On Monday 23rd April HRH the Duke of Kent officially opened the new quadrangles and buildings of Pembroke College.
The small college, located in the centre of Oxford, has undergone a great transformation after building new student accomodation, seminar and meeting rooms, a multi-purpose auditorium, a purpose-built art gallery, outdoor social spaces and a café. One of the most noteworthy additions is the over-street bridge, the first since the famous Bridge of Sighs.
The footbridge passes over Brewer Street and adjoins the two new quads to Chapel Quad. It is the first over-street bridge built in over a century, the last to be constructed was the Bridge of Sighs of Hertford College.
Giles Henderson, the Master of Pembroke, released an official statement, “This major extension of our main site will benefit members of Pembroke for years to come, as well as enhancing this area of Oxford for local residents and visitors. This development should be seen as an outward and visible sign of Pembroke’s increasing self-confidence and ambition.”
The buildings were designed by architects Berman Guedes Stretton and funded by donations received from over 1,000 different people from more than 40 countries.
At the opening the Duke of Kent together with the Master crossed the bridge and attended a ceremony in the brand new Pichette Auditorium where he unveiled a plague signifying the occasion. The Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and the Lord Mayor of Oxford were also present.
Students are pleased with the result. Rebecca Henshaw, a 1st year student at Pembroke, when asked about the student accomodation, commented, “Yes the rooms are great, hotel-like in that they are clean white and modern with lovely bathrooms and luxuries such as heated towel rails.”
She added, “Students were somewhat hidden away from the ceremony but caught glimpses of royalty and many donors for the site yesterday morning. The hall resounded with thunderous applause in response to the opening and the porters seemed to be highly enjoying the ordeal!”
David White, Pembroke’s JCR President, was also highly enthusiastic about the recent development, telling Cherwell, “The new buildings are an amazing addition to Pembroke. They represent the realisation of an ambitious vision for the College and they signal a fantastic enhancement of the Pembroke community.”
In particular he raved about Pembroke Bridge, commenting, “It’s like the Bridge of Sighs – but just far more modern and far more cool – it connects fabulously the old and the new at Pembroke. It unites the first and second year residents of Pembroke’s main site and makes this landmark development in the College’s history feel natural.”