Emmanuel: A Spirit of Place

In 2015, the College commissioned a Conservation Statement, which was drawn up by leading architectural historian Jeremy Musson, Oliver Caroe and their colleagues from Cambridge Architectural Research.

Emmanuel’s Conservation Statement

The statement contains much detail about our history, heritage and conservation of our buildings and grounds, but it’s about much more besides. The statement is about the spirit of the place. It tells us about:

  • our heritage, our history, about all that we have received from our predecessors;
  • what makes Emmanuel what it is today; how our past has influenced our present, how those of us who are here now regard it, and what makes Emmanuel the College we all cherish;
  • and how all of this, our past and present, influence our future. Where Emmanuel is going, what we can achieve, and what we want to do next, to build on our heritage.

Here’s what we found:

  • Emmanuel is rich architecturally, with 19 listed buildings and a sense of continual development, stemming from a medieval religious site of teaching and learning, and with connections between medieval, sixteenth-, seventeenth-, eighteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century elements.
  • We are a place that people love, where the open spaces matter as much as the building; where Front Court, the Paddock and features such as the Oriental Plane play a key role in influencing the sense of place.
  • We are a meritocracy, stemming from puritan roots whose purpose was to educate Anglican priests for the people. Our students come from schools of all kinds and locations. We are a place of tradition, but not of pomposity, and membership is for life.
  • Together, all the elements of our College – buildings, spaces, traditions and people – create an unmistakable identity, a ‘spirit of place’ that owes its existence to the continuous interweaving of history, people and adaptation to new circumstances.

Emmanuel has for each of us, a spirit of place.

What do you think?

We asked students whether Front Court or the Paddock better represents the spirit of Emmanuel in their minds. What do you think?

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Download the Conservation statement

If you would like to read the Conservation Statement in full, click below to download PDF documents.