The Centre for British Studies at
the University of Bamberg
In my Letter Nr.14 (1999) I mentioned the origin of the planned Centre, which was due entirely to the initiative and support of Walter Lessing, London, a distant cousin of the late Fred Lessing.
I am ashamed to say that I omitted to record the official launch of the Centre, the only one in Bavaria, on 4 March 2000 by the Bavarian Minister of Education Mr. Zehetmaier in my last letter. The then nearly 90 year old Walter Lessing was present and, was appointed an Ehrensenator (senator) of Bamberg University.The reason I forgot in the end was because I was unable to obtain a press report of good enough quality showing Walter, which I could have reproduced. I do so belatetly now, (see press report in Appendix 20).
The Centre, a post-graduate institution - started operations only after the appoint- ment of its director, Prof. Christa Jansohn in April of this year. As it happened, I was in Bamberg when she gave her inaugural lecture on 8 November, which I attended. A second chair, on British Law, has been agreed. Apart from that, the Institute will be able to make use of specialists from within the University, and attract some from Britain and elsewhere
Walter's valuable gift to the Centre, his collection of 2600 volumes of first editions and rarities of works on British economics, history, philosophy, politics etc. and a collection of rare prints are of course a wonderful basis for the Institute.
At a festive meeting on 12 December, Walter's gift was presented officially to mem- bers of the Academic community (see press report in Appendix 21).
With the closure of the British Council office in Munich, its library of about 1300 volumes will also be transferred to the Institute. All in all, the Institute will become an important part of Bamberg University and of British studies in Bavaria.
At the end of October, Sir Paul Lever, the British Ambassador in Berlin came to the Centre and gave a talk "In the footsteps of Queen Victoria" on the occasion the 100th anniversary of her death.
A week earlier, Prof. Stanley Martin, London, Gentleman of the Queen's Bedchamber, talked about "Links between the British and German Royal Houses".
All in all, the Centre is well-launched and its future looks very promising.
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© by Thomas Starz