The College was saddened to learn of the passing of Natasha Squire (1931-2024) at the age of 92. Natasha Squire and her husband Peter were the first residents of the first building on the Churchill College site in 1961. Peter Squire was a founding Fellow but Natasha was in many ways an honorary founder.

Russian by birth, Natasha was raised in Nazi-occupied Paris. The Cold War brought Natasha and her husband together, as both were Russian teachers in Cambridge for the government-sponsored Joint Services Language course. This course trained diplomats, intelligence officers, and military personnel. Among Natasha’s pupils were Alexander Todd, the Nobel chemist, who visited the Soviet Union several times, and Rodric Braithwaite, future British Ambassador in Moscow.

Natasha also taught Russian in the Department of Slavonic Studies to generations of students. She remained active and engaged with her Department, and was often present for events and celebrations, just as she so often was for Churchill College activities during the course of her life.

In addition, she was also an Emeritus Fellow of Lucy Cavendish, a college which she joined in 1966, and where she served as Senior Tutor, and in many other important roles.

Friends of Natasha spoke of her “love of life, her energy, her courage” and “enormous generosity of spirit and her overwhelming love for Churchill College”.

Between 2014 and 2016, she recorded several hours of wonderful oral history interviews in which she spoke movingly of her early days at Churchill, with reminiscences of the first Fellows and staff, and of the many events that took place in those early years. She played an active role then, and continued to play an active role throughout her life in creating a community at Churchill.  The oral histories, recounting her life from her wartime upbringing through to her time at Churchill College, are available at the Churchill Archives Centre.

Natasha was a familiar face to many on and around Churchill College campus and she will be greatly missed. Further details and reflections of the life of Natasha Squire will be published in the next annual Churchill Review.


Photograph: Natasha Squire in 2014, cutting into a replica of the cake she designed for the opening of Churchill College, provided courtesy of the Churchill College Archivist