Building and refurbishment projects
Many of the new buildings, repairs and refurbishments that have taken place over the past decades have only been made possible thanks to the generosity of donors.
With the help of donations from alumnae and friends, as well as the Kaetsu Educational Foundation in Tokyo, this accommodation building, containing 112 en-suite bedrooms, was completed in 1995. Some donors chose to furnish a room in New Block, and a plaque at the door gratefully acknowledges their gifts. The building was renamed Pearl House in 2008 to honour Dr Valerie Pearl’s achievements as the College’s second President from 1981 to 1995.
1995 also saw the completion of the Vivien Stewart Room (a large lecture and seminar room) the entrance rotunda, and ‘goldfish bowl’ Porters’ Lodge (as it was known at the time!). This provided the College, at last, with a proper entrance.
When cracks began spreading in the original Buckingham House, engineers discovered that the foundations were not only seriously flawed, but the house was built on a site pock-marked with 19th century mineshafts. The decision was made to rebuild Buckingham House as a much bigger accommodation block, including seminar rooms and a 150-seat lecture theatre. Donations from friends and alumnae helped to fund everything from en-suite bedrooms and communal kitchens, to new furniture and bike sheds. Alumnae also named seats in the lecture theatre on the ground floor of Buckingham House.
Although a very exciting piece of Grade II* listed architecture, the Dome had many practical problems, which became a matter of urgency in 2001. The underfloor heating was broken, gaps had appeared between the translucent panes of ‘petals’ in the ceiling, lighting was inadequate, and the kitchens needed complete refurbishment to meet Health & Safety standards.
In 2002 the new-look Dome was unveiled – revealing a lighter, more modern, warmer space, which is now a venue for plays, events and concerts as well as meals. The rising servery was refurbished, and new kitchens, a larger servery and wine store were also added. A plaque at the entrance to the Dome commemorates invaluable contributions from alumnae and friends.
In 2002 the Librarian noticed cracks spreading across the concrete in the Library ceiling at an alarming rate. Further investigation showed that the steel cable inside one of concrete beams holding the roof together was cracking at the centrespan. The Library had to be evacuated, and scaffolding and plastic sheeting were erected immediately. Full repairs cost over £1million. Alumnae and friends generously supported the Dame Rosemary Murray 90th Birthday Challenge Appeal for the library to help us reach this target, and the library is now restored to its former glory. A plaque at the entrance to the Library recognises these generous donors.
Our IT Resource Centre was opened in 2002 in the basement of Fountain Court, adjoining the newly refurbished Library. Donations from a number of alumnae and friends of the College contributed toward this project and are recorded on a plaque in the Centre. This continues to provide a vital resource for our students, as the internet becomes more important in the teaching methods used across the University.
Alumnae and friends generously sponsored all 40 bedrooms in this new post-graduate accommodation building. A plaque at the door of each room gratefully acknowledges their contribution. Canning and Eliza Foks’ wonderfully generous donation of £1.5million named the building, which it is hoped will encourage more post-graduate students to study at Murray Edwards College.
Murray Edwards College/New Hall is a Registered Charity (Registration No. 1137530).