Universities: Oxford: Brasenose College

WAISer Anthony Smith, president of Magdalen College,Oxford, was an undergraduate at Brasenose College. Greek WAISer Harry Papasotiriou writes from Athens: Since I read PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) at Brasenose College, let me relate that in my first year I occupied one of the two oldest rooms in the College, above the kitchen, apparently dating from the 14th century.  The room was supposed to be haunted, though the only "spirits" I experienced were of the banal, non-metaphysical sort that undergraduates are apt to imbibe to excess.  In my second year I occupied John Profumo's old room.  No bad charma from there either, so far! 

RH:The Profumo Affair was a political scandal  John Dennis Profumo, born 1915,  was the British Conservative cabinet minister whose indiscretions effectively discredited the government in 1963, before its defeat in 1964. Profumo was educated at Harrow and Magdalen College, Oxford, and went into parliament in 1940. Then the youngest MP, he was one of the 41 Conservative members who voted against their own government after the Narvik debate on 7/8 May 1940, the result of which caused the prime minister Neville Chamberlain to resign. Winston Churchill succeeded him. Profumo resigned in 1963. He was a well-educated and respected high Conservative  as secretary of state. . He was married to the actress Valerie Hobson Valerie Hobson (1917-1998) was a British actress, who appeared in a number of British films during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1952 she divorced her first husband and married MP John Profumo, giving up acting shortly afterwards. When Profumo's resignation brought disgrace in 1963, she stood by him, and they worked together for charity for the remainder of her life. The scandal stemmed from his brief relationship with a showgirl named Christine Keeler Christine Keeler, born 1942, is the model and showgirl whose involvement with a government minister discredited the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan in 1963.

RH:This source mentions Magdalen College. Is it incorrect, or did Profumo change colleges?  The problem with Christine Keeler was that she was also the mistress of a Soviet diplomat. President Kennedy became involved in a similar situation. Profumo disappeared from public life. Is he still alive?

WAISer Harry Papasotiriou said that at Brasenose College, Oxford, he occupied the rooms once held by John Profumo. I was puzzled that one source said he was at Magdalen College. The president of that college, Anthony Smith, writes: John Profumo was at Harrow School and Brasenose College, not Magdalen. He was made CBE in 1975 for his diligent work for charities in the East End of London and is considered fully 'rehabilitated' by the people who care about such matters. He is now 90. RH: Excellent!

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 12, 2005