Town mouse on changes at Peterhouse

When I was at Peterhouse, there was still a bath house. Known, after a previous master, as the Birdwood, it was a place to which traditionalists still made resort from time to time, despite private bathrooms. Then, a firebrand among the students performed a brilliant if, to some of us, destructive-coup, by unplumbing the baths and moving them out onto the lawn.

There they remained, like an eccentric conversation piece, until they were hauled off. Once decommissioned, the Birdwood, it was thought, could house the Sex Club (not what you think-it’s short for Sexcentenary; the college is more than 700 years old, but the junior common room still likes the name). Baths did not, alas, give way to beer; the Birdwood closed and that was that.

Until now. Three or four decades later, the cheeky undergraduate vision is being realised. John Simpson, that great manipulator of space, has designed an accommodation block, in the basement of which will be-yes-the Sex Club’s new home. The name, pro tem, is the Whittle Building, after Petrean Sir Frank Whittle. However, I dare say that if any reader made a sufficiently generous contribution to the £18 million Peterhouse Development Campaign, that could change.