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Peacock Drinks 2019

Univ Peacock Drinks 2019On the 16 May 2019, on a glorious sunny evening, we welcomed over 100 Univ OM Historians for “The Peacock Drinks” at the Orangery in Holland Park.

The first event of its kind, and reuniting Old Members from 1957 to 2014, the drinks were enlivened by a terrific speech from Dr Leslie Mitchell, Emeritus Fellow. In his inimitable style, Leslie shared reflections on life at Holland House in the late eighteenth century, and on his own time at Univ. The crowd was hugely appreciative.

Among the attendees, also on fine form, were Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann, Emeritus Fellow, Dr Catherine Holmes, Tutorial Fellow,  Dr Ben Jackson, Tutorial Fellow, and Dr Andrew Bell, Senior Tutor at Univ. A toast was also raised in absentia to Dr Sandy Murray. An introduction from the Master was followed by closing remarks from Ben Grass (1990, History).

Univ Peacock Drinks 2019 Thanks to the generous donations from those attending, the College has been able to fund a postgraduate scholarship in the humanities at Univ. The scholarship is part of the new match funding scheme run by the College in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It is wonderful to be able to do this after a single event, and we are enormously grateful to all who contributed.

The event itself was kindly sponsored by a number of Old Members – Ruben Bhagobati (1990, History), J Bowers (1989, History, Mod Lang), Mike Bradley (1997, History), Ashlee Godwin (2003, History), Ben Grass (1990, History), Ben Hubble (1987, History), Mark Hudson (1990, History), Jamie Owen (1987, History), Anthony & Rachel Parsons (1986, History and 1987, English), Lupo von Maltzahn (1989, History), and Justin Wateridge (1989, History). Thanks to all for these very welcome contributions.

The celebrations continued long after the event at the Orangery had concluded, and a good time was had by all. We think it is safe to say that Univ Old Historians remain vigorous, gregarious, and most supportive of the College!

Event Report by Ben Grass (1990)

Univ Peacock Drinks 2019 “It was a special feeling to be in a room full of many generations of Univ historians, a rare and unusual species…Leslie Mitchell was in sparkling form as ever, his short speech effortlessly erudite and amusing of course – but also by turns poignant and serious. All surely agreed with him about the enduring importance of the proper study of history, especially in these turbulent times.” – Mark Hudson (1990, History)

“Holland House is the perfect – the only – venue for Univ historians of the Mitchell era. It was great to see old friends, to make new ones, and to hear Leslie Mitchell as sharply witty and knowledgeable as ever.” – Sean Lang (1979, BA and MA History)

“Leslie gave a speech that had us all roaring with laughter – he has always known how to soften us up for a serious message: this time, that the writing of history should be compassionate, not judgemental… Many avoided “strap-hanging on the Central Line” home, opting instead to continue the celebrations at a pub around the corner. The affectionate debates that ensued reminded us that it would be a tragedy indeed, if the Humanities at Oxford were not to retain their health and vigour for future generations. The evening reminded us that each of us is lucky to have been, and remain, a Univ Historian.” Caroline von Nathusius (1995, History, Mod Lang)

We hope you enjoy this selection of images from the day. Photo Credit: Sam Cornish.

Published: 6 June 2019

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