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Architectural Recording at the Old Schools, University of Cambridge

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Evans, Christopher 


The Old Schools constitute in part the earliest of the purpose-built non- Collegiate buildings of the University of Cambridge. Situated between King's Parade and Trinity Lane (TL 4474 5846), they presently comprise an arrangement around two courtyards, the eastern 'Cobble Court' and western 'Old Court', fronted to the east by Senate House Yard and Gibbs' neo-Classical Senate House. Typical of all College and University buildings, they encapsulate a long history of piecemeal development - addition, demolition and alteration - producing considerable stylistic diversity. Such is reflective of both developing needs (principally for built space), changing architectural tastes, and the eventual outward display of the University. Between July and September 1995 the Cambridge Archaeological Unit recorded sections of masonry exposed during renovation work inside the North Range of the Old Schools. The building work was to involve only minimal disturbance to the original fabric of the structure, but included the insertion of a new lift shaft for a dumb-waiter in the north wall of the western room, where a blocked 14th century window arch was known to exist, and the removal of post-Medieval in-fill from a fine perpendicular arch in the south wall at the eastern end of the range. Modern (1930s) internal partitions were also demolished in the central room, exposing internal sections of the original Divinity School walls. Written descriptions were made of the exposed Medieval and early post- Medieval stonework (fig. 3). Where sections were considered of sufficient importance, the written record was augmented by elevations drawn at a scale of 1:10; all exposed stonework was photographed. For the sake of clarity in presentation, the building is divided into three areas: the West Room (to be divided into a meeting room and store), Central Room (the new Research Grant Office), and East Room (including the south corridor). Much graffiti was recorded upon the fabric, including two important figurative images. The latter are fully described in a section following the main Discussion.



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Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

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