Today, 31st May, saw the official opening of the Clore Graduate Centre, Donald Fothergill Building and the Leatare Quadrangle at Lady Margaret Hall. This marks the culmination of a building project that has provided improved facilities for undergraduates and graduates in the college, as well as bringing together the various buildings at LMH in an harmonious series of quads and a beautiful and welcoming new entrance.

The new LMH entrance

The New Era project started over 10 years ago under the leadership of LMH’s previous Principal, Dame Frances Lannon, who said that “the inspiration was fundamentally a vision of what collegial education in Oxford in the 21st century should be”. The college needed more and better facilities for undergraduates, a proportion of whom had to live offsite for a year of their degree course. This need was satisfied by the construction of the Pipe Partridge building, which includes our beautiful Simpkins Lee Theatre and seminar and function rooms, such as the now much-used Monson and Amanda Foreman rooms. Pipe Partridge was opened in April 2010 by the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Patten of Barnes, CH.

The new buildings opened today, also by the Chancellor, add to these excellent facilities. The Clore Graduate Centre provides graduate students at LMH with accommodation and new communal areas, important to allow graduate students to fully participate in college life. The Graduate Centre opens onto the new Leatare Quadrangle, a beautiful and welcoming new entrance to the college. Running alongside the left hand side of the Leatare Quadrangle is the new Donald Fothergill building, housing a new Porters’ Lodge, further graduate accommodation and a seminar room.  The  new quad is also a journey into the history of LMH and its buildings. At the back stands the formidable Wolfson North, Raymond Erith’s former entrance to the college, built in the 1960s and, to the right, Old Old Hall, the original house where, in 1879 , LMH was born. “Over time, the college buildings zig-zagged down to the river and, in the 1970s, zig-zagged back”, explains current Principal, Alan Rusbridger, “now, the original Old Old Hall  stands proud in Oxford’s latest quadrangle- a historical reminder of the bold imperative of LMH’s founders.”

The Chancellor of Oxford University opens the new buildings, accompanied by the current Principal Alan Rusbridger and former Principal Dame Frances Lannon
LMH Graduate Centre entrance (photo credit: Ben Robinson)
The new LMH porters lodge

The buildings were designed by John Simpson Architects, leading architects in the classical tradition, best known for buildings such as the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. Their vision allowed for the new buildings to seemingly join and complement the existing college architecture, while creating new quadrangle areas which frame the space and incorporate existing buildings.

The Chancellor was joined by Alan Rusbridger and Dame Frances Lannon to open the new buildings and address an audience of current students and staff, as well as a large number of alumni whose generous donations to the project brought it to fruition. “We, and future generations, are tremendously in their debt” said Alan Rusbridger. This event is followed by an event for all donors to the project on Saturday 2nd September and information will be sent out in due course.

Map of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University