James Stuart

In the summer of 1884, approval was given to add a third storey to the building of what was then the Department of Mineralogy, to provide more space for the engineers. Stuart and his Demonstrator, Lyon, evolved a scheme for jacking up the existing roof (110ft long, weighing 50 tons) and inserting new walls beneath it. With the help of the students, the whole thing was accomplished in seventeen days during the Long Vacation, and such was the accuracy of the calculations that 'not a single slate or nail in the roof was broken or strained'.

Not only did Professor Stuart have to fight for new buildings and facilities; he had also to establish Engineering as a Tripos exam. This he failed to do, having become rather unpopular through his involvement with politics (he was elected Member of Parliament for Hackney in 1884).

General disagreements with the University, particularly with regard to the value of the Workshop in the teaching of engineering eventually led to Stuart's resignation in 1890.

He went on to become the Rector of St Andrew's University (1892-1901), where his views on the education of women were more sympathetically received. Soon after Stuart resigned from the Chair at Cambridge, he married Laura Colman, (a graduate of Newnham College) and on the death of her father, took over as Director of the well-known mustard firm in Norwich.