Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


The House of Alice Roughton

Cambridge Doctor, Humanist, Patron and Activist
From the Edwardian to the Contemporary

Xavier Muñoz Puiggrós has played an active role at the Ateneu Barcelonès, the main centre of intellectual debate in Catalonia, of which he was formerly Secretary of the governing body. While his editorial focus has been on juridical studies in his past role as General Director of Law and Juridical Entities of the Government of Catalonia, his literary work has focused on this historical biography, which was first published in Spanish and Catalan.

From her home at 9 Adams Road in the university city of Cambridge, Alice Roughton (1900–1995) demonstrated a strongly altruistic lifestyle, housing young students, the mentally ill, artists, intellectuals, friends, persecuted homosexuals and refugees (German Jews in 1939, Hungarians in 1956 and Chileans in 1973). She practiced psychiatry and general medicine alongside personal activism such as medics against nuclear warfare and opposing the financing of urbanisation – the latter related to the destruction of the historical centres of English cities.

Alice was a patron of artists and intellectuals, including the Catalan musician Robert Gerhard and the German dancer Kurt Jooss. She befriended the economists J. M. Keynes and Joan Robinson, the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, the molecular biologist James Watson, as well as the composer Benjamin Britten, who held memorable concerts at her house, as well as many other dignitaries of science and the humanities.

The House of Alice Roughton locates her professional medical work and private life activities and relationships within the sociological circumstances within which she lived – circumstances that reveal the historical and cultural changes of a century that experienced two world wars, the advance of science and the overturning of lifestyle prejudices. The biography revolves around one location – 9 Adams Road. Alice and her family’s lived experiences act as a window onto the profound global transformations which took place from the second industrial revolution to the discovery of the structure of DNA – From the Edwardian to the Contemporary. Her family’s life story moves through tragic events in Switzerland to her husband's war years in America. Her biographer’s engagement with Alice begins in 1978, on a student holiday trip from his native Catalonia.

Published in association with the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-037-8
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: February 2020
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Yes




Chapter 1
Alice at 9 Adams Road
1. Cambridge, Summer 1978
2. Holidays at 9 Adams Road
3. Delayed Adolescence
4. Cambridge University Centre
5. Potato Omelette with Rotten Eggs
6. Clandestine Visit to a College Pool
7. My Uncle Josep Maria at 9 Adams Road
8. Alice's Illness and Death
9. The Book
10. The Power of Origins

Chapter 2
The First Tragedy: Accident in the Alps
1. Hôtel du Mont-Collon (Valais, Switzerland), April 2012
2. Hôtel du Mont-Collon (Valais, Switzerland), August 1898
3. The Accident

Chapter 3
The Hopkinsons
1. Manchester, second half of the nineteenth century
2. Cambridge University (1867 – 1871)
3. Evelyn Oldenbourg
4. Evelyn Hopkinson's Memoirs
5. John Hopkinson's Contribution to Advances in Electricity
6. A Night at the Opera
7. Evelyn and Her Passion for South Africa and Rhodes
8. Bertram Hopkinson and Mariana Siemens, Alice's Parents
9. The Birth of Alice Hopkinson (Roughton)
10. Childhood
11. Purchase of the House at Number 9 Adams Road
12. Cecil Hopkinson

Chapter 4
The Second Tragedy: The Hopkinsons and the First World War
1. The First World War (1914 – 1918)
2. Cecil in the War (First Act of the Second Tragedy)
3. My Perceptions of the First World War
4. Bertram Hopkinson's Plane (Second Act of the Second Tragedy)
5. Bertram's Funeral (1918)

Chapter 5
End of the Age of Innocence
1. The Hopkinson Widows
2. Journey to South Africa (from 20 September to 10 December, 1922)
3. Hopkinson House
4. Construction of the Oak Room at 9 Adams Road
5. Alice at University
6. Engagement and Marriage of Alice Hopkinson and Jack Roughton
7. Small Intervals of Calm
8. The Death of Evelyn Hopkinson and the Roughton Family's Move to 9 Adams Road
9. The Jungle
10. Family Life at 9 Adams Road

Chapter 6
Ideological Shaping
1. The Left in Cambridge Before the Second World War
2. Vincent House
3. Beatrice Webb and Alice Roughton
4. The Economist Joan Robinson
5. The High Point

Chapter 6
9 Adams Road in Wartime
1. Changes at 9 Adams Road
2. Animal Farm: Frances Walls
3. John Maynard Keynes and Ballet Jooss
4. Evenings at 9 Adams Road
5. Sunday Evenings
6. German Prisoners

Chapter 7
Robert Gerhard
1. Robert Gerhard in Cambridge (1939)
2. An Enigmatic lady in the Kitchen at 9 Adams Road: From Joan Miró's Abstract Art to Robert Gerhard's Electronic Music
3. The Fernández-Shaw Family
4. Alice Roughton as Pandora
5. The Hispanists Trend and Dent

Chapter 8
1939: Intimacies
1. Manuscript Discovered in the Cambridgeshire Archives
2. Confidences
3. Joyfully Happy

Chapter 9
After the War
1. Changes
2. Return of the Family from the United States
3. Good Manners in Marriage
4. Contempt for Foreigners and the Spirit of 1945: Two Sides of the Same Coin

5. The Spirit of '45 at 9 Adams Road

6. Benjamin Britten

Chapter 10
A New Life
1. Save Europe Now and Jack Goody
2. To Timbuktu by MG
3. Journey with Poldi to the South of France
4. Elias Bredsdorff
5. A Romantic Film
6. Finite Love
7. Introspection: Will the Birds Sing?
8. Reading
9. Notes on a Trip to Denmark

Chapter 11
9 Adams Road: More Than a Family
1. From Family Life to Community Life
2. Alice and Her Mother
3. Mariana's Caravan
4. Gábor Cossa
5. Homosexual, Jewish, Ugly, Short, Scruffy and a Dancer

Chapter 12
In the Fifties
1. Maya Picasso (1952)
2. Visit to Maya Picasso in Paris, 20 October 2016
3. DNA at 9 Adams Road
4. The Scurfields and Baking Bread in the Aga
5. The Entrails of 9 Adams Road
6. Glider Flight
7. Alice, Nick Furbank and Alan Turing
8. Hungarians in 1956

Chapter 13
Doctor Alice Roughton
1. Two Activities in Medicine, One Sole Profession
2. The Hippy Doctor of Cambridge
3. The Boiler Suit
4. Alice as a Psychiatrist and as a GP
5. Abortion
6. Fresh Air
7. Ponji's Electroshock

Chapter 14
Doctor Roughton's Public Activism
1. Cambridge Civic Society
2. Alice Roughton: A Kind of Jane Jacobs
3. Pacifist Activity
4. Stephen Hawking and Eating Nettles at 9 Adams Road

Chapter 15
Cambridge Matters
1. Chinese New Year at 9 Adams Road
2. Joseph Needham
3. Dr. Roughton and Joseph Needham, Two Ways of Being in the World
4. Helmut Klose
5. The Rolls Royce of Adams Road

Chapter 16
The Seventies
1. The Death of Jack Roughton
2. The Bunsters
3. Perfectly Fresh
4. Joan Mascaró
5. Tetchu
6. Lisa Hill and her Russian Classes
7. Generosity

Chapter 17
1. Decline
2. Voyage autour de ma chambre
3. Epilogue


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