Women can ap­ply to join Cam­bridge’s ‘Bulling­don’

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Harry Yorke

ONE of Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity’s old­est pri­vate mem­ber’s club has bro­ken with 180 years of tra­di­tion by vot­ing to ad­mit fe­males – if elected.

The Pitt Club – founded in 1835 to honour Wil­liam Pitt the Younger, an alum­nus of Pem­broke Col­lege and at 24, Bri­tain’s youngest prime min­is­ter, – in­vited mem­bers to vote on Tues­day.

The de­ci­sion means that women, un­til now only per­mit­ted to events as guests, may ap­ply for elec­tion to the club. In a state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day, a Pitt Club spokesman said: “The Club looks for­ward to wel­com­ing its first fe­male mem­bers.”

The de­ci­sion to hold a vote was made, it is thought, to im­prove the club’s im­age, which has been tar­nished over the years by tales of de­bauch­ery and strange ini­ti­a­tion cer­e­monies.

While founded as a po­lit­i­cal so­ci­ety, crit­ics have com­pared it to Ox­ford’s no­to­ri­ous Bulling­don Club, some­thing mem­bers have fre­quently re­futed.

How­ever, like its Ox­ford coun­ter­part, en­try is only pos­si­ble via elec­tion, which of­ten re­quires risqué ini­ti­a­tions.

Mem­bers have been thought to in­clude Ed­ward VII and Ge­orge V, John May­nard Keynes and, more re­cently, Os­car-win­ning ac­tor Ed­die Red­mayne.

Af­ter buying a base in Je­sus Lane, Cam­bridge, in 1907, Pitt mem­bers en­joyed a lux­u­ri­ous club­house de­signed by the ar­chi­tect Sir Matthew Digby Wy­att. Faced with se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties dur­ing the Nineties, the bot­tom floor of the Grade II listed build­ing was leased to Pizza Ex­press.

♦ An Ox­ford col­lege has bought spe­cial “light boxes” to help stu­dents beat the win­ter blues. St Hilda’s is buying the med­i­cally cer­ti­fied lights to help suf­fer­ers of sea­sonal af­fec­tive dis­or­der (SAD) af­ter stu­dents passed a mo­tion in favour of mak­ing the pur­chase.

Light ther­apy is one pos­si­ble treat­ment for the symp­toms of SAD, which in­clude de­pres­sion, lethargy, anx­i­ety and trou­ble wak­ing up in the morn­ings. The dis­or­der is thought to be caused by re­duced ex­po­sure to sun­light in win­ter.

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