Murray Edwards College, Cambridge
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|Colleges of the University of Cambridge
Murray Edwards College
|Full name||The President and Fellows of Murray Edwards College, founded as New Hall, in the University of Cambridge|
|Named after||Dame Rosemary Murray, Ros and Steve Edwards|
|President||Dame Barbara Stocking|
|Sister college||St Anne's College, Oxford|
|Location||Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, UK|
|Boat Club website|
Murray Edwards College is a women-only constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It was founded as "New Hall" in 1954, and unlike many other colleges, it was founded without a benefactor and did not bear a benefactor's name. This situation changed in 2008. Following a donation of £30 million by alumna Ros Edwards (née Smith) and her husband Steve Edwards, New Hall was renamed Murray Edwards College, honouring the donors and the first President, Dame Rosemary Murray.
New Hall was founded in 1954, housing sixteen students in Silver Street where Darwin College now stands. This was at a time when Cambridge had the lowest proportion of women undergraduates of any university in the United Kingdom, and when only two other colleges (Girton and Newnham) admitted women students.
In 1962, members of the Darwin family gave their home, "The Orchard", to the College. This new site was located on Huntingdon Road, about a mile from the centre of Cambridge. The architects chosen were Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, who are known for their design of the Barbican in London, and fundraising commenced. The building work began in 1964 and was completed in 1965. The new college could house up to 300 students.
In 1967, one of the College's PhD students, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, a researcher in the university radio astronomy group, discovered the first four pulsars, leading to a Nobel Prize for her supervisor, and for Jocelyn Bell-Burnell herself, ultimately a position as a Research Professor at the University of Oxford.
In 1975, the College's President Dame Rosemary Murray became the first woman to hold the post of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Since then, two subsequent presidents, Anne Lonsdale and Jennifer Barnes, have become Pro-Vice-Chancellors of the University of Cambridge.
Men-only Cambridge colleges were converted into mixed colleges in the 1970s and 1980s. Since the 2007 announcement that Oxford University's last remaining women-only college, St Hilda's, would admit men, Cambridge is the only university in the United Kingdom that partially maintains a female-only student admissions policy, represented by Newnham College, Murray Edwards College, and Lucy Cavendish College. The fellowship and staff at Murray Edwards College are nevertheless recruited from both sexes.
Arms and logo
New Hall received its Royal Charter in 1972. The Arms of the college are emblazoned as follows:
- Sable a Dolphin palewise head downwards to the dexter in chief three Mullets fesswise a Bordure embattled Argent
In plain English, this means: on a black background, place the following features in silver. Vertically in the centre, place a Dolphin with head downwards to the left. On top, place three stars horizontally across. Bordering the arms, place a square wave representing the battlements of a castle.
The black castellation round the arms marks the college's location on Castle Hill. The three stars are borrowed from the Murray coat of arms, while the heraldic Dolphin symbolises a youthful spirit of exploration and discovery, and a kindly intelligence.
In addition to the arms, the college had designed a new logo to mark its transition from New Hall to Murray Edwards College. It was based on the design of the interior of the dining hall (the "Dome") and was called the 'spark'. However, on consultation with its alumnae, the College decided to continue to use its arms in official materials.
Like many of the other Cambridge Colleges, Murray Edwards College was not built all at one time but expanded as the need arose, over several time periods. The College therefore has several accommodation blocks of differing styles. In order of construction:
- Orchard Court (also known as Old Block) recalls the original name of the grounds now occupied by the College, which was formerly known as The Orchard, a large house part-owned by Norah Barlow, granddaughter of Charles Darwin. It is divided into the Wolfson, Nuffield and Spooner Wings, named after donors to the College during its first few decades. Part of the original structure was designed in the 1960s and completed in 1965. In 2009, part of this block was refurbished to improve fire safety and living standards.
- Pearl House (formerly known as New Block), named after Dr Valerie Pearl, the second President of the College. The building was constructed with funding from the Kaetsu Foundation. All rooms are en suite. Wheelchair access is available to each floor via the central lift. Opened in 1994. First year undergraduates are usually accommodated in this block.
- Buckingham House. The current building was a replacement for another building of the same name that stood on this site, and was opened in 2001. All rooms are en suite. The building is wheelchair accessible and has a lift. Contains a 142 seat auditorium which is used for lectures, film festivals and concerts.
- Canning and Eliza Fok House is named after the Hong Kong entrepreneur Canning Fok and his wife Eliza Fok, who donated the funds for constructing this accommodation block. All rooms are en suite. The building is wheelchair accessible and has a lift. Opened in 2008. Canning and Eliza Fok House is specifically built to accommodate the growing population of graduate students at Murray Edwards, and has a large shared kitchen/living area between 8 bedrooms.
The first buildings of the College on Huntingdon Road were designed by the architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, and are listed Grade II* (particularly important buildings of more than special interest). This includes:
- The Dome
- The Fountain Court
- The Library
- Orchard Court
The College gardens have an informal style, initially planned and planted by the first president, Dame Rosemary Murray. The gardens include a greenhouse originally belonging to the estate of the Darwin family, where banana plants are now grown during the winter months.
In 2007, Murray Edwards College (then New Hall) became the first Cambridge College to participate in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  The theme of the presented garden was The Transit of Venus, and was awarded a Bronze Flora medal in the Chic Garden Category. After the show, this garden was recreated in a slightly larger form and is now displayed beside the library.
The gardens are maintained by professional staff, and recently also by fellows and students. Since 2012, gardening allotments are provided for fellows, undergraduates and postgraduates for growing herbs and vegetables, in addition to the flowers and herbs already planted by the gardeners.
Women's Art Collection
Murray Edwards is home to the New Hall Art Collection, the largest collection of women's art in Europe, and the second largest in the world (the largest being the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., USA).
The New Hall Art Collection was started in the early 1990s, when the College had few pieces of art and most of them were portraits of old gentleman. The College wrote to 100 women artists and asked each to donate one piece of art, and more than 75% of the artists approached agreed to give a piece of work. Donations have continued since, and the Art Collection now contains work by many famous women artists, including:
- Manel Abeysekera, diplomat
- Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, now Research Professor, University of Oxford, formerly researcher in the university radio astronomy group who discovered the first four pulsars
- Lisa Burke, TV weather presenter
- The Revd Sarah Coakley, theologian
- Mishal Husain, BBC World News anchor
- Clare Lawrence, actress
- Julia King, CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Aston, Birmingham
- Joanna MacGregor, concert pianist
- Hattie Morahan, actress
- Elizabeth Norton, writer and historian
- Sue Perkins, comedienne
- Dame Jessica Rawson DBE, FBA, former Warden of Merton College, Oxford
- Dame Barbara Stocking, DBE, Director of Oxfam, current President of the College (elected in 2013)
- Tilda Swinton, Academy Award winning actress
- Frances Vernon, novelist
- Claudia Winkleman, TV presenter and journalist
- Nicola Walker, actress
- Alumni of New Hall, Cambridge
- Fellows of New Hall, Cambridge
- Presidents of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge
- Murray Edwards College Boat Club
- "The Edwards' Endowment". Murray Edwards College website. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- "Dame Barbara Stocking DBE elected as fifth President". Murray Edwards College website. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- "Undergraduate Admissions: Murray Edwards College". University of Cambridge website. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- "Key Facts and Figures: Board of Graduate Studies: Board of Graduate Studies". University of Cambridge website. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- Polly Curtis "After 50 years as plain old New Hall, Cambridge college gets a £30m donation - and a new name", The Guardian, 18 June 2008. Retrieved on 18 June 2008.
- Official site FAQ
- Record £30 million gift provides a bright future for Cambridge College University of Cambridge Press release 18 June 2008
- "Single-sex colleges: a dying breed?". HERO. June 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
- Martin, Nicole (8 June 2006). "St Hilda's to end 113-year ban on male students". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- "Can sisters still do it by themselves?". The Independent (London). 1 August 2002. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- Official site FAQ
- Official Logo Image
- Orchard Court. Murray Edwards College website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- Pearl House. Murray Edwards College Website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- Building and Refurbishment Projects. Murray Edwards College website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- Buckingham House. Murray Edwards College Website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- Canning and Eliza Fok House. Murray Edwards College Website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- The Buildings. Murray Edwards College website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- New Hall to achieve Cambridge first at Chelsea Flower Show. University of Cambridge website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- Chelsea Flower Show 2007. Murray Edwards College website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- The Transit of Venus. RHS Chelsea Flower show 2007 website. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- "New Hall over the moon at Chelsea Flower Show 2007." University of Cambridge news. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- Murray Edwards MCR Allotment. Facebook Page. Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
- "What's the point of a museum of art by women?" The Guardian (London). 28 July 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
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