Newnham College

The discussion round the legibility or otherwise of Cathy de Monchaux’s new sculpture at Newnham (is it a vulva or is it a tower of books ?  The answer – very appropriately – is that it’s both) made me intrigued as to what exactly had been demolished in order to allow the construction of Walters and Cohen’s new brick building facing onto Sidgwick Avenue.   The answer is Lyster & Grillet’s mid-1960s Strachey building, named after Pernel Strachey, the suffragist Principal who tried, but failed, to get degrees awarded to women in 1921.   I can understand why it was better that it went than a new building constructed in the garden, but I remember rather admiring its hexagonal contextualism at a time when these characteristics were so unfashionable.   This is what the building looked like (not my photo):-


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