Pembroke Behind the Scenes: Meet the staff who keep the College running


For our 400 Hours series, we asked Adam Berry to do a little investigation behind-the-scenes at College. Adam moved to Oxford with his wife in 2022 and tells us he has loved Pembroke ever since joining the lodge team as Weekend Porter - check out his interviews with colleagues below!

The first person we chatted to is Lodge Porter Spencer Solomon. We met Spencer at the Staff Lounge.

Spencer Solomon, Lodge Porter, pictured at the desk in the Lodge posing with a phone.


Adam: Thirteen years in College, primarily spent in the Hall, bar, kitchen, and now the Lodge. That's a fair chunk of the College.

Spencer: (Laughs) Yes, it is.

Adam: The Lodge is the heart of the College. Can you give some insight?

Spencer: I've been with the Porters' Lodge for three months. It's a really busy department, but I think it's a solid place to work because the Lodge is like a fountain of knowledge; there's so much to learn. Everyone comes to us if they need to know something, so we mix with every department. It makes the College feel like one team.

Adam: Yes, I can imagine. I know you go on patrols so you must see a lot of the College. What's your favourite bit of Pembroke?

Spencer: It has to be Rokos Quad. You go from this medieval structure to a modern one. Crossing the bridge is like travelling through time; the contrast between old and new is unique.

Adam: The juxtaposition is really striking. Were you here when it was opened?

Spencer: I was, it was so surreal. I felt like I was part of the College history, and everyone was buzzing when it opened. It's like a new world being opened right up in front of you. It felt like being part of the 400-year history.

Thanks to Spencer for being the first brave soul to be interviewed.


Krishna Singh, Pembroke's longest-serving Scout, pictured in the Chapel by the altar.


Next, we interview one of Pembroke's longest-serving scouts, Mrs Krishna Singh. We met Mrs Singh in her favourite part of Pembroke, the Chapel.

Adam: Hello Mrs Singh.

Mrs Singh: Hello.

Adam: Mrs Singh, you've been a scout with Pembroke for forty-two years. What's it like?

Mrs Singh: It's great, I really love it here. The students are my children, and they mean the world to me. I like to make them feel at home immediately when they first come here. You know it's difficult for many students from countries like India or Pakistan. They're so far from home, and it's hard being away from friends and family. That's why I do what I can to help them adjust.

Adam: It must be hard for them when they first come here. How do you help them adjust?

Mrs Singh (chuckles warmly): I build respect with the students by letting them know that I am here to look after them and guide them. I bring snacks for the students, and a lot of my students call me mum. I want them to finish at Pembroke and go back home with a good degree and fond memories of their time here.

Adam: That's very sweet. I'm told you can be found here in the Chapel with some students during term time.

Mrs Singh: As a Scout, I spend a lot of time cleaning students' rooms, emptying bins, and changing beds, but when I have a moment, I pray for their success in the Chapel, and sometimes they join me. The Chapel is my favourite space in College, I just love it.

Mrs Singh laughs.

Adam:  The Chapel is very cosy. Is it true you helped to make it more comfortable?

Mrs Singh: I donated the seat cushions and the white Indian cloth used for the altar. I feel like God helped me find Pembroke, so it was the least I could do in return.  

Thanks, Mrs Singh, for taking the time from her busy routine to speak to us.


Jamie Tricker, Deputy Butler, pictured serving food in the Forte Room.


Our last interview is with Jamie Tricker, Deputy Butler. We caught up with Jamie in the SCR Teas Room.

Adam: What sort of things do you do as Deputy Butler?

Jamie: We look after the Fellows, and their common room in Broadgates Hall.  We serve food, pour their wine, and ensure they're always comfortable. We have built good relationships with Pembroke's Fellows, and we have a bit of banter. I think us butlers get on well with all of the Fellows.

Adam: What's your favourite food? I bet you've tried loads of different foods.

Jamie: I've gained a couple of pounds over the years. There's a lot of good meals at Pembroke, one of my favourites is the carvery on Tuesday - there's so much variety from week to week. Sometimes, it's chicken and stuffing, or turkey, gammon and beef. You get a proper cooked dinner and it's done to an excellent standard.

Adam: It's a crowd-pleaser, alright.

Jamie: It's never quiet when it's Carvery Tuesday.

Thanks to Jamie for the insight. I hope he enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks once again to everyone involved.