Retired Senior Members’ Association

Libby Jared

This year has seen Retired Senior Members (RSMs) once again able to fully embrace the pleasures of being retired, we are delighted that we can now return – if we live locally – to our routine of meeting in the Combination Room on the third Friday of the month during term time.

Libby Jarad - Senior Members Homerton College

We are grateful for the always warm welcome we receive from current members of College and their desire to include us in many celebratory events.

Although it may still be difficult not to consider time in pre or post lockdown terms, we were relieved not only to be able to return to the ‘new normal’ but to do so with an added determination to make up for the lost time. As a result, we have been steadily building up a range of activities that we can engage in.

Amongst this year’s activities were a number of talks. Two were, broadly speaking, education-based and two were College specific. For the former, Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges reported on the research she had undertaken on the life and work of Sedley Taylor and how his own little-known progressive schooling may have informed his philanthropy in relation to his education work, whilst Linda Hargreaves discussed her research over recent years into the changing role and nature of rural schools.

In terms of being specific to College, firstly Sue Conrad talked about her work on the Royal Charter Project that has brought together a collection of items and papers relating to the granting of it to Homerton in 2010. Secondly, and with the RSMs meeting in the Great Hall, Philip Rundall shared much information about the collection of College Principals’ portraits displayed there in terms of the subject, the artist and nature of the commission.

Such talks are indicative of our wish and intention that RSMs have been developing over the last few years; as we hold on to our own memories we should also be passing such memories onto College to add them to Homerton’s histories. The annual RSMA Newsletter (published online on Homerton’s website for all to read) is a valuable resource recording many a tale of past practices and possibly, at times, adventures. In this year’s edition it would appear that Peter Cunningham spends much of his ‘retirement’ delving into archival material as the on-going Heritage Project has begun to record life histories of various subject departments and personnel. David Bridges, a former Vice-Principal, included a rich history of developments in teacher education during the time that Paul Hirst was in Cambridge; John Hopkins reported on his time as Homerton’s Composer in Residence, and Kate Pretty wrote a heart-felt appreciation of Sir David Harrison, Chairman of Trustees from 1979 to 2010 and the crucial, supportive role he played in helping Homerton to achieve full college status within the University.

All these Homerton histories are, as one says, only for starters. We would like to think that we will be able to be even more vibrant next year.