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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Consultation on maximum sound levels

The regulations on noise in Hall state:

Excessively loud music and other noise are not allowed at any time of day. The Warden or his nominated Deputy (normally the Duty Senior Member) shall be the arbiter of whether noise is excessive, and his/her decision shall be final.

You must make no noise audible from outside your room between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am.
The Warden would like to make the definition of "excessively loud" clearer. We have a sound level meter (decibel meter) in Hall so it may be useful for us to employ this in deciding whether noise is excessinve or not, by comparing the noise to established normal sound levels in everyday environments.

The point of measurement would need to be standardised. Two points are proposed: 15cm away from the door of the room where the noise is being generated, and/or in the centre of a neighbour's room (both horizontal and vertical neighbours). So for example, if you complained about noise, the Duty Senior Member could come to your room and take a sound level reading from inside your room; or if the Senior Member thinks noise is excessive whilst walking around the building on their rounds, they could check the sound level at the door of the room in question.

The chart below is a FIRST DRAFT of proposed maximum permissible sound levels, charted against time of day.

A better quality version, and a pdf download, are available here:

Your views on this proposal will be welcomed. No final decision has been made either to adopt this proposal at all, or on exactly what the maximum sound levels should be. One additional option might be to reduce the maximum permissible sound levels during the daytime, but then have a "power hour" where louder music is allowed even up to 80dB around, say, 18.00:

Please write to the Warden with your comments and ideas:

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thanksgiving speech - delivered Thursday 22nd November 2012

Welcome to the annual thanksgiving celebration at Connaught. The first thanksgiving celebration was in north America in 1621. It was only officially recognised in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation making it a national festival. This almost certainly makes Thanksgiving the most modern cultural festival that we celebrate at Connaught Hall.

And it is a festival that has a timeless relevance: for when times are good, it is all too easy to take for granted the very many people, things, and opportunities that have made us happy and safe; but when times are hard, we can find ourselves all too ready to complain about the things we feel we should have but do not. Thanksgiving reminds us that we should simply stop, recognise all the great things we do have, and the wonderful friends and relationships we all have in our lives, and say a heartfelt “thanks” for them. That way, we can be more content both in times of plenty and in times of hardship.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and togetherness. North Americans living in Hall this Thanksgiving might be physically far from their homes and families. But I hope being with your Connaught family this year can go towards making you feel just at home here.

Whilst being thankful for the people and opportunities that have brought us to where we are in our lives today, we should also think about our neighbours who might need more help or support from us. Whether they are fellow residents here in hall, students at college, or strangers, we can do more to make others happier and safer and in so doing, cause other people to be thankful for our kindness.
So let me leave you tonight with an exhortation to spend a few moments reflecting on what we are truly thankful for, and what we can do this week to give others cause for thanks, too.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Fire Practice: MONDAY 19 NOVEMBER

Weather permitting, a fire drill will be held on Monday evening (19th November).

When you hear the fire alarm:

  • Evacuate the building immediately.

  • Close all doors and windows behind you.

  • Leave by the shortest route.

  • Do not use the lift.

  • Assemble on the pavement outside Passfield Hall on Endsleigh Place.

Follow the green exit signs to find your nearest escape route. Hall staff will help you.

Remember it is possible that there may be a real fire alarm on the day, so for your own safety never ignore the alarm because you assume it is a drill.

If the total evacuation time is too long, more fire drills will be held over the next few weeks – so don’t let everyone else down!


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Diwali speech - delivered 13 November 2012

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is the Hindu "festival of lights". The name of the festival comes from the Sanskrit word dipavali, meaning row of lights. Hence our candlelit dinner here tonight.

Different parts of India associate different myths and legends with Diwali, but common to all is a celebration of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. It is seen as a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and goodwill, and a celebration of the many joys of life. A festival that celebrates these universal values and ideals is relevant to us all.

The light of the candles represents hope, faith, wisdom, and goodness. We find these qualities in our families, friendships, relationships, and in our community here in Hall. That is the wonderful message Diwali gives us.

So, please, enjoy the food, the music, the dancing, and videos that are all coming up. And let's raise a toast to light, hope, and friendship.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


It was moving to share today's two-minute silence with around 30 Connaught Hall residents in reception, gathered around a screen showing the BBC coverage of the Serive of Remembrance at the Cenotaph. This is the first time I have organised a formal, collective silence for remembrance in Hall so I was pleased to see so many residents join in this national moment of reflection and thanks.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday: 11th November

The second Sunday in November is traditionally put aside to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today. This year, Remembrance Sunday coincides with Armistice Day – 11th November – when we traditionally commemorate the end of the First World War.
On Sunday, Her Majesty The Queen will lead a national service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, starting at 10.30am.
At 11.00am, there will be a national two-minute silence. Of this, the Royal British Legion says:
“Remembrance transcends all boundaries … a rare moment when the nation can stand together and reflect on the price of freedom.”
Here in Hall, the ceremony at the Cenotaph will be streamed live to a screen in the reception lobby from 10.30am. I should like to invite you to join me in reception to stand and mark the two-minute silence at 11.00am on Sunday.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sickness absence

EDIT - THURSDAY 8th NOVEMBER - I have now resumed full and normal duties in my role as Warden at Connaught Hall.

I will be away from my normal Warden duties due to sickness for the next few days.

If you need help urgently, please contact the Hall Office (Mon-Fri, 8-6) or the Duty Senior Member (all other times). They are authorised to contact the Warden of another intercollegiate hall for advice if necessary in an emergency.

For routine matters, please email The Senior Members will deal with straightforward issues; I will take up the more complex, but non-urgent, matters when I return to work.

I expect to continue as planned with my scheduled open office sessions:, but will publish an update if there are any changes to this.

Remember, you can find answers to many questions about Hall life on the Hall website -, in the Residents' Handbook - and in the FAQs section of this blog -

This poster details the right people to contact for specific types of problems in Hall:

This poster contains details of reputable external sources of help & advice:

I am sorry for any inconvenience caused by my temporary absence from normal duties.