Visitors to the Graduation Day display
On Saturday 30th June, we were delighted to be part of the Graduation Day celebrations of Churchill College’s most recent graduates. The Archives Centre was open in the afternoon, for graduates and their guests to follow lunch on the lawn with a visit to an exhibition of specially-selected archival material. The range of archives on display included documents from the College’s own archives and from the papers of the College’s first Master, Professor Sir John Cockcroft. As this was a very special occasion, we also put on display Sir John’s Nobel Prize medal, in the box custom-made for it by our conservators. There were of course documents from the archives of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. With the Olympic Games opening soon, we were also pleased to show documents from the last Olympics to be held in Britain, the ‘Austerity Olympics’ of 1948. These items come from the papers of Philip Noel-Baker, the Labour M.P., peace campaigner, and athlete, who had ministerial responsibility for organizing the games. However, for some graduates the biggest draw was the famously strident letter sent to Winston Churchill by Francis Crick in 1961, tendering his resignation from the College in protest at the decision to build a chapel at Churchill. Crick, it should be explained, felt that the reasons to build a chapel could equally validly be applied to putting a brothel on College grounds, and decided to put this suggestion to the former Prime Minister…
The afternoon was very successful, with an estimated 120-150 people visiting the display. We wish all the College’s graduates all the very best in their future lives and careers, and hope they will come back to visit us as alumni!