|Murray Edwards College|
|University of Cambridge|
|Scarf colours: three equally-spaced narrow stripes separating two black areas towards the edge and two blue areas in the middle, the outer stripes of yellow and the central stripe of red|
|Location||Huntingdon Road, Cambridge (map)|
|Full name||Murray Edwards College, founded as New Hall, in the University of Cambridge|
|Sister college||St Anne's College, Oxford|
Murray Edwards College is a women-only constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1954 as New Hall and renamed in 2008. The name honours a gift of £30 million by alumna Ros Edwards and her husband Steve, and the first President and woman Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Rosemary Murray.
New Hall was founded in 1954, housing sixteen students in Silver Street where Darwin College now stands. Cambridge then had the lowest proportion of women undergraduates of any university in the United Kingdom and only two other colleges (Girton and Newnham) admitted female students.
In 1962, members of the Darwin family gave their home, "The Orchard", to the College. This new site was located on Huntingdon Road, about a mile from the centre of Cambridge. The architects chosen were Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, who are known for their design of the Barbican in London, and fundraising commenced. The building work began in 1964 and was completed by W. & C. French in 1965. The new college could house up to 300 students.
In 1967, one of the college's PhD students, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, a researcher in the university radio astronomy group, discovered the first four pulsars, leading to a Nobel Prize for her supervisor and ultimately, for Bell Burnell herself, a position as a research professor at the University of Oxford.
In 1975, the college's President Rosemary Murray became the first woman to hold the post of vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Two subsequent presidents, Anne Lonsdale and Jennifer Barnes, have become pro-vice-chancellors of the University.
Following a 2005 donation of £30 million by alumna Rosalind Edwards (née Smith) and her husband Steve Edwards to secure its future, in early 2008 New Hall was renamed Murray Edwards College, honouring the first President, Dame Rosemary Murray and the benefactors. There was some opposition to this as the new name incorporated a man's surname, despite the college being reserved for women students. Ros Edwards had attended the college in the 1980s and made a fortune with her partner when their software company Geneva Technology was sold to Convergys in 2001.
Men-only Cambridge colleges were converted into mixed-sex colleges in the 1970s and 1980s. Since the 2006 announcement that the University of Oxford's last remaining women-only college, St Hilda's, would also admit men, Cambridge is the only United Kingdom university that partially maintains a female-only student admissions policy, represented by Newnham, Murray Edwards, and until October 2021, Lucy Cavendish College. The fellowship and staff at Murray Edwards College are recruited from all genders. There is no bar to male students frequenting the college and many are taught there by Murray Edwards' fellows.
New Hall received its Royal Charter in 1972. The Arms of the college are emblazoned as follows:
In plain English, this means: on a black background, place the following features in silver. Vertically in the centre, place a dolphin with head downwards to the left. On top, place three stars horizontally across. Bordering the arms, place a square wave representing the battlements of a castle.
The black castellation round the arms marks the college's location on Castle Hill. The three stars are borrowed from the Murray coat of arms, while the heraldic dolphin symbolises a youthful spirit of exploration and discovery, and a kindly intelligence.
The college had designed a new logo to mark its transition from New Hall to Murray Edwards College. It was based on the design of the interior of the dining hall (the "Dome") and was called the 'spark'. However, on consultation with its alumnae, the college decided to continue to use its arms in official materials.
Like many of the other Cambridge colleges, Murray Edwards College was not built all at one time but expanded as the need arose, over several time periods. The college therefore has several accommodation blocks of differing styles. In order of construction:
The first buildings of the college on Huntingdon Road were designed by the architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, and are listed Grade II* (particularly important buildings of more than special interest). This includes:
The college gardens have an informal style, initially planned and planted by the first president, Dame Rosemary Murray. The gardens include a greenhouse originally belonging to the estate of the Darwin family, where banana plants are grown during the winter months.
In 2007, Murray Edwards College (then New Hall) became the first Cambridge College to participate in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The theme of the presented garden was the Transit of Venus, and was awarded a Bronze Flora medal in the Chic Garden Category. After the show, this garden was recreated in a slightly larger form beside the library.
As part of the Cambridge tradition of May Week, the college hosts an annual garden party that is popular with students from across the university. The garden party features a new theme each year and is well received by those in attendance. In Michaelmas (the Autumn/ Winter term), the college celebrates 'Apple Day' in the gardens, a day of autumnal activities such as apple picking, cooking, crafting and bonfires.
The students at Murray Edwards are encouraged to enjoy the gardens and walk on the lawns, meaning it is common to spot students sunbathing, studying, taking picnics or even relaxing on the small beach that is erected in the Summer. The gardens are maintained by professional staff, and recently also by fellows and students. Since 2012, gardening allotments have been provided for fellows, undergraduates and postgraduates for growing herbs and vegetables, in addition to the flowers and herbs already planted by the gardeners.
The college maintains a fund for graduate research, including the Stephan Körner graduate studentship for studies in philosophy, classics or law.
Main article: The Women's Art Collection
Murray Edwards is home to the The Women's Art Collection (known until 2022 as the New Hall Art Collection), the largest collection of women's art in Europe, and the second largest in the world (the largest being the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.).
The artwork can be seen throughout College, and students are encouraged to request pieces to be brought into their bedrooms as decoration.
The New Hall Art Collection was started in the early 1990s, when New Hall had few pieces of art and most of them were portraits of old gentleman. The college president wrote to 100 women artists and asked each to donate one piece of art, and more than 75% of the artists approached agreed to give a piece of work. Donations have continued since, and the Art Collection now contains work by many famous women artists, including:
See also: Category:Alumni of New Hall, Cambridge
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