Supporter Stories: Henry Brown

Thank you!

Cohen Quad has been made possible thanks to the support of hundreds of people giving hundreds of donations, both large and small.  We would like to celebrate our donors and so over the next few months we will be posting ‘supporter stories’ interspersed with our building updates, introducing just some of the many generous people who have got us this far.  Our first supporter story comes from Henry Brown:

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Henry Brown at Cohen Quad, June 2015

Henry Brown came up to Exeter in 1967 to read Chemistry.  His accommodation experience was fairly typical of that of a 1960s undergraduate: a year on staircase 9 overlooking the Broad, a year in staircase 3 next to the Hall and two years in private lodgings in North Oxford.

Henry and his wife Jane were early supporters of the Cohen Quad project, choosing to direct their support towards the ‘Hanging Room’ in the Learning Commons, a spacious seminar room which appears suspended in mid-air.

He is excited by the additional accommodation and teaching space that the new quadrangle affords, saying “I always felt Exeter was disadvantaged by its early foundation on a site which left little room for expansion (though Dr Maddicott’s recent book, Founders and Fellowship, shows how very much was achieved on the Turl Street site).  The former Ruskin College site gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change this, and I was inspired by Frances Cairncross’s determination that we should seize it to mark the 700th anniversary.  It was right to think big and to build the best possible facilities for the future.”

Henry is looking forward to seeing how Exeter’s Turl and Walton Street sites will work together, “revolving around each other like the earth and the moon, so that all college members will get the benefit of both.”  He feels that Cohen Quad’s multi-purpose rooms will fit well with the informal way that students operate today.

He is also delighted that Exeter will have a presence on Walton Street in particular: “Oxford is a supremely walkable university.  Cohen Quad will get Exeter students out of the central area (in the 1960s, only scientists or those in search of female undergraduates went very far).  Walton Street itself is on the way up with the Blavatnik School of Government almost completed and the other developments on the site of what was the Radcliffe Infirmary.  It’s great that Exeter should have a presence there.”

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Henry surveys the Hanging Room under construction
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Architect’s impression of the Hanging Room (top left-hand corner of the picture)

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