In 1943 Amy Buller’s book Darkness Over Germany was published. The author observed that Hitler had come to power partly because the universities and professions had not seen the false gods in what he promised. The book impressed leading people in a nation still at war. It led to a determination to set up a place where students, and those responsible for the guidance of young people, could meet to discuss what contribution they could make, through their studies, to the betterment of society and towards a lasting peace.
E.H. Gombrich on visiting Cumberland Lodge
“[…T]he week-end conferences at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park […] owed much to the vision of Sir Walter Moberly and to the energy of Miss Amy Buller, and last but not least to The Queen Mother who placed one of her "Grace and Favour" residences at the service of their idea to establish a place where undergraduates of the so-called red-brick universities - for those were the days before ferro-concrete universities - could meet and mix informally with students and staff of other departments or faculties, as they did, allegedly, in the colleges of Oxbridge.
I became an early and pretty frequent participant at these meetings where I certainly met more academics of various fields than I ever did during my spell as Slade Professor in Oxford or Cambridge. It was at Cumberland Lodge that I got to know J.B.S.Haldane, Peter Medawar and Donald McKie, and I am pretty sure that I also met Colin Cherry there for a first time […]”
Click here to hear an early student visitor talking about the occassions when T.S. Eliot, Paul Tillich, Sir Karl Popper, Stanley Spencer and Professor A.J. Ayer came to the Lodge to discuss their ideas with students>>
In 1947 the King made Cumberland Lodge available to the new organisation, which was initially known as the St. Katharine’s Foundation. In 1968 it acquired a new appellation, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Foundation of St. Catharine’s, Cumberland Lodge. In June 2005 a new incorporated charity, called simply Cumberland Lodge, assumed the operating role and the assets of the Foundation. However, the original charity continues to exist as the holder of the warrant for the property.
Queen Elizabeth, later universally known as The Queen Mother, was Patron from 1947 until her death in 2002. In February 2003 she was succeeded in this role by her daughter, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Foundation has developed its role with students, so that it now regularly organises cross-disciplinary postgraduate conferences. Since the 1980s it has also run over one hundred conferences, for a wider constituency than the universities, on moral, ethical, spiritual or social issues, publishing reports on most of them.
Click here to see a selection of the eminent visitors to the Lodge in the early days of the Foundation