Monday, 26 March 2018

Introducing Emma

In the past I've introduced you to Sidney, Selwyn and Peter, or to give them their full names Sidney Sussex College, Selwyn College and Peterhouse. But Emma? That had me fooled when I first encountered it at the University rowing competition, when many students were calling "Come on, Emma!" or "Go, Emma!". Not a boat-full of large, muscular men called Emma but the crew of Emmanuel College.


Emmanuel stands very much in the middle of Cambridge, right next to the bus station, but despite this it's not on the main tourist trail and local people don't seem to go there at all. Though it is usually open to visitors outside of exam time. Not only that but it's a really pleasant place to wander around and people always seem very friendly there.


The moment you enter you are confronted by its most famous piece of architecture, its Chapel. It's one of three buildings in Cambridge which were designed by Sir Christopher Wren, though it was designed in 1666, before Wren had become famous. Lets go and have a peek inside.


Inside all is cool and calm. It's not supposed to be one of Wren's better works though it looks fine to my untrained eye, with some amazing craftsmanship on view. 


How about that for a piece of wood-carving? Can you imagine starting out making an altar rail like that from a big lump of wood?


And, if you can get your eyes to travel away from the chandelier, there's a highly ornate ceiling.



The college was founded by Elizabeth I's Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1584, originally in buildings used by a Dominican Friary prior to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Some of those buildings still exist though they were made to fit in with the architecture of the chapel, which itself is connected to the other buildings nearby by the colonnades  pictured above.



After Emmanuel was founded there were no more new Cambridge colleges for more than 200 years. Then building began, just down the road, at Downing College. Strangely the two sites have a similar feel, buildings of honey-coloured stone with some unity of design and a feeling of spaciousness.


Even some of the most modern additions have some echoes of earlier designs while still creating a thoroughly modern impression.


But perhaps the crowning glory of Emmanuel College are its lovely gardens which are centred on a fish pond which was a feature of the old friary.


The pond still has some decent sized fish in it and is also home to several Mallards and Moorhens. At the moment there are two visiting scholars from Canada in the form of two Canada Geese!


Today was the first day when I felt that Spring was on the way with blossom beginning to break out all over and daffodils rapidly approaching their best.


We seem to have drifted away from the academic and the architectural but before I go I'll leave you with a list of some of the more famous people who've walked these lawns and cloisters:

John Harvard, founder of Harvard College which was originally conceived to be organised along the same lines as Emmanuel; Sebastian Faulks, novelist; Jeremiah Horrocks, early astronomer; Hugh Walpole, novelist; William Sancroft, Achbishop of Canterbury; Griff Rhys Jones, comedian and TV presenter; Cecil Parkinson, politician; F R Leavis, literary critic; Graham Chapman, Monty Python comedian; Maggie O'Farrell, novelist; Richard W Murphy, U S diplomat; Choudhry Rahmat Ali, one of the founders of the state of Pakistan; Gerald Davies, Welsh rugby player; Thomas Hooker, founder of the Colony of Connecticut; Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer; Clare Hammond, concert pianist; Dan Stevens, Downton Abbey actor; Thomas Young, polymath, said to have been the last man who knew everything; Alan Rouse, mountaineer; C Northcote Parkinson, the man who formulated Parkinson's Law; Michael Frayn, playwright and novelist; and also Lemuel Gulliver, fictitious hero of Gulliver's Travels was supposed to have attended Emmanuel College.


And now Dr C Goose!


Take care.



20 comments:

  1. Don't recall seeing that one in my Cambridge Open Day days

    ReplyDelete
  2. And Dr C Goose is very beautiful and admirable and knows much about the world. he raised my spirits too because I was thinking how I would never be part of such an eminent list but he made me smile and think 'who cares?'. To see connections between the architecture of Emmanuel and of Downing is a bit of a challenge though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh he's a dandy alright! Many of his cousins have been playing about at our local lake lately. I prefer the older architecture to that mod version. I've lost my love of modern apparently

    ReplyDelete
  4. Emma has beautiful workmanship for sure. Dr. Goose is a big ome!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This old architecture is extraordinary!

    ReplyDelete
  6. My only visits to Cambridge were to install equipment for the company I used to work for. One time at the Cavendish on the outskirts and another in the city though I cannot remember the building other that it having Natural history museum in it which I found fascinating. Really would like to visit again sometime

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you so much for giving us this tour! I love it all!

    ReplyDelete
  8. When I first saw the title of this post, I thought, "Wow, John got a doggie and named her Emma!" I love these views inside buildings I will never see with my own eyes. Quite beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What lovely grounds to walk around. The hand carved rail is pretty impressive, I can't imagine how long it took. A very cool looking Dr. Goose, I may say.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great photo of Dr. Goose. They really are handsome - it's just what they leave behind that's problematic. The wood carving on the rail is fantastic. Can't imagine how anyone could carve so skillfully. I have no feel for modern architecture. It always leaves me disappointed, but the old stuff is rich and wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It really does look quite beautiful and I am sure you were imbued with a sense of history as you explored. I have to say that I feel a good deal of chauvinistic pride when I see Dr. C. Goose - one of the sages of sages I am sure.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It sure is beautiful architecture and the gardens are lovely. Clever Goose too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a lovely place. Great photos, especially the goose.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm sure that is a very well-educated goose! It would be inspiring to go to college in such a beautiful and historical place.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Another great place that you share today! Thanks so much for the thought that you put into your posts :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Fantastic photographic report.
    I especially loved the picture NÂș 2 is wonderful.
    Greetings
    Maria de
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

    ReplyDelete
  17. J'adore Emma, I can't understand why not many tourists or locals visit. I'm thrilled that I got to see her here, merci beaucoup John ✨

    ReplyDelete
  18. So beautiful building and lovely place. Your photos are great.
    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  19. Most impressive. Wren was immensely talented (and he enlisted pretty good wood carvers and plasterers, too). So, two connections to me . . . John Harvard (I went to Harvard Law School) and Thomas Hooker (who is credited with leading the group who founded Connecticut, where I have lived for almost four decades, the last six or seven being only seasonally).

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).