With so many beautiful, prestigious colleges, magnificent churches and splendid gardens to feast the eyes on and enjoy, Cambridge is charmingly alive with history, architecture and a cosmopolitan mix of people ready to have fun. Having chosen such a wonderful, student-orientated place in which to study, we thought you might appreciate a whistle stop tour through Cambridge’s history, focusing on history we consider to be of particular interest and relevance to international students.
1209 - The University of Cambridge (informally, Cambridge University) was formed when groups of scholars came to the prosperous Roman trading port to study.
1284 – The Bishop of Ely opened the first of the University’s colleges, Peterhouse.
1516 – Desiderius Erasmus, celebrated scholar of the Northern Renaissance, worked on translating the Greek New Testament and other literature which were to become fundamental to the ‘new learning’.
1546 – Henry VIII founded Trinity College.
1805 - Lord Byron entered Trinity College and started writing his earliest poems.
1829 – The year of the first boat race between Cambridge and Oxford universities (Oxford won)
1831 – Charles Darwin was recommended by his Cambridge University professor to join HMS Beagle on its voyage into South America.
1845 – Cambridge railway station was built
1846 – The Cambridge University Botanic Gardens were opened to the public
1848 – The Fitzwilliam Museum building was built to house the art collections of Viscount Fitzwilliam, which he had bequeathed to Cambridge University. Artwork includes paintings by Monet, Picasso and Seurat.
1858 – Cambridge’s School of Art (now known as Anglia Ruskin University), was founded. John Ruskin, art critic, social reformer and writer was integral to its foundation.
1869 – Girton College, the first residential university- level institution for women was founded by Emily Davies and others.
1911 – Ludwig Wittgenstein came to Cambridge to study philosophy. He went on to make Cambridge the most influential centre for philosophical research in the English-speaking world.
1932 - The atom was split for the first time in Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory by John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton.
1939 - The University employed Dorothy Garrod as Disney Professor of Archaeology. Cambridge’s first female professor.
1951 – After years of development, Cambridge Town became Cambridge City.
1953 – The structure of DNA was discovered by Francis Crick and James Watson.
1970 – Prince Charles, the future King of England, graduated from Trinity College with a degree in History and Archaeology.
1975 - England’s first science park on the outskirts of Cambridge was constructed under the guidance of Dr John Bradfield.
1996 – H.M. The Queen visited Cambridge to open Cambridge University’s new Law Faculty and Judge Institute of Management Studies buildings.
1999 - Cambridge-MIT Institute was set up as a means to improve entrepreneurship in Britain.
2005 – H.M. The Queen visited Cambridge to open the Centre for Mathematical Sciences and to attend the 500th anniversary celebrations at Christ’s College.
2007 – H.M. The Queen opened the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus next to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
2009 – Cambridge University celebrates its 800th anniversary
There you have it, a brief history of Cambridge since the founding of the University back in 1209. Certainly the city is far older than the University, but it was undoubtedly that propelled the Roman built market town to phenomenal importance, both within England and around the world. So take the time to wander around the history steeped streets of Cambridge and enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time