Here’s a guide to all the most important places around College and the key facilities. Remember, any questions and Chantal (JCR Facilities Officer) is the person to contact!

The JCR Common Room (K staircase 2nd Court)

Second Court is very much the social centre of the College and the JCR Common Room is at its heart. This is a room run completely for and by students. Any undergrad can enter with his/her buttery card at any time, day or night. It’s a great place to relax, whether that means curling up with a magazine and some coffee or watching the big match with all your mates.

In the JCR Common Room you can expect:

  • Widescreen TV, video and DVD player with Sky subscription
  • Pool table, table football and darts
  • Wifi hotspots
  • Free tea, coffee and biscuits
  • The most comfortable sofas and bean bags in the world
  • Game machines

The room is managed and its features are paid for by the JCR, with George being responsible. So contact him if you have any ideas on how to improve it.


The Bar (K Staircase, 2nd Court)

The College bar is another social centre, so you’re bound to find yourself in there at some point. It has a warm, friendly atmosphere.  In 2007 it came first in the Varsity survey of all the College bars in Cambridge. It serves all sorts; there’s a big shiny coffee machine so there are espressos, cappuccinos, hot chocolates and teas available for those caffeine junkies amongst you.  They also serve some unusual cocktails and alcoholic coffees, as well as toasted sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, popcorn, waffles and ice cream in summer. You can also play board games, indulge in a game of Bar Billiards or admire the historic photos on the wall.  Opening times are pinned up outside the door.


The Buttery Dining Room (K Staircase, 2nd Court)

The newly refurbished buttery is much more than just a canteen. At meal times you can get a wide range of cheap hot meals, however it is also open outside meal times during the week for on-the-go paninis, sandwiches, sushi, cakes, flapjacks, yoghurt and a host of other wonderful things. At lunch and dinner there are always several options and at breakfast you can get a fry up, cereal, porridge or go continental with croissants and bread. 12 noon breakfast on Saturday is very popular. The buttery is also a Wifi hotspot and has the day’s newspapers (see Eating In section for more information).


The Library (Chapel Court)

One of the finest college libraries in Cambridge, it is well stocked for most subjects, especially for first year texts. If it doesn’t contain a key book you need and you think it should you can always request that a copy is bought, and this is usually done without much delay.You can access the library and borrow and return books using the Self-Service Machine 24 hours a day, using your college card.

In the basement there are moving shelves, which are great fun. There are computers and printers on every floor, including the large computer suite at the top. Another essential feature is the Cadbury’s vending machine on the ground floor. Also available are academic journals, past exam papers and OS maps. There’s an audio-visual room with a wide range of CDs, DVDs and videos (not necessarily academic) to watch and borrow.

To find out more make sure you attend one of the Freshers’ Week library tours organised by subject by arrangement with Director of Studies. It’s here that you get to meet the friendly library staff and see what there is for you. Don’t forget your buttery card if you are visiting late in the evening, you need it to get out!



The Chapel Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Cambridge. You can sign the key out at Forecourt porters’ lodge to climb up and take in the awesome view – a privilege only afforded to Johnians

It is also home to the finest choir in Cambridge (and don’t let anyone from Kings tell you otherwise). Evensong is at 6:30pm Tuesday to Sunday, lasting 45 minutes. Take your gown, except at weekends. The music is reason enough to go even if you are not religious. Special services (e.g. Advent, Passion) are held occasionally and require advance tickets so get in there early. There is a Matriculation Service on the Tuesday of Freshers’ Week.

A College Communion service takes place on Sunday mornings at 8:30am and is followed by a subsidised breakfast in hall. The tradition of throwing toast from the Kitchen Bridge over the Bridge of Sighs after Chapel breakfast is observed religiously (no pun intended!) and well worth joining in.


The College Offices (F staircase, Chapel Court)

The College is effectively run from here. Your tutor’s secretary is likely to be based here, alongside the Accommodation, Accounts and Admissions. Computer Support is also part of this administrative team, but their office is based in the Forecourt, in front of the P’lodge.  Bursary, travel grant, book grant and student loan application forms are available and re-issued buttery cards can also be picked up here. Guest rooms can be booked through the accommodation officer, Suzanne Stratton, on the 1st floor. You’ll find the Senior Tutor and Domestic Bursar up there as well.


Computer Facilities (also see separate Computing section)

There are three computer rooms in college available for student use: one in the Fisher Building and two in the Library. In addition to this, there are single PCs in various places in the library, and students can connect their own computer in their room. There are a few Apple Macs in the library, but the majority of computers are PCs running Microsoft Windows. Standard software (e.g. Word, Excel, internet browsers, email clients…) is installed on these machines, and they are all connected to laser printers. Some of them also have scanners connected. You will need your PWF login name and password in order to use them – you will get these in Freshers’ Week.

Most students these days are bringing their own (laptop) computer with them to University. If you plan on doing this, you can connect your computer to the college network in your room, giving you internet and email access right from your desk. This is simply done with an ethernet connection from a plug in the wall near your desk (mostly), so remember a cable. If you are thinking of buying a computer for University, remember that it’s probably not necessary to buy the most expensive high-end model; you will probably mostly be using it for word processing and email anyway. When first connecting your computer to the network, you will be asked to complete a number of checks to see if your system is sufficiently secure; this process will be explained in detail on a leaflet handed out in Freshers’ Week.


Wireless Internet

The college provides wireless internet access in various areas of the main college site. Currently the buttery, the library, the JCR, the MCR and the Fisher Building all have wireless access points installed, and there are more to follow. The process of connecting your laptop to this is straightforward; you just have to enter your network user name and password. The cost of the internet is around £20 per term. All Wi-Fi enabled areas in College also support eduroam, the world-wide roaming access service. This is accessible to both Cambridge students and visitors from eduroam-enabled insitutions, and provides a secure, encrypted wireless connection for your use. Cambridge students can obtain their eduroam logon details from the University Computing Service – you will need your Raven logon details.


Photocopying (Library)

Personal photocopying can be done on one of 3 machines in the library, which takes cards sold just next to these machines.


Pigeonholes (Great Gate Porters’ Lodge)

Your post (both internal and external) can be found in your personal pigeonhole, in the Great Gate Porters’ Lodge (at the main gate). Check yours regularly, as you’ll be inundated with everything from Aardvark Appreciation Society spam to tutorial notices and invitations to parties. Mail can be sent to other colleges for free using the University Mail Service (UMS). Mark your letters UMS in the top right-hand corner and drop in the box in the front lodge. You can also pick up a variety of leaflets, magazines and copies of the two student newspapers, Varsity and The Cambridge Student, from the Main Gate Lodge. NB: The Fellows’ pigeon holes (for handing in work etc) are located in the Forecourt Porters’ Lodge. Just ask the porters to put it in the right box for you.


Laundry Room (Outside Cripps G/H)

The laundry is open 24 hours a day. Access is with your Uni Card and there are loads of big washing machines and tumble driers. We are one of only two Colleges to provide free laundry, but you have to buy your own washing powder. Busy times are in the evenings and at weekends. Clothes generally take 30 minutes in the washing machine.


Contraceptive and tampon vending machines

Condom machines can be found in both bar and Fisher Building toilets, or can be requested for FREE through an anonymous form found HERE. Tampon machines are located in the Bar toilets and Fisher Building.


Fitness Centre (E Staircase New Court)

This gym is equipped with cardiovascular and fixed weights machines. It is open 24 hours (although the music turns off after 10pm). It has a drinking water machine and is fully air-conditioned. Access is via the indispensable university card which is authorised once you have completed a short induction. George will be running inductions during Freshers’ Week, or you can contact any member of the JCR to be inducted later on in the year.


Free Weights Gym (Under C staircase Cripps)

Affectionately known as the “Gun Dungeon”, this is for the more serious gym-goers among you! It’s being improved year on year, so anything you feel that should be added, let George know. A separate gym induction will be required to use this room and information will be made available in Freshers’ Week.


Squash Courts/Table Tennis (Next to School of Pythagoras)

Badminton Court (Palmerston Room, Fisher Building)

Snooker Room (Under Cripps P’lodge)


For access to the courts and snooker table, you simply sign out a key from the Cripps Porters’ Lodge. There is a competitive squash ladder which you can compete on and the porters can provide bats and nets for table tennis. Badminton sessions can be booked on the forms in Cripps P’lodge.


Playing Fields (Back of college, Queen’s Road)

John’s is really lucky to have its own hockey, cricket, rugby, lacrosse and football pitches, netball courts, Astroturf, hard and grass tennis courts, cricket nets and a croquet lawn just outside our back door on Queens’ Road.


Punts (signed out from Cripps P’lodge)

Punting is often a source of great mirth, especially after a few swift ones in the bar. Punts are available for hire at the beginning of Michaelmas and during Easter terms for the bargain price of £4 an hour to Johnians only (you’ll need the right change!). John’s punts are mostly named after First World War battleships, so have brilliant names like “Spartan” and “Dauntless”.


Swimming Pool (sadly not actually in John’s!)

Whilst we don’t actually have our own swimming pool, there is a lovely public pool with slides and a Jacuzzi, sauna, and anything else your heart desires, only ten minutes away at Kelsey Kerridge on Parker’s Piece. For the hardier amongst you, and in the warmer months, there is the open air pool on Jesus Green as well.


Architects’/Engineers’ Drawing Room (Top floor Fisher Building)

Contains two excellent A0 drawing boards, and a drawing storage cabinet.


School of Pythagoras (Behind Cripps)

The School of Pythag is famed for being the oldest University building in the world – which makes us feel important.   However, this year it is now undergoing a bit of renovation and will be the new home of the College Archives.


Public Rooms

There are a number of rooms in college that can be booked for private or society functions, through Catering and Conference. Details can be found in the Student Handbook online. The main ones are:

  • Wordsworth Room, Parsons Room and Wilberforce Room for smart dinners
  • Dirac, Boys-Smith and Library Seminar rooms for meetings
  • Art Room (Little white square building next to squash courts)
  • Music Practice Rooms (Top floor of Fisher Building)


Guest Rooms

You can book guest rooms for parents/friends through the Accommodation Officer, and the cost goes on your College bill.  The accommodation officer is based on the first floor of the College Office. You need to give a bit of notice, as they can get booked up. The rooms themselves are opposite College on Bridge Street and are pretty basic but comfy enough!