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Santa Hat Mystery at Cambridge University

03 Dec 2008

Santa Hat Mystery at Cambridge University Students looking for graduate engineering jobs in London may be able to figure out the mystery of the Santa hat at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge University.

A huge red Father Christmas hat had been fastened to the 60ft spire of the ‘impossible to climb’ Gate of Humility – possibly as an end of term prank following a night of revelry. Increasing the evidence that this was a coordinated attack - a further Santa hat was seen stuck to the roof of nearby Clare College.

Authorities at Gonville and Caius College, however, failed to appreciate the joke and called out the fire brigade to remove the offending object. Cambridge University's Varsity newspaper reported that the Senior Tutor for the College said the prank was 'disturbing' because of the danger it posed to passers-by. He added that anyone found taking part would face serious disciplinary measures.

It took three fire engines - and a team of over 10 firemen with a hydraulic platform - more than an hour to get the hat down.

This is not the first time that a seemingly impossible feat of engineering has been accomplished at Gonville and Caius College (whose alumni includes Alastair Campbell and Ken Clarke). In 1958, in what is considered by some to be one of the greatest pranks of all time, students at the College managed to get a car up onto the roof of Senate House. The next morning, the city of Cambridge was astounded to see the Austin Seven apparently hovering on an inaccessible rooftop.

Some of the secrets of the stunt were revealed earlier in July this year by ringleader engineering student Peter Davey.

Mr Davey, now 72, said it took three groups to pull off the trick. The group on the ground manoeuvred the car into place while a lifting party on the Senate House roof hoisted it up. They used an A-shaped crane of scaffolding poles and steel rope to get it up to the bridge party who had place a plank across the 8ft gap between the roof and window.

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