Forty Years of Law at Lucy Cavendish
by Jillinda Tiley on 8 May 2017
Some Reflections from Jillinda Tiley, Emeritus Fellow and former Director of Studies for Law
It is somewhat difficult to believe I have been part of Lucy Cavendish College for more than 40 years! I came to Cambridge in 1967 with my husband, John, who was taking up a University appointment and Fellowship at Queens’. My eldest son, Nick, was then less than a year old; the following summer our second son, Chris, arrived. Once here, I was at once asked if I could supervise in Civil Law in the steps of Jim Turner who had recently died. Having been at Oxford as an undergraduate, I had a good grounding in Roman Law and had previously taught it for the London LLB. I was delighted to help and so began my supervising career. With tongue in cheek I have to say that Civil, or Roman Law, has some advantages over Common Law in that it does not change almost daily. I took The Times and read the Law Reports to keep up with developments but I did not have to worry too much about missing new developments in Civil Law.
In 1972, I accompanied John (and our now three children) to Canada on a Polish ship from Tilbury up the St Lawrence to Montreal. Mary had her first birthday en route. We spent John’s sabbatical year at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where John had a most productive time and made many lifelong friends. We returned home by Canadian Pacific train across Canada to Vancouver; then we took a flight, via a week in Fiji, to Auckland, New Zealand, where John taught for 9 weeks. The two boys went to school there, Chris starting on his fifth birthday, and Mary, then only 21 months, went to a local nursery. We then flew to Melbourne to pick up a ship for the six-week sail home. John wanted to see the Panama Canal and Mary had her second birthday on board!
On our return in 1973 I resumed my supervising duties and in 1974 undertook some part-time teaching at CCAT, now Anglia Ruskin University. There I met Jane Collier teaching economics, whose husband John, was a Law Fellow at Trinity Hall, and who was also directing studies in Law at Lucy Cavendish College. Jane was a senior member of Lucy and she proposed that I should also be elected, which I duly was. The College at that time was very small, as we had a total of only fifty students across all years together, with a very small number of Fellows. As an Oxford person, I had no Cambridge college allegiance and I was delighted to join the community at Lucy. As I had three small children I did not want to work full time; I also enjoyed supporting my husband in his role as tutor, as we frequently entertained students and I discovered that small children are excellent at breaking ice!
In 1975 I was asked to take over as Director of Studies from John Collier, which I happily did; I can remember that Gwen Cook was my first Lucy Lawyer. I was also supervising for at least six other colleges, giving me quite a full load. My teaching was, at that time, exchanged for teaching in the various chosen Tripos papers by academics in other colleges and over the years I must have taught for almost every college in the University. I am delighted to say that most of our supervisors really enjoyed teaching Lucy students and took great pleasure in their achievements. In 1980 I was elected a Fellow of the college and remained so until my retirement in October 2013. I am now delighted to be an Emeritus Fellow.
In the long course of my Lucy life I have had six offices, several shared with Jane Collier, which worked well as she had relatively few students. I started in what is now Christine Houghton’s office on the ground floor of College House. Oldham Hall had not then been planned, and the wall where the boilers now are, was then an outside wall with deep cracks. One of my students from Taiwan, studying at Churchill, was entranced by the rather down-at-heel state of the place - I don’t think he had ever seen anything like it and he told me he much preferred Lucy to Churchill! While Oldham was being built, we were rehoused in the ground floor of the old Carriage House, a two-storey building with outside spiral staircase to the upper floor, which stood where De Brye now is at the end of the drive - I remember giving a revision supervision on a blanket under the trees outside one summer! When Oldham Hall was built, we were moved into a small office which later became part of the gym and is now part of the conservatory. While the changes to Oldham were being made, we moved to a lovely room at the back of Barrmore, a sometime office or visiting Fellows’ room. That was short lived and we were off again, this time to the flat in Barrmore, as the Fellowship was growing and we were short of offices. I shared that one with Sarah Gull, who was in charge of graduate medics. For any who don’t know the flat, it is truly luxurious with two bedrooms, a large sitting room, kitchen and bathroom. I remember giving a party for Emeritus Fellows to celebrate our new-found luxury! Inevitably, the flat was eventually needed and my last perch was on the top floor back in College House. Those reading this piece can perhaps imagine the College in my time just by seeing where I was based!
In addition to supervising, I became a permanent member of CCAT’s staff in 1976. I remained as DoS there until 1990 when I was appointed to lead the now Anglia Ruskin University MA in European Business Law. I was delighted to hand over the reins as DoS at Lucy Cavendish to Louise Tee, who had supervised for us and was now an official College Lecturer in Law and GB Fellow. Louise was a marvellous addition and generations of students benefited from her care. We were deeply saddened when personal issues forced her to resign. Antje Pedain was also with us for a few years before leaving for Magdalene, when I was resurrected to stand in as DoS, until Anat Scolnicov took over -and then I came in again to cover Anat’s sick leave. I am so delighted we now have Rumi as a much-loved DoS, following Claire Fenton Glynn’s short tenancy. The problem is, of course, a perennial one - money! The college really needs to have an endowed Fellowship in Law which would allow it to fund somebody, whether or not they had a University post. If you feel you have benefited from your time at Lucy and would like to support this cause please do!
It would be invidious of me to pick out particular students whom I had enjoyed or particularly celebrated, I enjoyed you all! In the early years, the cohort was very small; latterly we had many more. I always enjoyed the interview process, looking for prospective students who would be fun to teach. You rarely disappointed us! Many of our students faced personal and financial problems in the course of their time at Lucy and we felt privileged to try to help. Lucy’s tutors have always done an amazing job and our delight in graduation and future career success is boundless. I remember many summers we invited students out to our home, Westchester, for a swimming party to celebrate the end of term. It was very much a family celebration.
I do hope Lucy will continue to offer chances to older women to achieve their potential. The company and fellowship shared goes down deep. I am proud that my daughter, Mary, the baby at the start of this piece came to Lucy as an archaeology graduate to do her PhD under Dr Jane Renfrew. She was one of the first intake to live in the new student residence, De Brye, and saw the opening of Warburton Hall. I know how much Lucy Cavendish College means to her.
It has been the greatest privilege to have been part of the story. Lawyers have always played a major part in the college community not only because of future job prospects but because there are no prescribed routes to entry. I once got into serious trouble for saying you did not have to be good at anything to read Law, but I meant just that – no pre-requisites, but not no knowledge! The variety of backgrounds people bring is one of our great strengths. It gives me enormous pleasure to meet up with you when you are in Cambridge, so please do let the Development Office know you are coming and if you want to see me, I will try to join you.