Cambridge & King’s College

Cambridge is in the East Anglia region of England about 45 miles north of London. The home of the University of Cambridge, it lies on the River Cam. The University is made up of 31 colleges of which some of the best known include King’s , Trinity , Queen’s and Caius, known as the college of Harold Abrahams portrayed in Chariots of Fire. Three of the colleges are women only while the remaining, though originating as men only, are mixed.

I was here to attend the First International User Group Meeting for the GDS CAD system. Though, at the time owned by McDonnell-Douglas, GDS was originally developed at King’s College and was still the home of their R&D effort. I was surprised to learn that we would actually be staying in the dormitory of the college. I noted as I checked in that the lobby of the dorm had its own bar complete with an array of draught beer taps. Perhaps this is why England was so jolly.

I immediately went to my dorm room. I knew I needed a little rest but we had a reception at 7pm. So I laid down and set my internal clock for 6pm. (I know this sound funny, but in all of my travels, I have never used an alarm and seldom leave a wake up call. Then again, I don’t sleep late on weekends either.)  At 6pm, I woke back up and, after some refreshing made my way down to the reception.

I had attended many of the GDS user meeting in the States in past year but I wasn’t sure who I might see at this meeting. I had not more than walked in the room when when I heard “Well, if it’s not the Bus from Hell!”  Couldn’t be anyone else than Millet Salter. I had met Millet, an architect from Barrie, Ontario, some years before at the user meeting in St. Louis. We were both staying at a hotel remote from the meeting and were riding the charter bus back after a long day. Many of the riders were grousing about the long ride and the potholes and I, sitting in the back, growled “It’s the Bus from Hell!”  Of course, Millet was on that bus and struck up a conversation and soon realized we had much in common. He had his wife, Nancy, with him and we soon found ourselves engrossed in a discussion about the world and our parts in it. During the meeting we developed a friendship that we renewed from time to time as we ran into each other in the following years. Unfortunately, we lost contact when I changed jobs and, except for a few emails back in ‘04, have lost touch. The evening ended with our hostess offering to “knock us up” in the morning at 7am. (No wake up calls in the dorms.)  At 7am I was laying awake in my bed awaiting my “knock up”.

Over the next few days, we would meet in the various lecture halls and take our meals in the Dining Hall. The Dinning Hall was quite impressive with its massive ceiling beams and stain glass windows. The Neo-Gothic hall was built in 1820 and can accommodate over 300 diners. Our evenings were spent attending dinners and receptions though we did venture to a local pub a couple of nights.

On the final night of the meeting we were treated to a seven course meal billed as “An Elizabethan Feast”. (For a view of the menu, click on the link.)  After finishing our meal, we all stood and joined in for a couple of verses of “Auld Lang Syne”. While we were finishing up, the contingent from Japan slipped up to the balcony and treated us to a rendition of the Mickey Mouse theme song.

The Dining Hall at King’s College.  I had breakfast here daily.  The picture is of the final night of the meeting during the Elizabethan Feast. The Dining Hall for King’s College King’s College Chapel from the street side King’s College Chapel  looking toward the Alter  and Ruben’s Adoration  of the Magi.  At 289’ by  40’, it is the world’s  largest example of fan  vault architecture. Trinity College Gate from  the Great Court The Quad at Trinity  College. The scene from  “Chariots of Fire” did not  take place here but rather  at Eton College The Trinity College  Chapel with Benjamin  West’s painting of St Michael binding  Satan behind the Alter. I came across this  courtyard somewhere  in Cambridge, just not  sure where it was. Punting on the Cam River  at St. John’s College The streets of Cambridge King’s College from  across the Cam River.   With the Chapel on  the left. F Blenheim, Lords of the Manor & the Cotswolds