st mary’s college society 2016 christmas newsletter supplement
dear members of st mary’s college society as we reach the end of what has been, by any measure, a tumultuous year, we reach the comfortingly familiar rituals, traditions and good will that accompany this point in the calendar. it is perhaps in times of great change that familiar and stable aspects of our lives are most valued. this edition of the christmas supplement to our annual newsletter will, we hope, reassure you all that your college remains as it ever was; a place of study, friendship, family and self betterment. you will find in the following pages seasonal messages, news from the college, items from the archive and both happy and more sombre items that we think will interest alumni. whilst we on the society committee cherish the old, we also seek to further the interests of alumni through innovation. it is due to this that, as many of you will have already noted due to emails sent out, that we are changing our reunion arrangements for this year. our main alumni weekend will be in july, on the weekend of friday 14th to sunday 17th july. full details will follow in the near future, so please watch out for emails and indeed news on the society website. this weekend is being organised jointly by the society and nathan lamb, the college’s alumni development officer. there will be a reunion day, at the traditional time of year in september to supplement this new effort and de- tails of this will also be communicated closer to the time. we hope to see as many alumni as possible this year and very much hope that the combination of opportunities will serve to attract you back to your college. full details of society activities can be found on our website: www.stmaryscollegesociety.co.uk, so please do have a look and should any of your wish to become involved more actively in your society then please do con- tact us using the details to be found on the website. we, on the committee wish each and very one of you and your families a very merry christmas and a prosper- ous new year. yours, steven spencer vice president of st mary’s college society.
a message from the president as i write this message many people will be doing their last minute shopping for christmas presents, and even worrying about how to manage the tasks needed to make christmas a happy occasion for family and friends. however, in the terms of the christian calendar we are still in the season of advent. advent is the time of waiting. it is the period when the themes are those of expectation and judgement. jesus was born in a time when his contemporaries awaited a messiah, who would come to deliver them from their adversaries, and free them from oppression. he was born into a brutal world where the ruler undertook a pogrom against his own people and slaughtered innocent children. many in today's world; in syria, yemen and other places, long for such freedom from tyranny and oppression. our world seems one where might has the upper hand, where the rich hold the power, and the poor often feel forgotten. the christian message is not about fairies and reindeer. it is about god coming to be with his people in their need for liberation, in the face of oppression. it is the message that might is not always right and will not always prevail. advent reminds us that there will be a judgement. the mighty will be put down from their seat. the christian christmas message is not that of the killjoy. jesus grew up and was criticised for eating and drinking with those on the edge of society. it is rather the message of hope in a world of darkness. it is a message that will surprise people. for the message of the saviour for a broken world came to shepherds out in the field. they were told to visit a baby who they would find lying in a manger, in a manger because there was no room for him in the inn. now that message for those on the edge today, wherever they are, and for those who suffer oppression, is something to celebrate. and all of us, can join in wholeheartedly with them whether or not we are believ- ers, especially if we can show compassion, as he did. canon elizabeth fisher president smcs
a message from the jcr president hello everyone, it is such a privilege to be writing this at the end of a brilliant, busy first term at st mary’s college. my first five months as jcr president have been such a fantastic journey and i am so grate- ful to all the staff, students and alumni for everything they have done to contribute to my time in durham since graduation. over the past 10 weeks, the jcr have seen a variety of great events, formals and fundraisers as well as new societies being ratified. the environment socie- ty will now serve as an extension to the current envi- ronment committee, aiming to improve the jcr’s awareness of environmental issues and to encourage students to do all they can to protect the environment. a communities committee has also been created which is chaired by the communities officer and seeks to increase student involvement in volunteering in our local community. wam (welfare at mary’s) have had a number of brilliant campaigns this term, including ‘movember’, to raise awareness of men’s mental health which ended with an unforgettable karaoke evening in the bar. events this term have also been a real success and many of them have become personal highlights of my three and half years in durham. in november we were privileged to have nikki dravers, from the local charity re-f- use, as our guest speaker at michaelmas dinner. nikki, a graduate of durham university, set up the local chari- ty re f-use in 2015 which focuses on intercepting food before it becomes waste and serving up delicious meals at pop-up events. as well as the positive environmental impacts of reducing food waste, the project also has clear social benefits through operating a pay-as-you-feel (payf) policy). this inspiring speech was followed by live music in the bar and the evening finished with an energetic ceilidh in the dining hall. a few weeks later we had st mary’s first ever winter ball (previously informal ball). this evening saw college transformed into a narnia wonderland thanks to the phenomenal decorations from the social committee. students enjoyed live music and a variety of entertain- ment throughout the evening. other highlights of this term include a successful sec- ond years’ careers evening, two wonderful christmas formals and a beautiful carol service in durham ca- thedral. the arts society’s annual christmas tree deco- ration and pantomime ‘peter panto’ finished the term off on a festive high. i hope you all have a very merry christmas and happy new year, see you in 2017! best wishes, esther scriven st mary’s jcr president
christmas: 50 years ago ‘at the end of the michaelmas term the traditional carol service was held in st oswald’s church, conducted by the college chaplain [rev. r.j.w. bevan, affectionately known as rev. bev.]. after the end of term dinner we made our annual carol-singing tour of durham; as we are, i think, the only college to arrange carol-singing, we were joined by a vast number from other colleges and made quite a rousing choir.’ smcs newsletter 1967: senior woman’s report christmas: this year this year, on the 8th of december this scene was repeated with a candlelit procession to the cathedral by the staff, students and friends of st mary’s to enjoy a traditional carol service in which the singing was hearty, led by the imperious choir and in which readings were delivered by persons representing all parts of the college, including our own president of our alumni body which numbers over 7000 souls. mary’s is privileged to have been afforded this right to hold our service in such a wonderful location and with such a large congregation in attendance, long may this continue.
from the archives: 1966 fifty years on college in context by the academic year 1966/67, the new main building had been occupied for 14 years and the new building for 4 years. the queen had visited st mary’s 6 years earlier, having laid the foundation stone 19 years previ- ously. mary holdsworth had been principal for 4 years. the college seemed so well established on the pre- sent site yet it was really relatively new. it was the first college on the hill site, followed by grey and st ai- dan’s. van mildert had just been occupied, consisting of three separate living blocks and a hall with adminis- trative and other public rooms grouped “most effectively in a semi-circle round an artificial lake. the build- ings are tall, beautifully proportioned, and make use of glass, upward lines of portland stone and copper clad- ded roofs. trevelyan, the new women’s college, is rising up in the field to the south-west of st mary’s; it is planned on a hexagonal pattern, of dark purplish hand-made brick, and is somewhat reminiscent of a border castle…the new colleges…have altered the character of the original rural site, but the change, when the nec- essary landscaping and planting is completed, should make a pleasant park-like whole with controlled variety of building.” principal’s report in smcs newsletter 1966 college developments extra rooms, funded by income from conferences, in the underpass (williamson building basement) were now in use: a games room (to replace the one without windows in the main building basement), a sewing room and two non-resident tutors’ rooms so they could meet their students more easily. new carpets, cur- tains and modern furniture were in the west jcr. a loan scheme of paintings from the laing, newcastle, was inaugurated to hang in the main corridor and jcrs. vincent harris presented college with his original architect’s painting which he had exhibited at the royal academy. ann and david loades moved into ‘struan’ 45, south street, part of which was to house 8 st mary’s stu- dents. the college, with its 225 rooms, numbered 270 students, including 32 postgraduates and 2 part-time research students, more students than beds so some of the postgraduates lived in van mildert college. jcr decided that the year of office for their officers and executive should begin at easter to avoid finals term. durham university society celebrated its centenary.
doreen (dot) christelow died 16th november 2016 it is with sadness that this newsletter contains this article to inform alumni that dot christelow has passed from this world on the date shown above. dot was a well known and popular figure in the college, working for many years to support many generations of mary’s girls as they pursued their aspirations. dot remained in touch with college after her retirement, some 24 years ago, and we are sure that whilst many will be sad- dened by her passing, this article will also bring forth fond memories of times past. her funeral was held on friday 2nd december at durham crematorium. in the following two paragraphs, the college archivist, anne elliot, has collated some items relating to dot which we hope our readers will find of interest. dot has a well-deserved place in the history of st mary’s college for her loyalty, long service and remarkable family. elizabeth boyd has recorded these on page 68 of her centenary review book: ‘mrs christelow was one of four sisters, dot, elsie, joyce and violet, whose service to st mary’s totalled well over 100 years. she retired after a working lifetime with college, including 22 years as head cook, in 1991, when she was suc- ceeded by her sister, mrs elsie cookson, who celebrated 40 years’ service in 1997. violet retired in 1997 after a record 51 years in college.’ the 1992 smcs newsletter recorded her retirement celebrations attended by many appreciative guests, in- cluding, of course, her three sisters: ‘a party was held in gratitude for the long and splendid service of mrs dot christelow, who retired in1991 as head cook, having started to work for st mary’s college in her teens. dot is still a near neighbour at trevelyan college, where her husband is caretaker and we are delight- ed to see her in college on many occasions.’
august 2016: six st mary’s ladies from 1962-64 (and their husbands) from left to right standing: alison (millie) mitchell, annie white, jenny warrington, angie ayton, seated: left, right, centre: ginny abbiss, gill longley, judy caddick (st hild’s) all others from left: jenny’s keith lumley (grey), judy’s chris bailey (hatfield), ginny’s jack lonergan (hatfield), andrew northedge (hatfield), angie’s mike winterburn (grey), gill’s francis mordaunt (hatfield), richard thomson (hatfield), millie’s ed smith (grey) thank you to professor jack lonergan for submitting this picture to us. the enduring friendships that so often characterise our college are very much in evidence and clearly show that studying at mary’s has life- long implications and in the case of marrying a durham student, can be life defining. mary’s alumni and their durham spouses meeting in august 2016
the 2016 smcs annual reunion the st mary’s college society held its annual reunion in september 2016 and on the next fee pages are images from this event are below. those in attendance had a thoroughly pleasant time whilst enjoying a programme that included the agm with elections, the reunion dinner, a delicious sunday roast and excursions beyond the college, in addition to the customary chapel service.