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Cambridge: Gonville and Caius College, alterations to the Hall, 1792 (3)

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Founded as Gonville Hall in 1348 and re-founded in 1557 as Gonville and Caius, the Great Hall was added in the first half of the 15th-century. Soane's classicising of the medieval Hall in 1792 was overturned in 1853 when Anthony Salvin (1799-1881) having added a large new Hall and library for the College then inserted three floors into the old Hall to make rooms for Fellows and undergraduates. Soane's coffered ceiling and other finishings were removed and the original ceiling and roof structure re-configured without its apex. In 1909, Edward Warren (1856-1937) removed Salvin's floors and rooms (and what survived of the medieval roof structure) so that the Hall, now in a 'muted Tudor Gothic' guise, could be used as a reading room. In 1997, Caius College library was moved to the nearby C.R.Cockerell-designed University Library (built 1837-40). The old Hall/reading room was then (under John Simpson,1954-) returned to something like the 1792 design by Soane for use as a Fellows reading room and reception room.

Literature. D.Watkin, 'Rooms that speak of memory', Country Life, 2 April 1998, pp.48-52

Jill Lever, May 2012



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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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Contents of Cambridge: Gonville and Caius College, alterations to the Hall, 1792 (3)