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The House of Alice Roughton

Cambridge Doctor, Humanist, Patron and Activist
From the Edwardian to the Contemporary

Xavier Muñoz Puiggrós has played an active role at the Ateneu Barcelonès, the main centre of intellectual debate in Catalonia, of which he was formerly Secretary of the governing body. While his editorial focus has been on juridical studies in his past role as General Director of Law and Juridical Entities of the Government of Catalonia, his literary work has focused on this historical biography, which was first published in Spanish and Catalan.

From her home at 9 Adams Road in the university city of Cambridge, Alice Roughton (1900–1995) demonstrated a strongly altruistic lifestyle, housing young students, the mentally ill, artists, intellectuals, friends, persecuted homosexuals and refugees (German Jews in 1939, Hungarians in 1956 and Chileans in 1973). She practiced psychiatry and general medicine alongside personal activism such as medics against nuclear warfare and opposing the financing of urbanisation – the latter related to the destruction of the historical centres of English cities.

Alice was a patron of artists and intellectuals, including the Catalan musician Robert Gerhard and the German dancer Kurt Jooss. She befriended the economists J. M. Keynes and Joan Robinson, the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, the molecular biologist James Watson, as well as the composer Benjamin Britten, who held memorable concerts at her house, as well as many other dignitaries of science and the humanities.

The House of Alice Roughton locates her professional medical work and private life activities and relationships within the sociological circumstances within which she lived – circumstances that reveal the historical and cultural changes of a century that experienced two world wars, the advance of science and the overturning of lifestyle prejudices. The biography revolves around one location – 9 Adams Road. Alice and her family’s lived experiences act as a window onto the profound global transformations which took place from the second industrial revolution to the discovery of the structure of DNA – From the Edwardian to the Contemporary. Her family’s life story moves through tragic events in Switzerland to her husband's war years in America. Her biographer’s engagement with Alice begins in 1978, on a student holiday trip from his native Catalonia.

Published in association with the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-037-8
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: February 2020
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Yes


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