Wolfson celebrates longtime benefactor, builds kitchen

Wolfson College had double cause for celebration last week as they opened a new kitchen and renamed residential blocks after their previously anonymous benefactor.

The state-of-the-art kitchen opened Monday 12th November on programme and within budget following several months of building work. It represents a complete refurbishment and vast improvement on the original kitchen which was over forty years old.

Architects have aimed to complement aesthetically the grade II listed dining hall with a copper-fronted servery and Welsh slate floors.

Student President Andrew Cutts said: “The new kitchen is absolutely fantastic. It is much improved from the old one in that the chefs have more space and improved facilities to prepare the wonderful food that they produce day in day out.”

Senior Tutor Professor Andrew Neil added: “There is no comparison between a 40-year old kitchen and an ergonomically designed high-tech kitchen with innovations such as induction cooking and dedicated food preparation areas.”


The refurbishment process was managed with minimal disruption to staff and students. Andrew Neil said: “The kitchen staff have coped superbly and despite the limitations of a temporary Portacabin kitchen have continued to provide outstanding cuisine.”

Cutts expressed similar satisfaction with the work of the kitchen staff during the months of building work. He said: “The use of the temporary kitchen worked amazingly well and the chefs and kitchen staff did an excellent job and produced high class food in difficult conditions.”

At the opening ceremony kitchen staff were recognized in a speech by the College President Hermione Lee and presented with gifts for their hard work in maintaining the same high standards throughout the process.

On Tuesday 13th November Hermione Lee also led a ceremony to rename Q Block as the Catherine Marriott Building after the late wife of a benefactor who until now had wished to remain anonymous. The residential block was opened in September 2009 as a gift to the College from one of its former Fellows Dr Francis Marriott.

Dr Marriott was a Governing Body Fellow of Wolfson from 1970 to 1993 and an Emeritus Fellow until his death in May this year. At the ceremony Professor Lee said of Dr Marriott: “With his characteristic quiet modesty he wished to remain anonymous, although he did discreetly come into College more than once to look around his building and I think he liked what he saw.”

The Q block is the most modern of all Wolfson accommodation and offers 18 study bedrooms and four flats suitable for couples. Andrew Cutts said: “The facilities are first class; each room is en suite and the kitchens are large. I know all the residents of the new Catherine Marriott building are highly satisfied to live there.”

The event was attended by Dr Marriott’s friends, relations, old colleagues, and fellow-Wolfsonians, including Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Oxford Jon Stallworthy, whom Professor Lee acknowledged as a vital and lasting link between Dr Marriott and the College.

Anna Johnson Development Officer at Wolfson was among those present and said: “It was a lovely occasion. It marks the generosity of Dr Marriott over many years and will be a lasting memorial to him and to his wife.”