Principal's Blog: 17th November 2021

blogBowerscrop1University Tests Act 1871 Panel:
On 4 November Prof Abigail Green, Revd Prof William Whyte and Dr Frederick Smith joined a panel discussion of the University Tests Act 1871 of which the 150th anniversary is currently being celebrated. Each spoke on different aspects of that important legislation which freed up many posts in the university and Colleges to be occupied otherwise than by those in the Church of England. The speakers brought a contemporary approach to this issue by going on to look at what groups were currently excluded in the university. As luck would have it this event was closely followed by a multi faith dinner in the Medieval Kitchen called Faiths Together Brasenose meal organised by the chaplain. We hope that there will be further such events.

Derek Winterbottom:
Our alum Derek Winterbottom launched his book on the history of the College at a Principals Conversation on 10 November. He spoke engagingly about the Halls that combined to form the College and Frewin Hall, which of course we are redeveloping. The Development Office have copies of his book, which I would recommend as a short history.

Ellesmere Dinner:
We were fortunate to be addressed by the Lord Chief justice Lord Burnett on 13 November for the 99th Ellesmere Dinner. He told those assembled (students and alumni) how much he used to enjoy the Brasenose Bar when he was an undergraduate at Pembroke. He is the youngest Lord Chief Justice in 60 years and reminded the audience that he took silk the same year as me. He spoke of the enormous challenge posed to the courts by the pandemic. The backlog of cases is 50% higher than it was in March 2020 but he was pleased that there had only been a seven week gap in cases actually being heard. We were delighted to have been able to secure him as a speaker, largely through the good offices of Bill Swadling, who was at school with him.

On 2nd November, I attended the SCR event with Stephen Romer, poet, translator, Senior Lecturer at Tours University and lecturer in French at BNC. He read from his recent works Set Thy Love in Order and Le Fauteuil jaune (2021). It was a wonderful event.

On 3 November, I heard our recent alumnus (and JCR President) Henry Zeffman now the Chief Political Correspondent of The Times speaking to the PPE Society in an engaging and amusing way about his career to date. We expect even greater things from him for the future.

On 5 November I attended a terrific Freshers Recital concert in the Antechapel. There were very different periods and modes of music ranging from Isabelle Lever and Quinn Obbink playing Pietro Morlacchi’s Il Pastore Svizzero to Emily Jones singing Madeleine’ Dring’s “Song of a Nighclub Proprietess”.

Quinn Obbink also gave a wonderful organ recital on 12 November including Felix Mendelssohn’s magnificent Organ Sonata No 4 (Op 65).

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