The Provost and Fellows of Queens took the big decision around 1700 to effectively demolish the place and start again. They employed Hawksmoor but then didnt quite build what he came up with. Hawksmoor also did grand plans for All Souls and Kings Cambridge, all of which now have a screen with centrepiece across the end of an otherwise three sided court. At Kings the scheme was carried out later by Wilkins who pierced it with openings, allowing the court to see out, but here at Queens it is solid. While the college is certainly grateful today to have shut out the traffic, it does create a strangely forbidding appearance.
Hawksmoor always suffered from being considered too expensive, and here the college asked a local builder William Townesend who had already built Peckwater quadrangle at Christ Church for Henry Aldrich, to come up with something similar to Hawksmoor's ideas but more in keeping with the budget. Townesend informs Provost Smith in a letter that 'I have made some alteration in the design of the Cupola which I have here fixed to the drawing & think it has a better effect'. So maybe we should attribute this charming piece of work to him.
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