A Beacon in the Tempest
Chapter 10: The impact of war
1 THE PRELUDE When war broke out on 4 August 1914, Neville Keynes had reached the peak of his personal ambitions. His election in November 1910 to the post of registrary had elevated him to the top of the university’s small paid bureaucracy. For over a century the registrary had been a fellow of Trinity – the largest and academically most eminent of Cambridge colleges. To be returned unopposed to this ofﬁce was striking evidence of the high esteem in which Dr Keynes – not then a fellow of any college – was held by senior members of the university. It is therefore not surprising that Pembroke hastily elected its ex-fellow into an honorary fellowship. Neville was genuinely gratiﬁed by this unexpected honour. More important to his future, however, was the fact that he could retain his unpaid secretaryship on the Council of the Senate, a role which had, within the previous twenty years, become politically far more weighty and challenging than the formalized ofﬁce of registrary. By holding both posts, Neville Keynes became the most pivotal individual member of the university bureaucracy in a period of radical, difﬁcult and painfully contentious reform. That the two ofﬁces could most conveniently and efﬁciently be held by one individual was later formalized by adding the Council secretary’s duties to the statutory obligations of the registrary. Inevitably Neville was obliged to vacate his administrative post as chief secretary for Local examinations at the end of 1910 (when he was in...
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