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Stephen Smalley (1931‐2024)

The Very Revd Dr Stephen Smalley, former Warden of St Anselm Hall, died aged 93 on 19 May 2024.


Stephen inherited a Hall with a powerful sense of identity, to which his predecessor had added a slightly self-conscious sense of style, and he successfully perpetuated both elements. At a time when standards were beginning to slip in the higher education residential world, he ensured that the Hall maintained unchanged the cohering tradition of formal dinner, the routine pastoral contact provided by pre-prandial Sunday sherry, the diplomatic links fostered by the meetings of the Senior Common Room, and the endless other supportive conventions of a traditional hall of residence.


To assist himself in these tasks, he transformed the pastoral team, under the leadership of the rather more down-to-earth Richard Davies as Sub-Warden. He also enhanced his standing amongst the members of Hall by discreetly introducing his soon-to-be wife, the delightful Susan Patterson. (Their somewhat different approaches to life were demonstrated one Sunday at Formal Lunch, when she revealed that she had had a nightmare the previous night, whereupon he confessed that he had dreamed that he had been asked to become the Archbishop of Canterbury!)


His role was complicated by the approach of the warden of the then sister hall, Langdale Hall, who seemed to disapprove of all things male – which possibly helped provoke the various Anselmian pranks for which Stephen had in due course to apologise most abjectly! He delighted in producing the annual hall play, and was disappointed when the J.C.R. decided to give the role to one of its own members, and he was challenged by the diplomatic consequences of the President-elect of the J.C.R. breaking Hall rules by moving into Hall a stray dog on which he had taken pity. However, these were but hiccups in the life of the flourishing and very vital and supportive community which Stephen fostered.


Before becoming Warden, he had briefly been an academic in West Africa and a Chaplain in Cambridge, and after leaving the Hall he was an effective Precentor of Coventry Cathedral and a most constructive and forward thinking Dean of Chester Cathedral. In addition, throughout his career and into retirement he was an active theological scholar. But for us as Anselmians, his important achievement was his maintenance and enhancement during his five years as Warden of the vital and embracing Hall environment which so enriched the student experience of its members.


The Very Revd Dr Stephen Smalley

Chaplain of Peterhouse College, Cambridge (1960-63); Acting Dean (1962-63); Lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1963-69); Lecturer at Manchester University (1970-77); Warden of St Anselm Hall, Manchester University (1972-77); Canon Precentor of Coventry Cathedral (1977-87); Vice-Provost (1986-87); Dean of Chester (1987-2001); aged 93

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