Clare Hall, Cambridge

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Clare Hall is a College for Advanced Study in the University of Cambridge. It was founded by Clare College in 1966, and received its own Royal Charter as an independent college in the university in 1984.

Clare Hall is an independent College but, like other colleges, it is part of the University of Cambridge and many of its senior members hold appointments in faculties of the University

Informality is a defining value at Clare Hall and this contributes to its unique character. Unlike other colleges in the university, Clare Hall does not have a high table at meals or a senior common room, and it is a single society for all social functions and in the use of the various college common rooms and other facilities. This encourages interaction between graduate students, distinguished visiting fellows and other senior members, aided also by the wide variety of national backgrounds and research interests of the members.


Foundation and History

The founding of Clare Hall was an act of remarkable generosity and foresight by the Master and Fellows of Clare College. Inspired by the concept of a centre for advanced study, their vision was to create a social group of men and women with their families, that would include graduate students studying for a higher degree in the university, research fellows working at post-doctoral level, permanent fellows holding faculty or research posts in the university, and visiting fellows who are on leave from their faculty positions in universities around the world.

After deciding to establish this new centre for advanced study in January 1964, the initial planning was carried through by a small group of fellows of Clare College, chaired by the Master, Sir Eric Ashby (later to become Lord Ashby of Brandon). It was soon agreed that the new centre would be called Clare Hall, the ancient name by which the college itself had been known for more than five hundred years until its modern title was adopted in the mid 19th century.

New Buildings

In addition to the gift of its ancient name, Clare College provided a generous gift of land and buildings in Herschel Road and an initial endowment, complemented by a substantial endowment from the Old Dominion Foundation. The distinguished architect Ralph Erskine was appointed to design the buildings for Clare Hall, which were to include common rooms, offices and dining facilities, a house for the President and twenty apartments for visiting fellows. A neighbouring house, Elmside in Grange Road, provided rooms for the relatively small number of graduate students.

Sir Eric Ashby, Master of Clare College and Vice-Chancellor of the University, formally opened the new buildings of Clare Hall in September 1969. The Pippard family had already moved into the Presidentís house, twelve research students were living on the college site in Elmside and a number of visiting fellows with their families were living in the newly built college apartments. Amongst the early visiting fellows was Ivor Gaevor, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1973. Joseph Brodsky, a visiting fellow and poet in residence at Clare Hall in 1977, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987.

Presidents Past and Present

The Presidentís term of office is fixed at seven years and in 1973 Robert Honeycombe (later Sir Robert), Goldsmiths Professor and Head of the Department of Metallurgy, succeeded Brian Pippard as President of Clare Hall. Subsequent Presidents were: Sir Michael Stoker (1980-87), Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society and a former fellow and medical tutor at Clare College, who had taken early retirement from his post as Director of the Imperial Cancer Research Laboratories; Anthony Low (1987-94), Professor of Commonwealth History and formerly Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, who had been a visiting fellow of Clare Hall in 1971; Professor Dame Gillian Beer (1994-2001), King Edward VII Professor of English Literature. Professor Ekhard Salje FRS, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences, became President of Clare Hall in 2001 after holding professorships in Germany and in France.

The late Lord Ashby was elected as the first honorary fellow of Clare Hall in 1975, on his retirement from the Mastership of Clare College. Present honorary fellows include two former visiting fellows: Kim Dae-Jung, President of the Republic of Korea; and Lee Bollinger, who later became President of the Universities of Michigan and Columbia . They also include the retired Presidents of the college, together with Ralph Erskine, architect of the early buildings, and Richard Eden, one of the founding fellows.

Growth and Development

In 1978, a second neighbouring house, now called Leslie Barnett house, was obtained for graduate student accommodation. This purchase also allowed the Michael Stoker and Brian Pippard Buildings to be built in the college grounds, providing further student rooms. The Anthony Low Building in the garden of Elmside was completed in 2000 and provides further common rooms and the Garden Bar for the graduates on the main college site.

In the summer of 1996 the college purchased a substantial property, formerly the Cambridge family home of Lord Rothschild, which is about five minutes walk from the college at the end of Herschel Road. It was renamed Clare Hall West Court and, after conversion and some major building works, now provides public rooms, studies, apartments, study bedrooms, a fitness centre, swimming pool, and a tennis court.

External link

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