‘Without towers or turrets’
The beginnings of Lucy Cavendish College
The Dining Group continued during the 1950s. Concerned about ‘the problems of academic women in Cambridge’, the new aim was to provide ‘practical assistance and the stimulus of regular social contact, to encourage academic achievement in teaching, learning and research.’
A topic of particular concern in the University was the ‘non-Fellow problem’. There were an increasing number of graduates involved in teaching and research who were not affiliated to a college and the University invited submissions on how best to tackle the problem. The Dining Group responded. They expressed the view that there was room for small collegiate societies, and argued that the University needed ‘pioneers as well as traditionalists’.
The University subsequently agreed to the establishment of these collegiate societies for graduates and, in November 1964, the Dining Group successfully applied to the University for recognition as the Lucy Cavendish Collegiate Society. Anna Bidder became the college’s first President and temporary premises were found in two ground floor offices at 20 Silver Street.
The Times of 11 October 1965 carried a report on this newest female academy:
‘So it is that without towers or turrets, without chaplain or Porters, without a building of its own or even a foundation grant, Britain’s first graduate college for women has quietly come into being’.