Lord Nuffield’s Benefaction

  • Norman Chester


Lord Nuffield went to see Lord Halifax, the Chancellor of Oxford University, in London on the morning of 8 July 1937. Halifax was then Lord President of the Council, becoming Foreign Secretary in February 1938. That same day Halifax telephoned the Registrar (D. Veale) about the conversation and wrote a confirmatory letter. Nuffield had told Halifax that ‘he had it in mind to offer to build on the waste ground that he has recently bought below St Peter’s Hall a College of Engineering’. Nuffield ‘had been much impressed with what seemed to him the gap in the equipment of Oxford on those lines, and felt that Oxford compared in this respect very unfavourably with Cambridge with the result that she lost many good men’. To build such a college would cost £250 000 and Nuffield said ‘he would be prepared to put up something in the nature of three-quarters of a million for endowment’.1 Though he mentioned only Engineering in his letter Halifax told Veale and the Vice-Chancellor that Lord Nuffield had talked in terms of a College of Engineering and Accountancy.


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  1. 1.
    The letter is reproduced by Drusilla Scott, A. D. Lindsay, (Oxford 1971) p. 231. She added: ‘Lord Nuffield had suspicions of Lindsay because of his politics, and so preferred to make this offer through the Chancellor and the Registrar.’Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    P.W.S. Andrews and E. Brunner, The Life of Lord Nuffield (Oxford, 1955) pp. 289–90.Google Scholar

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© Norman Chester 1986

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  • Norman Chester

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