildings. The lumps under the trees are probably the remains of medieval Cambridge.