Friday, June 27, 2008

A vist to Cambridge - second part

This is a continuation of my last post in which I described my day in Cambridge minus the college visits. I managed two which happened to be next door to each other and one considerably smaller than the other - well at least the parts where visitors were allowed. First up Gonville and Caius, usually known as Caius (pronounced keys).

This is one of the oldest colleges. It was originally founded in 1348 as Gonville Hall by Edmund Gonville, Rector of Terrington in Norfolk. It was re-founded in 1557 By Sir John Caius, an eminent physician who served the children of Henry VIII - Edward VI, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. The photo above shows one of the corners of Tree Court which is entered from Trinity Street through the Gate of Humility.

Through the avenue of trees in Trees Court you can see, in the photo above, the window of the chapel. Near the chapel the Gate of Virtue leads into Caius court - seen in the photo below.

This gateway in Caius Court is called the Gate of Honour and at one time students passed through this gate to receive their degree. The building behind to the right is the Cockerell Building Library to the left I think, is the back of the famous Senate House.

My next visit was to Trinity College. It was founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII whose statue is on the face of the great gate as you enter the college from Trinity street. Access through the old wooden doors brings you straight into the Great Court. The photo below shows the fountain with the hall behind. Unfortunately the Hall wasn't open at the time I was there.

Off this great court are rooms occupied by such people as Sir Isaac Newton who lived on the first floor in the small stretch of buildings you can see below between the Great Gate and the Chapel. Another occupant was the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, who lived on the ground floor
of the same building

From the Great Court I went through the screened passageway by the Hall into Neville's Court. At the end of this court is the Wren Library, designed, of course, by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1695.

The poet Lord Byron had rooms in this court but according to the guide leaflet the bear he brought with him to Cambridge was housed elsewhere. During the first world war the cloisters of this court were screened off to use as a hospital.

I couldn't enter the Hall but visitors could visit the chapel. and I sat, completely alone in here. I could almost reach out and touch the silence as I sat amongst the white statues of such famous people as Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Francis Bacon and Alfred Lord Tennyson. I didn't feel in the least overwhelmed by my illustrious companions.

You may remember the famous race against the clock around the Great Court between Harold Abrahams and Lord Burghley in the film 'Chariots of Fire'. The 'race' between the two never happened but Lord Burghley did accomplish the run round the court in the time it took the clock to strike twelve in 1927.


  1. Wonderful. I am very fond of Cambridge for a number of reasons and prefer it to Oxford (I never think of one without the other). My grandmother's family came from Ickleton in north east Essex and were within a few miles of Cambridge, so she always supported them in the Boat Race. I had a cousin I was close to who lived there until she died of breast cancer at the age of 37 and we still have friends in Cambridge and have promised ourselves a visit one day this summer. Unlike you we will not go exploring the town, so to wallow in your wonderful evocation of Cambridge in all its glory has been a real treat!

  2. Wow, that was quite a post. Very complelling, beautiful and inspiring.


  3. robert - glad you enjoyed the visit to Cambridge - I remember meeting your cousin many years ago. Hope you get to visit your friends soon :)

    lois - thanks, nice to see you here - glad you enjoyed the post:)

  4. You are very fortunate, Cambridge is so lovely, especially in the summer and you have captured it so well.

  5. Trinity is very grand and beautiful but it is Caius that really appeals to me. We seem to be covering Oxford and Cambridge between us! I haven't been to Cambridge for over 30 years, we used to live quite close at one time and I always enjoyed going there.

  6. It's been a few years since I visited Cambridge. It is an amazing place and fabulous photo's Rosie x