On the 7th June 2014 the Association celebrated its 2014 Summer Ball held in honour of that year’s graduands and to celebrate Manor Hall’s official 80th anniversary celebrations. We were pleased to welcome alumni of the Hall going back as far as the 1940s as well as a good number of the Hall’s current residents who had recently finished their examinations. A truly fitting way to commemorate the enduring community spirit that Manor Hall instills in all of those who are lucky enough to live there.
The evening started with tours of the recently refurbished Hall, for alumni who hadn’t had chance to survey the merits of the year long works some dramatic changes were in store for them. Completely new kitchens, toilets and showering facilities as well as carpeted corridors and each study bedroom in the main building being given some much needed TLC. The biggest structural change; however, must surely be the new layout of the Junior Common Room and Bar which were formally separated by a wall that has since been replaced by a folding replacement, meaning this space has much added flexibility.
A five course dinner was preceded by reception drinks in the Hall’s library and reception room as we began to welcome over 140 guests for dinner. The biggest event Manor has hosted in many years! At the end of dinner and after the obligatory toasts we showed our appreciation to the Warden who this year celebrates 30 years as Warden of Manor Hall and Sinclair House. After a surprise and heartfelt oration on behalf of all those students who have been fortunate to come under his wardenship, the room rose to a standing ovation accompanied by rapturous applause. The Warden responded with his characteristic modesty before a final toast was proposed to him. As a final touch, the Warden was presented with a pocket watch engraved with the Hall’s motto on one side and his credentials on the reverse. We hope this was a small, yet fitting, gesture of how much this one man has done to embody the ethos of Manor Hall, perhaps most perfectly summed up by the motto itself, taken from the gospel according to Matthew: ‘Estote ergo prudentes sicut serpentes et simplices sicut columbae’ (‘Be ye as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves’).
After dinner we moved down to the bar and Junior Common Room where we were treated by an energetic performance by the University of Bristol Jazz Orchestra, this 35 piece band certainly made an impression and had people taking to the dance floor within minutes. The evening was concluded was a DJ set filled with all the obligatory cheese. Afterwards a number of us continued the festivities on the Triangle. All in all a very special night in the life of Manor Hall, for some a time to reflect on their first year at university and the friendships they’d made here, and for others a time to rekindle memories of old with those very people with whom they were forged during their time as a student of the University and a resident of Manor Hall.