March 11, 2008

KCWC Cambridge

It was only a 45 minute train ride from Kings Cross to Cambridge. Our guide, Caroline MacDonald-Haig, grew up in Cambridge (her father taught there) and was VERY enthusiastic. She provided fascinating insights into the educational methodology employed and college system.

We visited Kings College Chapel which was started by Henry VI in 1441 and finished by Henry VIII in 1547. The ceilings and carvings were magnificent. Unfortunately, the "no flash" rule meant no good interior photos for me.

On our way to Kettles Yard, we admired the River Cam and gardens. Jim Eade recognised and valued avant garde art earlier than most. He bought a group of cottages in Kettle Yard to display his growing art collection - sometimes acquired when artists he admired had "clearance sales". Jim opened his home to those who appreciated or wanted to learn more about this art. As a student, Caroline was one of his guests and remembers him fondly. Jim Eade left his collection and Kettles Yard a nephew on condition that the nephew would in turn bequeath the estate to Cambridge.

I was most fascinated with Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) and his diary. He wrote in code about EVERYTHING from 1660-1669 thinking his diary would be completely private. We saw pages of his diary in code and the translations - it is amazing that anyone figured it out but they did! Pepus attended Magdalene College in Cambridge and left his 3000 volume library to his alma mater.

We admired one of the five Round Churches in the UK which was built 1130. We also heard the story of Oliver Cromwell's head and its recent (1960) burial, the exact spot known only to two people at a time.

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