The Pilkington Doors
The engraved glass doors leading to the Fellows' Dining Room hide a rather eventful history…
The Pilkington Doors were given to Homerton College in 1955, by Dr Roger and Mrs Pilkington. Roger was for many years Chair of Trustees, who governed the College before its transition into a full University College and came from the family behind Pilkington Glass, one of the UK’s leading glass manufacturers.
During the 1950s, Pilkington Glass developed the first successful commercial application for float glass. This meant that flat glass could be made much more easily, without the need to polish the glass to make it clear. As this method was developed, the question arose as to whether the glass could be engraved, and Roger realised that Homerton could benefit from this experiment. The Pilkington doors, therefore, are one of the earliest examples of this engraved, armoured, glass!
They were originally located at the entrance to Queen’s Wing, under the arch. However, having been left open, one door was later shattered by a reversing lorry! (Rumour has it that this was a particularly eventful May Ball day…) Once the door was replaced, they were moved to their current location, leading to the Fellows’ Dining Room. If you look closely, you may be able to tell which door is the original!
Dr Pilkington’s great contribution to the College is also visible through the Pilkington Travel Award, helping students to undertake ambitious journeys which are both mind-broadening and benefit others.