Arms Old Hall

Mantel tiles by Morris, Marshall, Faukner & CoQueens' College Cambridge - Old Hall - JPEG

The Old Hall set out for Dinner


Chronology of the Old Hall:

1449: The Hall was erected as part of the original College, now known as Old Court. It is assumed that Reginald Ely, master mason, played some part in the erection of the College.

1531-2: Linenfold panelling erected (removed 1732-4).

1548: Screens passage created.

1685: Loggan's view shows dormer windows over the Hall. Does this mean that there was a flat ceiling and attics above before the 1732 changes?

1732-4: The Hall was fitted up in its present neat and elegant manner (that is to say, in a classical style). A flat ceiling with an Italian cornice was inserted just below the beams visible in the photograph above. The present panelling was erected (the earlier linen-fold panelling of 1531 was moved to the President's Lodge, where, after one further move, it still survives in the President's Study). The architect was Sir James Burrough, the woodwork was by James Essex the Elder, and the wrought iron gates to the Screens were by Jonas Jackson. The antiquarian Cole wrote on 22 February 1742 that the Hall:

... very lately was elegantly fitted up according to ye present tast and is now by much ye neatest Hall of any in ye University being completely wainscoted and painted wth handsom fluted Pillars behind ye Fellows Table at ye upper end of it over wch are neatly carved ye arms of ye Foundress: at ye lower end of it over ye two neat Iron Doors of ye Screens wch front ye Butteries and Kitchin is a small Gallery for Musick occasionally.

1766: The three pictures visible over High Table were given, one by each of the three sons of Harry, 4th Earl of Stamford. They (family name Grey) were descendants of Elizabeth Woodville by her first marriage. The pictures, by Hudson, from left to right are of:

1780: Doors to the Hall were added behind the iron gates of the Screens.

1814: Print by Greig of external view from Old Court.

1815: Print by Ackermann of the Hall interior.

1819-22: Stained glass by Charles Muss inserted in oriel window (removed in 1854). This is also the likely period when battlements (removed 1909) were added to the Old Court elevation of the Hall.

1822: Print of High Table and oriel window.

1829: Print by Storer of external view from Old Court.

1836: This is the date enscribed on the decorative chimney stacks above the Hall.

1842: Prints by Le Keux of the Hall interior, and external view from Cloister Court.

1846: Tastes had changed - classical styles were now abhorred. The flat ceiling was removed, and the roof restored, to the design of Dawkes, architect. At this stage, the roof was undecorated. Tracery, to the design of Dawkes, was inserted in the formerly plain mullioned side windows, but this was replaced in 1857. Dawkes put up a new dinner bell tower, and also created a louvre in the roof, which was probably an inappropriate act of restoration - it was removed again in 1951.

1854: The Oriel Window was restored, and stained glass inserted by Hardman of Birmingham, depicting the armorial bearings of the foundresses, early benefactors, and all the Presidents from Andrew Dokett to Isaac Milner (excluding those from the commonwealth period). The earlier glass by Muss 1819-22 was removed to the President's Lodge.

1855?: External photos of old windows from Old Court, and from Cloister Court.

1857/8: The side windows were raised to their present height, and new tracery installed, to the design of John Johnson, architect.

1858/9: The present stained glass (by Hardman of Birmingham) began to be installed. The glass shows armorial bearings: on the east side, of Bishops who had been members of Queens'; and on the west side, of benefactors. The last window to be filled was the southern one on the west side, which includes the arms of the benefactor Robert Moon, who paid for all this work.

1861-4: The former fireplace was removed - the sawn off relics of the original clunch arched fireplace can be seen if you look up inside the present fireplace. A new fireplace was erected, by the architect G.F. Bodley, of alabaster and tiles. The tiles above the fireplace, depicting Labours of the Month, the two patron saints, and two angels, were made by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. in 1864 to the designs of Burne-Jones, Morris, Madox Brown, and Rossetti. See the William Morris Gallery for pictures of similar tiles.

1862-3: A tiled floor was laid, using stone and encaustic tiles by W. Godwin of Lugwardine. This floor was removed and replaced by a reproduction in 2003: only the oriel window floor and some specimen tiles survive from this period.

1864: Philip Webb designed eleven coats of arms, painted above the fireplace.

All the work between 1854 and 1864 was paid for by Robert Moon, Fellow, whose arms appear as one of the benefactors in the west windows.

1865: 22 chairs for High Table bought from Howard & Sons.

1873: Ford Madox Brown drew designs for tiles of Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth Woodville, to be added to the tiles already above the fireplace. The tiles were made by Morris & Co. for £24 10s.

1875: The present decorative scheme for the walls and roof was designed by G.F. Bodley and executed by F.R. Leach, for £345 18s 2d, including the gilding of 885 lead castings of stars in the roof. Each of the large stars weighs 14 ounces (0.4kg). A carved and moulded wood over-mantel (seen in the photo coloured red, green, and gold) to Bodley's design was made by Rattee & Kett and added above the Morris tiles of 1864. Hidden from view behind the wood over-mantel are the original wall decorations of 1875 by Bodley, untouched by the later redecorations. The Latin Graces written around the walls are described here.

The work 1873-75 was paid for by Campion, Wright, and Pirie, Fellows.

1900: The first electric lighting installed.

1909: Hall re-roofed with tiles instead of slate, battlements removed. Dated to 1909 by a fragment of newspaper found in 2005 behind a wallplate.

1948: It appears likely that the wall decorations were touched up for the celebrations of the quincentenary of the College.

1951?: Louvre of 1846 removed from centre of the roof of the Hall. Its previous location is marked by the presence of cut rafters.

1961: The wall and roof decorations were completely repainted. The colour of the panelling was changed from Bodley's dark green to black with gold leaf relief on the advice of S.E. Dykes Bower.

1978: The Hall ceased being used on a daily basis, with the opening of the new dining hall and kitchens in Cripps Court. The fireplace was unblocked and converted to gas-burning. From this time onwards the Old Hall (as it now became known) has been used for feasts, special functions, recitals, and receptions.

2001: Hall re-roofed with handmade tiles, thermal insulation inserted. Chimney stack over hall fireplace strengthened and repaired.

2003: The high-table wood dais and the tiled floor of 1862 were removed, to be replaced by a tile and stone floor in reproduction of the 1862 one, with newly made encaustic tiles from Craven Dunnill Jackfield. Where the previous dais had been, the new tile floor incorporated underfloor heating, enabling two visible radiators to be removed from the classical panelling.

2005: Smoke detection, fire alarms, and emergency exit signs installed. Cleaning undertaken of: the wall and roof decorations, the fireplace and mantel (including the tiles by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co), and the stained glass windows. The fireplace surround was restored, including the removal of some 1970s overpainting of the part immediately under the mantel shelf. The blue swan tiles of Morris & Co were lightly overpainted to restore the faded pattern.

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