Teddy Hall Middle Common Room for postgraduates at Queen's Lane refurbished

11 May 2023

Antonin Charret (MCR President) and Natalie Shteiman (Vice-President) in the newly refurbished MCR
Antonin Charret (MCR President) and Natalie Shteiman (Vice-President) in the newly refurbished MCR

St Edmund Hall’s Middle Common Room (MCR) for postgraduate students at the Queen’s Lane site has recently been refurbished into a modern social space with improved facilities to meet the needs of our graduates today. President, Antonin Charret (2020, DPhil Education) and Vice-President Natalie Shteiman (2021, MPhil Global and Area Studies) of the MCR Committee organised this project with the support of the Maintenance and Bursary teams at the Hall. We hear from Natalie, the lead graduate behind the design, about how the renovation progressed.

Natalie writes: “I ran for the Vice-President position with the renovation in mind and volunteered to become involved in the interior design of the space. Since the Middle Common Room at 19 Norham Gardens (Norham St Edmund Graduate centre) will be under renovation beginning in Autumn 2023, Antonin and I agreed that now would be the perfect time to renovate the MCR, which has been in discussion for several years, since it will be the primary location for our social events for the foreseeable future.

The previous MCR was charming, cosy, and warm but it needed to be refreshed. Without compromising on these feelings, we felt were integral to maintain, we updated the style of the room to make it more open and spacious. Although parts of the space are modern, we strategically chose features that would give the space an antique charm: antique brass kitchen handles, warm coloured lighting, and dark wood floors to match the trim of the wall panelling. We began to discuss the floorplan of the MCR in Michaelmas 2022 and began submitting motions of major decisions to our general meetings every term where MCR members shared their thoughts on our ideas. One of our favourite components of the new MCR was the repurposing of the previous bar’s worktop. Alex Grant (Deputy Estates Manager) had the idea to save it and use it as a breakfast bar in another part of the room.

The upcycled MCR Bar worktop

Antonin and I put a lot of thought into the design decisions. I love the outdoor spaces in college and wanted to incorporate a bit of the colours from the outdoors, which you can see from the windows in the room, into the actual space which is why I decided that we could incorporate different styles of leather and textured furniture with shades of green.

This would not have been possible without Alex Grant, Stephen Lloyd (Estates Manager), Tom Gallagher (College Carpenter), Gerald McGrath (General Maintenance Assistant), Phil Didcock (College Plumber), Liam Webb (General Maintenance Assistant), the entire maintenance team, Belinda Huse (Accommodation Manager), and the porters at the lodge. Alex and Stephen understood the vision for the space but very much made it a reality.

Thanks to the help of Professor Jonathan Yates (College Dean) and Rob Petre (College Archivist), we incorporated quite a bit of original art which was in the College’s collection. In addition, we are displaying original works from two student artists, Sarah Savić Kallesøe and Felix Bennemann.

We hope future generations of Aularians love the space as much as we do.”

Alumni are very welcome to visit the Hall and see the new MCR when they are next in Oxford. You can contact the Development and Alumni Relations Office at aularianconnect@seh.ox.ac.uk to arrange a visit. To learn more about the history of the MCR visit our MCR history page.

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