Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.

With a reputation for high academic standards, Christ's College averaged top place in the Tompkins Table from 1980-2000 . In 2011, Christ's was placed sixth.

College history

The college grew from God's House founded in 1437 on land now occupied by King's College Chapel. It received its first royal licence in 1446. It moved to its present site in 1448 when it received its second royal licence. It was renamed Christ's College and received its present charter in 1505 when it was endowed and expanded by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII.


The original 15th/16th century college buildings now form part of First Court, including the chapel, Master's Lodge and Great Gate tower. The gate itself is disproportionate: the bottom has been cut off to accommodate a rise in street level, which can also be seen in the steps leading down to the foot of L staircase in the gate tower. The college hall, originally built at the very start of the 16th century was restored in 1875-1879 by George Gilbert Scott, the younger. The lawn of First Court is famously round, and an impressive wisteria sprawls up the front of the master's lodge.

Second Court is fully built up on only three sides, one of which is formed by the 1640s Fellows' Building. The fourth side backs onto the Master's garden.

The Stevenson Building in Third Court was designed by J. J. Stevenson, in the 1880s and was extended in 1905 as part of the College's Quadcentenary. In 1947 Professor Richardson designed the second building, the neo-Georgian Chancellor's Building (W staircase), completed in 1950. Third Court's Memorial Building (Y staircase), a twin of the Chancellor's building was completed in 1953 for £80,000. Third Court is also noted for its display of irises in May and June, a gift to the college in 1946.

The controversial tiered concrete New Court (often dubbed "the Typewriter") was designed in the Modernist style by Sir Denys Lasdun in 1966-70, and was described as "superb" in Lasdun's obituary in the Guardian. Design critic Hugh Pearman comments "Lasdun had big trouble relating to the street at the overhanging rear". It appears very distinctively in aerial photographs, forming part of the northern boundary of the college.

An assortment of neighbouring buildings have been absorbed into the college, of which the most notable is The Todd Building, previously Cambridge's County Hall.

Through an arch in the Fellows' Building is the Fellows' Garden. It includes two mulberry trees, of which the older was planted in 1608, the same year as Milton's birth. Both trees have toppled sideways, the younger tree in the Great Storm of 1987, and are now earthed up round the trunks, but continue to fruit every year.

College societies

The Junior Combination Room, Christ's College Students' Union, is involved in every aspect of student life. Representative of the student body, it organises social and welfare events, and negotiates on the students' behalf on important issues. The Middle Combination Room (MCR) represents the graduate students of Christ's College.

The Marguerites Club is one of the oldest surviving College societies, reformed in 1899 by Gilbert Jessop the then captain of CUCC. It is believed to have originally formed some ten years earlier, but was soon disbanded. Originally the society was confined to captains and secretaries or those with colours in three sports. The name originated from the club's original blazer, which was navy blue in colour with the Foundress's 'rebus' or badge, signifying her name, embroidered on the pocket. Described in the 1908 issue of the college magazine: "The Marguerites have been the premier club of the College in the past, and claim to represent something more than mere athletic distinction".

The oldest College sports society still active is the Christ's College Rugby Football Club (CCRFC). It was founded in 1875 by Alfred Cort Haddon , considered the father of modern anthropology. He would later go on to become a Fellow of College and the CCRFC's first Honorary President, and his portrait is now found in Christ's College's Formal Hall. In the 1960 Varsity Match, eight of the starting team were students at Christ's and all points were scored by Christ's players. The CCRFC is nicknamed "The Brown Rings" due to the brown and white hoops featured on the match kit.

Also of note is the rowing club, Christ's College Boat Club; football club, the CCAFC; the college drama society, CADS; Christ's College Medical Society; Christ's Films, who use the theatre to screen films weekly; the Music Society(founded 1710) and the Chapel Choir: Christ's College Chapel Choir.

The College hosts a biennial May Ball with the most recent, L'Esprit Nouveau, occurring on 15 June 2010 with a 1920s Parisian theme.

Graduate Society

Christ's College Graduate Society comprises a community of approximately 130 graduate students from every part of the world and with diverse academic interests. All members of the Graduate Society also belong to the Christ's College Student Union (CCSU) and share their canteen-style Upper Hall. In addition, the college provides graduates with generous travel bursaries for academic and vacation travel and their own computing facilities. Most graduates are accommodated for three years, either in college or in nearby flats and shared houses.

The Graduate Society is one of the few in Cambridge to run its own bar, specializing in Belgian beers and malt whiskies. There are regular graduate Formal Halls and other events, including wine and cheese tastings, a brewery trip, punting, and outings to Oxford, Ely and Norwich. A Garden Party is held every June in the Fellows' Garden.

Biological Sciences

Christ's College is especially strong in Biological Sciences and has produced alumni that have gone on to become heads of various landmark research institutions. These have included: Hugh Pelham, Director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology ; Daniel St. Johnston, Chairman of the Gurdon Institute ; Jim Smith, Director of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research ; Richard Treisman, Director of CRUK London Research Institute and Peter Lachmann, Founding President of The Academy of Medical Sciences .

Proctors of God's House
Masters of Christ's

See also: Category: Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge and Category: Honorary Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge.

See Christ's College by John Peile (1900)

Famous alumni

See also: Category:Alumni of Christ's College, Cambridge

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via