Walking on the Grass, Dancing in the Corridors: Newnham at 150 will be published in Autumn 2021, forty years after the popular original.
Newnhamites have always had challenges to face. The first five young women gathered anxiously in a rented house overlooking Parker’s Piece in 1871, preparing to attend Lectures for Ladies. The College’s 50th birthday was celebrated with a dignified garden party in June 1921. Three months later every ounce of that dignity had to be mustered to face the damage inflicted by undergraduates on the Clough Gates and surrounding buildings, as the men celebrated the rejection of the proposal to make women full members of the University.
Preparations to celebrate the College’s 150th birthday gather pace in the wake of a global pandemic. The battle is on to deliver an effective and rewarding higher education in all its dimensions, despite quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing, restricted gatherings, and communications only on-screen, masks and gallons of hand sanitizer.
There are worse places in which to fight this battle than in the buildings and gardens of Newnham. Opportunities for dancing in the corridors may be restricted at present. It is still possible to walk on the grass. Memories and photographs are complemented by Jon Harris’s end-paper maps. Showing the stages in which the College was built, enfolding its gardens, the footprint is augmented with tiny sketches of key portions of those buildings.
This anthology of contemporary writing, photographs, recollections and reflections shows what the experience of life at Newnham has been and can be. It reminds alumnae of key phases, joyous and sad, difficult yet rewarding, in the long trajectory of growing up. For current students it offers glimpses of the objectives and overall ambition, however remote they may seem in the hazards of day-to-day existence. Share the experiences, the hopes and ambitions with us.
Order your hardback copy from Profile Editions at the special pre-publication price of £20, plus p&p.