Investing in our Heritage
The College’s magnificent buildings and courts, lovingly created and inherited over more than six centuries, are both a blessing and a burden. As well as maintaining a keen, competitive edge, as one of the leading educational institutions in the 21st century, Caius has a responsibility, comparable to that of the National Trust, to care for and maintain our wonderful historic monuments, to keep them alive, fulfilling the purposes for which our far-sighted predecessors designed them. Naturally, the costs are considerable; and if work is postponed, those costs tend to increase.
Maintenance and Refurbishment of College Buildings
Many of our buildings are listed by English Heritage as being of architectural or historical significance, and others are within conservation areas. The regulatory framework that governs any work on these buildings is extremely demanding: meeting the standards required is particularly difficult and expensive when buildings have to be updated to meet modern requirements for amenity, security, health and safety.
In addition to all the regular repair work, a heavy burden has recently been laid upon the College by the need to comply with national standards for houses in multiple occupation, which apply to all of our accommodation, including rooms in the Old Courts. The result is that the College has had to embark on a major programme of renovation, adaptation and repair.
Our annual budget for capital works and operational expenditure on our buildings is currently £2.6 million. This figure does not include any new building projects, nor the largest renovation projects, for which funding outside our regular budgets is required. The refurbishment of St Michael’s Court is expected to cost £8 million and the complete renewal of the College kitchens at least a further £6 million.
The College Library
The past 25 years have seen remarkable improvements in the fabric of the College. In the early 1990s, our magnificent Library was acquired from the University, in exchange for the land at West Road where the Law Faculty now stands. The Library was arguably the most important addition to the College’s facilities in over 400 years. The combination of natural light, historic grandeur and modern computer facilities make it one of the finest College Libraries in Cambridge. It inspires students first to apply to Caius and then to work hard when they are here.
The acquisition of the Library allowed the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream: at last, Caius had a Library fit to house its precious collections of books, from the 700 medieval manuscripts and many more early printed books, all housed in their custom-made, seventeenth century bookcases, to the tens of thousands of subject-specific works required by our students and researchers.
This, in turn, freed a number of rooms for other uses, several brilliantly refurbished and restored, with the specific help of a major benefaction from Lady Colyton, in memory of her late husband. Naturally, however, the extensive building work undertaken to modernise and equip the Library required major withdrawals from the Endowment.
The College Archive
The Caius Archive is an important resource for researchers. It collects, documents and provides long-term access to records of the history of the College and its members. The material preserved ranges from medieval estate records to the personal papers of modern Caians, and from parchment to the latest digital formats.
The Stephen Hawking Building and Harvey Court
In the first decade of this century, the Grade 2* listed Harvey Court was restored, at a cost of £10 million, and a new architectural treasure was built beside it. The Stephen Hawking Building at 5 West Road, named in honour of the College’s most celebrated living Fellow, owes its existence to the exceptional generosity of over 2,000 Caians, parents and friends of the College, who made donations, large and small, amounting to over £10 million, to cover the entire cost of construction. This elegant, S-shaped building provides accommodation for 75 students and 8 Fellows, teaching rooms and the Cavonius Conference Centre.
The College has a proud tradition of remembering those who have made it what it is. Our name commemorates our two great founders, Edmund Gonville and John Caius. Every year, in the Chapel, the Master recites the names and deeds of men and women from the distant past right up to the present, benefactors from whose generosity and foresight our students continue to benefit. Following this tradition, all of the rooms in the Hawking Building bear the names of donors or their loved ones, expressing our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to those whose generosity made the building possible.