Choral Compline in St Catharine's College Chapel

Alison & I followed another of Brian's recomendations to hear music in the Chapel at St Catharines.

We went to the Choral Compline service after the formal dinner leaving the young students in the bar. The regulars made sure they had a good cushion and were comfortable before the 5 minute silence. (Sleep was not ruled out!)

 With the small college members choir* of 5 male and 5 female voices the singing really brought out the excellent acoustics of the chapel that Brian would have recognised.
The Chapel organ, right,  also had a superb sound after it was rebuilt in 1978 and further matched to the Chapel in 2002.

 Changes since Brian's day include the change they all looked forward to with the admission of women but he might not have imagined a female Master at the college and as for the choir of schoolgirls! Hearing the full choirs for carols has gone onto our list.

Raising a Glass to Brian at St. Catharines Hall

Laura managed to get 3 Guest tickets to dine in the MCR Formal Dinner at St Catharine's College Hall.
There were guests from four other colleges that resulted in all 250 seats being booked for a full and lively evening.

Brian would of course recognised the hall, the rules, such as not leaving the table between the two gongs, grace in Latin, etc. John a new member of Emma and other colleges were surprised by the Katz strict adherence to traditional protocols.

We raised a glass to Brian, it seemed right, after the pudding gong and the port was passed.

For more Cambridge news about Brian's grandson John & Laura, see this post on the McGonigle family blog at www.mcgonigle.co.uk


Brian's record at St. Catharine's Boat Club

Whilst at St. Catharine's he was indeed actively involved in the Boat Club, winning the Fuller Cup for Senior Sculls in the 1952. I believe the Fuller Cup is a College prize for an open sculls competition. 

The College's Boat Club minute book for the period record Burtt as a member of the Club from his arrival. In Michaelmas Term 1949 he rowed in the 2nd Division 3rd Boat at number 4 and the boat moved up 11 places. In the 1950 Races Brian was in the 2nd VIII almost continuously. In 1951 he moved up to the 1st VIII. 

The minute book also records Brian's victory in the Open Sculls (Fuller Cup) competition in Lent Term 1952.

Thanks again go to Elizabeth Ennion-Smith the Archivist at St. Catharine's College who supplied the information in these 3 posts.


BA with Honours despite his Rowing!

Brian took Part 1 of the Mathematical Tripos in 1950 but unfortunately failed to get a third, so was awarded a 'Special' (which would contribute to an ordinary BA rather than a BA with honours). He went on to read for Part 1 of the English Tripos in 1951, but having to fit two years worth of work into one year caused him to come away with a third.He also gained a third in Part 2 of the English Tripos in 1952. 

In the references written for him, his Tutor had hoped he might get a second, but he spent too much time rowing! He is described as a 'rowing fanatic' and had a trial for the University, but I do not believe he was selected for the team. In the references written for him when applying for teaching positions he is described as a 'straightforward, likeable man' who 'I would trust anywhere'.

Brian's full life and various careers did not seem to have been hindered by his dedication to rowing over the academic life. He certainly testified that he took away a network of contacts, lifelong friendships and the College ethos from his time at St Catharines.


Brian's School Years.

The following posts contain information from the St Catharine's College archive.
Thanks go to Elizabeth Ennion-Smith the Archivist at Kats and Laura Burzynsky a current member of the college and fiancee to John McGonigle, Brian's grandson.

Brian was born on the 24th August 1928 to Frederick Richard Burtt, a company secretary in St. Albans.
Prior to coming up to St. Catharine's Brian attended Eastbourne Grammar School (1939-1940) a
nd St. Albans County School (1941-1946). Eastbourne Grammar School is noted as an 'Evacuation School' so he may have been evacuated during the war. After school Brian did his military service with the RAF, and was released in June 1949, enabling him to come up to St. Catharine's in October 1949. 

I believe he came up a little earlier that summer to re-acquaint himself with University work.