General News

Thursday, 05 November 2015 10:54


ICE archaeologist Gilly Carr discovers grave of Nazi victim in BBC investigation

ICE archaeologist Dr Gilly Carr has discovered the grave of a long-lost Nazi victim as part of a BBC Inside Out investigation.

Sidney Ashcroft was deported from Nazi-controlled Guernsey for stealing food and punching a German soldier in an attempt to protect his mother.

Sidney was one of the 'Guernsey Eight' - a group of islanders who were deported to different Nazi prisons and concentration camps for various defiant acts against the occupying Germans in the Channel Islands during WWII.

Dr Carr has spent years researching the lives of deported Channel Islanders and has retraced Sidney's final steps. Accompanied by his cousin, who she tracked down, she discovered Sidney's resting place in a mass grave in the cemetery of St Michael in Straubing, where Sidney's body had been dumped after his death from tuberculosis in Straubing prison in Germany. Dr Carr and Sidney's cousin, Chris Roberts, were able to lay a plaque in the place of the mass grave so that Sidney's final resting place could be remembered.

The people of Straubing have since planted flowers around the plaque and a local priest has blessed the burial place.

The poignant story was captured for the BBC's Inside Out programme, broadcast on BBC One on Monday 2 November 2015.

Nazi victim Sidney Ashcroft's grave found after 70 years - read the full story on the BBC website

BBC Inside Out 02/11/2015 - watch the programme on BBC iPlayer


Thursday, 15 October 2015 10:08

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Dr Susan Oosthuizen elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Dr Susan Oosthuizen, Reader in Medieval Archaeology and ICE's Academic Director for Historic Environment, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (RHS).

Since it was founded in 1868 the RHS has become the foremost society in the UK working with professional historians and advancing the scholarly study of the past. It is a learned society with charitable status that is increasingly at the forefront of policy debates about the study of history. It works closely with the Historical Association, the body that leads on history in schools, the Institute of Historical Research, a central hub for the provision of research resources, and History UK (HE), a council of representatives of UK university history department.

Fellowships are awarded to those who have made "an original contribution to historical scholarship", normally through the authorship of a monograph, a body of scholarly work similar in scale and impact to a monograph, or the organisation of exhibitions, conferences, the editing of journals and other works of diffusion and dissemination grounded in historical scholarship.

Susan is delighted to have been elected to a Fellowship of the RHS. "It is not only a personal honour", she says, "but one that recognises the contribution to world-class scholarship in history and archaeology by academics and students across the wider higher education context of lifelong learning."

Further information

Dr Susan Oosthuizen's profile

Royal Historical Society website

Historic Environment courses at ICE


Friday, 04 September 2015 10:49

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Dr Gilly Carr awarded German grant for her work with victims of Nazi persecution

Dr Gilly Carr, University Senior Lecturer and Academic Director in Archaeology at ICE, has been awarded 50,000 Euros by the EVZ Foundation for her research on Channel Islander victims of Nazi persecution. The EVZ Foundation (Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zunkuft – Remembrance, Responsibility, Future) was set up to support projects on victims of Nazism.

Although the funding will cover Gilly’s research expenses and outreach activities for three years, and will pay for research assistants in Jersey, Guernsey and Berlin, the funding that Gilly has received will primarily be used to build a sophisticated website on which will be uploaded the testimonies written by islanders in the 1960s to get compensation from the German government.

These islanders had been sent to Nazi prisons and concentration camps for acts of resistance against the German occupying forces in the Channel Islands between 1940 and 1945. They represent a key group of British citizens who experienced these institutions and have been largely forgotten outside the Channel Islands.

Gilly has collected around 100 testimonies out of the c.250 islanders deported to prisons and camps, and will supplement these records with public and private archival and family documents from Jersey, Guernsey, the UK and across Germany. These will be cross-referenced with camp and prison records, maps and photographs to build up an online picture of the experience of islanders in their journeys across Europe as they were moved between prisons and camps, often in chains or in cattle trucks.

This project, which will take three years, will be supplemented by a book. Gilly has a contract with Bloomsbury Academic to write Testimonies of Nazi Persecution from the Channel Islands: A Legitimate Heritage? This book will build upon an earlier monograph, published in 2014, entitled Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands, which was co-authored by Paul Sanders and Louise Willmot.

Over the last few years, Gilly has carried out much heritage and memory-related work in the Channel Islands with victim groups of Nazi persecution, such as excavating a forced labour camp; giving public lectures on Holocaust Memorial Day; curating exhibitions on those deported from the islands to civilian internment camps; and designing a Resistance Trail. She has also campaigned for memorials to be erected to people who died in Nazi prisons and camps.

Gilly is extremely excited to have received this funding and is looking forward to continuing her research in this field and raising awareness about the plight of these Channel Islanders, to make sure that their experience is integrated into what is known of British experiences of the Holocaust.

View Dr Gilly Carr’s profile

Find out more about Archaeology courses at ICE


Wednesday, 19 August 2015 10:54

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Rebecca Lingwood appointed Vice-Principal at Queen Mary University of London

Dr Rebecca Lingwood is set to leave ICE in September after six years as Director of Continuing Education, to take up a prestigious new post as Vice-Principal for Student Experience, Teaching and Learning at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Rebecca will be responsible for supporting and developing the educational provision at QMUL and will also contribute more broadly to the academic leadership of the university. In addition, she will take up an academic post in QMUL's School of Engineering and Materials Science, where she will hold the title of Professor of Fluid Dynamics.

A new Director of Continuing Education here at ICE will be in post in early 2016 and Professor Sir Mike Gregory, retiring Head of Cambridge's Institute for Manufacturing, will serve as Acting Head of ICE in the interim.

In keeping with ICE tradition, a portrait of Dr Lingwood (pictured), painted by local artist Heloise Toop, will hang in Madingley Hall to commemorate her time here.

We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Rebecca for her inspirational and dynamic leadership, and wish her all the best in her exciting new role!


Thursday, 25 June 2015 08:24

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Dr Ed Turner awarded prestigious teaching prize

We are delighted to announce that Dr Ed Turner, ICE’s Academic Director for Biological Sciences, has been awarded a prestigious Pilkington Prize for his outstanding teaching.

The 22nd annual Pilkington Prizes, which honour excellence in teaching across the University of Cambridge, were held at Corpus Christi College on 23 June 2015.

Ed was one of 13 inspirational academics to receive an award from Professor Graham Virgo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education.

The Pilkington Prizes were initiated by Sir Alastair Pilkington, the first Chairman of the Cambridge Foundation, who believed passionately that the quality of teaching was crucial to Cambridge’s success.

About Dr Ed Turner

Dr Ed Turner gained his BA in Natural Sciences from Girton College, before continuing to study for his PhD in the Insect Ecology Group at the Department of Zoology, Cambridge. Since then, he has worked with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (BCN) Wildlife Trust, investigating butterfly diversity on chalk grassland reserves and with Imperial College, London running the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems Project in Sabah – one of the largest ecological experiments in the world.

Ed joined the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) in January 2012 as Academic Director and ICE Teaching Officer in Biological Sciences. He is also an affiliated researcher in the Insect Ecology Group, University Museum of Zoology, and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.

As well as being a charismatic and enthusiastic science communicator, Dr Turner supervises undergraduate and graduate students, gives lectures for the Department of Zoology, and is Director of Studies for Part 1A Evolution and Behaviour at Clare College. Outside the University, he has presented over 70 public lectures since 2006.

As ICE Teaching Officer, Dr Turner has made an enormous difference to ICE’s Biological Sciences teaching and strengthened our links to the School of Biological Sciences, particularly to Zoology, and to the Museums and Collections.

Ed’s teaching includes short courses on topics including evolution, zoological collecting, and the secret lives of insects. He also leads well-received biodiversity tours of Madingley.

Ed has designed and delivered several new University of Cambridge qualifications in the last three years, including a Certificate and Diploma in Evolutionary Biology and an Advanced Diploma in Ecological Monitoring and Conservation. Some of his teaching is fully online and his associated open-access online tasters are very popular.

Dr Turner is full of creative ideas and is a committed and collaborative colleague who contributes fully to the Institute’s work.

View Dr Ed Turner’s full profile

Find out more about Biological Sciences courses at ICE


Friday, 20 March 2015 14:26

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Madingley Hall achieves Sustainable Restaurant 2 Star Rating

We are delighted to announce that ICE's headquarters, Madingley Hall, has recently been awarded 2 stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. This award recognises the ongoing work of our catering team to produce local, seasonal and ethically sourced meals.

To achieve this accolade the Hall underwent a stringent audit, judged across 14 different categories. These included: sourcing local and seasonal produce, fish, ethical meat, dairy and Fairtrade; community engagement; healthy eating; and responsible marketing and environmental initiatives incorporating water saving, supply chain, waste management and energy efficiency.

The Sustainable Restaurants Association (SRA) operates a Sustainability Rating system which helps diners to identify establishments that match their own sustainability criteria. Restaurants are graded One, Two or Three Star ‘sustainability champions’ according to the results of the audit. The SRA is a not-for-profit organisation headed up by leading Chef Raymond Blanc as President. It has over 4,000 members in the UK all united in their commitment to sustainability.

Madingley Hall is home to the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, as well as being a leading conference venue. It provides in the region of 150 meals per day to students, conference clients and other guests. The Hall offers low carbon meals and uses locally grown organic bread from Cobs Bakery in Cambridge and Havensfield Free Range Eggs from Suffolk.

In addition to the SRA award, Madingley Hall is also the first venue in Cambridge to sign up for the Sustainable Fish Cities pledge. As a result the Hall promises to only service MSC-certified fish at grade 2 or lower. Paul Wright, Catering Manager says:

"Madingley Hall is pleased and proud to have won our 2 star award and to support the Sustainable Fish Cities bid. We hope to champion further sustainability issues across Cambridge in the coming months and years."



Tuesday, 10 March 2015 13:24

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British Academy grant for ICE Archaeologist

Dr Gilly Carr, Senior Lecturer and Academic Director in Archaeology at ICE, and Principal Investigator on the grant, has been awarded a British Academy grant in collaboration with Professor Marek Jasinski of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim.

The project, ‘A tale of two camps’, will enable excavations to take place in 2015 at a WWII forced labour camp in Jersey (Lager Wick) and a prison camp in Norway (SS-Strafgefangenenlager Falstad). The project asks what archaeology can contribute to knowledge lost, buried or deliberately destroyed regarding Nazi camps, and seeks to discover what we can add to what we already know about the everyday lives of those interned.

Both Carr and Jasinski hope that their work will raise the profile of the heritage value of such sites, many of which have been lost since the war. A pilot excavation was carried out at both sites in 2014 with promising results, and now, on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, the time is right for full-scale excavations.

"The 2014 trial excavations were very exciting", says Gilly Carr. "The excavations in Jersey focused on the area of some of the former barrack blocks of the camp, and revealed the presence of building materials and barbed wire. Although the camp was razed to the ground with nothing left to see, it was interesting to see what still survived.

"The ability of archaeology to reveal Nazi crimes is very satisfying. Our excavations at Falstad prison camp focused on the camp’s rubbish pits. Over 1,000 items were found in 5 days, revealing the everyday life of prisoners at the site. My favourite artefacts included the meal dish of a prisoner, complete with his initials scratched into the side, and a set of bars which fitted over a nearby window from the main building of the camp, a building which still survives today as the education centre.

"I feel tremendously privileged to be involved in such cutting edge archaeology at these important sites and I look forward to passing on the results of fieldwork to my students next year in my Conflict Archaeology course for Diploma students. Archaeology has such an important role to play in raising awareness about, and revealing, hidden or destroyed pasts. These excavations and others like them mean that our source of knowledge about Nazi camps will not disappear with the passing of the last former inmates. In this anniversary year, such work has an added poignancy."

Excavations in Jersey will begin at the end of March 2015 and those in Norway will take place during the summer.

Further information

Lager Wick project website

A daily blog was kept during the 2014 season of excavation at both sites and can be followed again in 2015:

Lager Wick excavation blog

Falstad excavation blog



Tuesday, 10 February 2015 13:48

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ICE archaeologist delivers Holocaust Memorial Day address in Jersey

On 27 January, ICE archaeologist Dr Gilly Carr delivered the 2015 Holocaust Memorial Day public address in Jersey, speaking on the theme of 'Keeping the memory alive'.

Dr Carr explains the context of her address:

"When the Holocaust is remembered in the Channel Islands, one of the key groups islanders think about, in addition to the islands' Jews and forced and slave labourers, is the political prisoners. These are the c.250 people who were deported to more than 100 different Nazi prisons and concentration camps for committing offences against the occupying authorities.

"Drawing on unpublished testimonies written to claim compensation in the mid-1960s, my public address focused on their experiences in prisons and camps. These testimonies form the subject of the book I am currently writing, which will be titled Testimonies of Nazi persecution from the Channel Islands (publisher: Bloomsbury Academic).

"In my speech, I examined the way that Channel Islanders supported each other during their ordeal, forgetting inter-island rivalry, and fought to keep each other alive. I spoke about the ongoing fight to keep that memory alive in the decades after the war, exploring how Islanders helped each other claim compensation from the Germans in the mid-1960s. This year I was privileged to be involved in both Guernsey and Jersey's Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies.

"For the first time, these testimonies which I had given to island families in the last year, were revealed to a wider audience. Their content was devastating, moving and shocking; and their impact, when read by the children of those deported during the inter-faith service, was palpable.
It's at times like this when the fruits of research can have the most impact on a community. I feel privileged to have been involved in such an important occasion."

Download the full text of Dr Carr's address (PDF file, 24 KB)

News reports of the service

Jersey remembers victims of the Holocaust (ITV News)

Jersey wreaths laid for 21 victims of Nazis (BBC News)

Holocaust victims remembered in Jersey (Jersey Evening Post)


Tuesday, 27 January 2015 11:49

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Royal Society Partnership Grant for ICE biologist

Dr Ed Turner, Academic Director for Biological Sciences at ICE, has recently been involved as Scientific Partner in a winning Royal Society Partnership Grant with the Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School in Canterbury. The project ‘Can biodiversity make us happy?’ will foster collaboration between Cambridge and the school, to increase the school students' understanding of biodiversity and the well-being benefits of the natural world.

As well as visiting the University’s Institute of Continuing Education to receive training in biodiversity monitoring in the Madingley Hall grounds, students will also be encouraged to actively monitor biodiversity in the school’s newly-designed wildlife area.

"This project will really inspire our students and will give them a chance to design their own methods for monitoring biodiversity and well-being," says lead teacher on the project, Mrs Samantha Goodfellow. "These are difficult concepts even for experienced researchers and will allow our students to develop their scientific skills in key areas including using keys, books and technology (apps) to identify species. They will also be encouraged to use equipment to measure blood pressure and pulse and they will work to design their own questionnaires and interpret written and verbal communication. We will be encouraging other students from junior and secondary schools to actively engage in the project."

Ed Turner says: "This is an exciting project, which I am very keen to be involved with. As a research biologist studying the impacts of environmental change on the natural world, it is clear that we are experiencing rapid rates of species loss worldwide. Although this is driven by a range of anthropogenic changes, among the most insidious underlying factors exacerbating these losses is people’s increasing disconnection with the natural world, meaning that extinctions may go unnoticed and unchallenged. This project embodies an approach to addressing this issue by explicitly engaging young people in the natural world through an inspiring research and conservation project."

The project begins in March 2015 and runs for seven months.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014 00:00

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Madingley Hall wins Environmental Award

Madingley Hall, home to the Institute of Continuing Education, has won a Silver Award at the 2014 University of Cambridge Catering Managers Committee (CMC) Environmental Awards.

Now in their 4th year, the CMC Awards help to promote environmental and ethical awareness across Cambridge College catering departments, encouraging more sustainable activities.

The competition was judged by Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Transition Cambridge, and the awards were presented at a special ceremony at Trinity Hall on 21 October.

Some of the ethical and environmental practices now in place at the Hall include:

  • Regular vegan dishes
  • Seasonal menus, with widespread local and seasonal food sourcing
  • A wider range of practices developed to avoid food waste

Ian Hardwick, Hall Operations Manager said: "We won a Bronze Award in 2013 so this improvement shows a real commitment to environmental and ethical issues from the Catering Team and across the Hall Operation."


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