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The Chandrakala and Mansukhlal Shah Building

It is vital, as we look towards our first half-century, that we preserve the records that bear witness to Robinson’s origins and ongoing history. The support of the Robinson community across the globe is helping to ensure that the records of what we have developed and established together are fully and properly preserved for the future.

Thanks to the support of the Robinson community we were able to add a new building to the fabric of our institution, namely the Chandrakala & Mansukhlal Shah Building, which is now the permanent home for the College archive.

This photo story takes a look at the history of the building from the groundbreaking ceremony to its completion and handover in January 2020. (Please note there is no sound accompanying this photo story, just images.)

Fellow Archivist, Peter Milloy, says:

‘It was a great joy to be able to hold one Archive Committee meeting in the new archive building in January 2020, and the lockdown hasn’t slowed us down since then. With Joan Bullock Anderson, our professional Archivist, we have been busily cataloguing and moving the archive, sifting and sorting hundreds of files and folders, and uncovering some gems along the way. Of the thousands of records that have been catalogued and transferred, many relate to the foundation of Robinson College – such as the papers of quantity surveyor Victor Bugg, who worked with David Robinson, the building consortium, Trustees and even John Piper. We are also working on papers of Commander George Coupe, whose wide experience in the Navy proved an important factor in his contributions to the foundation of the College firstly as Warden’s Secretary and latterly as Junior Bursar and the first Fellow Archivist.

We are now starting detailed cataloguing of the papers of four Robinson College Trustees, which paint a fascinating story of the College’s ‘pre-history from the early 1970s and the relative speed at which the College came into being.

In 2021 we hope also to resume our project to build the Audio Archive via interviews with founding Fellows and other significant contributors to the College story. Finally, we are capturing records of how the College has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, which itself will become a key feature of our history in years to come.’


Why you supported this project

“My path was shaped by the wisdom and guidance of my parents, immigrants to the UK by way of India and Kenya. After them, it was Cambridge that provided me with an informed outlook on the world. In naming this new archive building in my parents’ honour, I endeavour to sustain the principles they valued — hard work, dedication, excellence. We must continue to keep our eyes on the future but never forget our past.”

Hamel Shah (Economics, 1994)


“I have been asked to say a few words about why I decided to make a lead gift for this building to be. And it’s as simple as this: I wanted to ensure that it actually got built. Archives are not showy but they are costly. They are also essential in helping to preserve history and in helping future scholars understand how and why decisions were taken by their predecessors. They should be at the core of all Colleges as places of learning and research. I certainly hope this one will be.”

Ross Reason (Fellow, Investment Officer and Former Finance Bursar), groundbreaking ceremony, 17 June 2019


“Robinson’s relative youth allows it to establish a complete archive from its foundation into the future. Having been present at the commencement of its operations, I was delighted to support the archive project.”

Kevin Parry (Management Studies, 1980)