Selwyn College, Cambridge

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Archive Image of the Month

Let Selwyn's Archivist, Elizabeth Stratton, give you a taster of the College archives. Every month Elizabeth selects a particularly interesting piece from the archives and provides an insight into its history and significance. 

 Archive Image of the Month – June 2017

May Ball 'survivors' 1948


May Ball 'survivors' 1948 

The 2017 May Ball to be held at the end of June follows the tradition of College Balls first begun almost seventy years ago. Students had hoped to hold a ball in 1947 but permission was not given on the grounds of expense following the War. In the following year it was agreed to hold a ball, though considerable inventive thinking was required given the financial limitations.

The report in the Calendar for 1948 described the ball as “a great success” and continues that it “has demonstrated it is possible to run, inexpensively, a Ball which compares very favourably with any other in Cambridge”. In the absence of a marquee, the Hall had served as the main venue and the College kitchens provided much of the catering.

The Master, William Telfer, who had only been elected in the previous year, put in an early appearance and then, to the surprise and delight of all, re-emerged from the Lodge at 6am for the survivors’ photograph. He can be seen sitting on the left of the photograph.

As always, any questions about the College Archives can be directed to the Archivist on We are always grateful to hear from members of College about any photographs and memories you may have.

Previous Archive images can be seen here:

Elizabeth Stratton, June 2017

The Archivist is always delighted to arrange Archive visits and to receive Selwyn memorabilia, photos and stories. To contact Elizabeth Stratton, please email:



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