Queen Mother’s speech at the opening of Phase I on the 1st November 1966.
50 years on, the same ideals and standards are the inspiration of the definitive Netherhall project.
“It is often said that we live in an age of challenge, and I find it inspiring to visit Netherhall House today, because this new building exemplifies the successful acceptance of such a challenge.
Despite all that the modern state provides by way of social service, there are still vital needs for which we must rely on private initiative if they are to be properly met. One such need is for residential accommodation for university students, especially those from overseas. As Chancellor of the University of London, this need is a thing specially near to my heart. For London, with its unrivalled academic facilities, is a magnet which few can resist, and students flock here from all corners of the earth. Unfortunately, large cities can be unfriendly and inhospitable places until you get to know their ways. It is therefore particularly important that students who come here for the first time should find a home where they are sure of a welcome.
Mr. Audley has used the words ‘home’ and ‘family’ when speaking of Netherhall House, and this seems to express a vital element of your work here. The word ‘family’ immediately brings to mind the mutual respect and support, the sharing of interest and responsibilities, and the friendliness, which typify family life and which are indispensable to student life at its best. A home is a sure base from which it is possible to venture into the world, without fear of being lost in the wilderness — the base to which it is a joy and relief to return, and from which have grown the beliefs and standards which remain throughout one’s life. I cannot imagine a better place to foster such standards than Netherhall House, which is based on Christian traditions — above all on the tradition of service.
I am delighted to hear that those who enjoy the splendid facilities of this Centre are fully aware that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and are trying to share their talents and skills with those less fortunate than themselves. May all who live and work here be inspired to make some contribution to the societies in which they live, in whatever part of the world their chosen careers may lead them. In confident hope for the future of this enterprise, I have now much pleasure in declaring Netherhall House open”.