Women can apply to join Cambridge’s ‘Bullingdon’
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.