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Papers of Professor Elizabeth Hill relating to the Russian language courses provided for the armed services, 1944 - 1966

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/SLAV.1

Scope and Contents

During the Second World War, Russian language courses had been provided in Cambridge for the War Office. In response to the request from the Inter-Services Language Committee that training be continued formally from 1945, the Inter-Services Russian Course for trainee translators and interpreters was organised for officers in all branches of the armed services, who attended on secondment for 6 months. A similar course was offered at London University at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Servicemen did not matriculate or receive a University degree at the end of their training, though some stayed in the early years in College or University accommodation and others reached the standard to attain a Certificate of Competent Knowledge. Instead, the training was part of a course begun at the Joint Services Schools for Linguists and culminated for many in the Civil Service Commission Interpreters examinations. From 1951-4, the range of courses offered on the renamed Joint Services Russian Course broadened and numbers attending rose, as the University took on language training for select officer-cadets among National Servicemen. As many as 250 students per year went through the 42 week intensive instruction for interpreters. From 1954, operations were scaled down. They ceased in 1958. The papers cover the full range of operations, from delivery of the syllabus and examination of students to provision and maintenance of teaching accommodation. Records also survive of Russia-related cultural events and extra-curricular student theatricals. There are formal photographs of successive student intakes and informal shots of plays etc. in performance.


  • Creation: 1944 - 1966


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

Student and staff records are closed to scholars for 80 years from the date of creation under data protection legislation. Restrictions are clearly indicated in catalogue entries.

Biographical / Historical

Hill held a lectureship in Slavonic Studies, 1936-48 and the Professorship, 1948-68. She was Director of the inter-services courses at Cambridge from their launch in 1945 until they wound up in 1958.


3 linear metre(s) (3 metres)

Language of Materials



For background information, see Geoffrey Elliott and Harold Shukman Secret classrooms. An untold story of the Cold War (St Ermin's Press, 2002).


Hill, Professor Elizabeth Mary

Finding aid date

1998-05-06 11:32:04+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom