Contrary to popular opinion, there are a number of other Colleges at the University of Cambridge. Thirty others, in fact. Few students manage to visit all thirty one, and even fewer manage to attend formal hall at all of them. But it’s a good idea to get out there and meet some non-Johnians. The College Bar is always a good place to start. Stereotypes about types of people at Colleges are usually nonsense, but that doesn’t prevent fierce rivalry between them, especially on the pitch and on the river.
Shares the same founder as John’s and the same coat of arms, but we ended up much, much richer and more prestigious. The College is about 30 seconds from Cindies, H&M and Pret â Manger. Famous alumni include Charles Darwin, Simon Schama, Rowan Williams and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Out on Madingley Road, Churchill was founded as the national memorial to Sir Winston Churchill. A few years ago there was a small earthquake there, said to be caused by the great man turning in his grave over the hideous architecture. Famous alumni include Christopher Haigh and Dairmaid MacCulluch and the guy who invented C++ (one for the CompScis!).
Clare is the second oldest College and hosts some of the best ents in Cambridge, twice a week in its legendary Cellars beneath the chapel. Famous alumni include Sir David Attenborough, Siegfried Sassoon, John Guy and James Watson, who discovered the DNA double helix.
A graduate only College founded in 1965.
Corpus Christi (Corpus)
The only College to be founded by the townspeople of Cambridge. It’s very small and their College scarf is pink.
Another graduate College, which was founded in 1964 by John’s, Trinity and Caius. Jane Goodhall went there.
Downing was founded by the grandson of the guy who built Downing Street in London. A door formerly from Number 10 is still used in the College. It has nice buildings with grass you’re allowed to play football on (you’ll soon realise how rare this is). Famous alumni include Michael Atherton, Quentin Blake, John Cleese and Thandie Newton.
Just opposite John Lewis, Emma has a chapel designed by Sir Christopher Wren and lots of ducks. Emma has a notoriously cheap, student-run bar. It’s also the only College with a subway (under Emmanuel Street). Famous alumni include Griff Rhys Jones (who famously flooded the subway), Rory McGrath, Stephen Sackur and John Harvard (who founded Harvard Uni).
Fitz is one of the hill Colleges. It has a very successful swing quartet (Fitz Swing) who do gigs all over Cambridge. Famous alumni include Vince Cable, Norman Lamont and David Starkey.
More Cambridge students have been to India than Girton. It’s very, very far away. It has its own resident black squirrels, an Egyptian mummy and a swimming pool. I’ve still never been. Famous alumni include the Queen of Denmark, Sandi Toksvig and Diana Ross (the author, not the singer).
Gonville and Caius (Caius)
Caius is pronounced “Keys” because the bloke who found it (John Keys) decided to Latinise his name. Stephen Hawking is a fellow there. Famous alumni include Jimmy Carr, Ken Clarke, Sir David Frost and William Harvey.
You need a passport to get there. If someone invites you, check that they absolutely can’t make it here before you set off. College specialises in Education studies.
A big College with beautiful, spacious grounds and good sports teams that wear red. Sound familiar? Jesus is a great rival of St John’s but seem to fall short in every category. That is, until they spoilt the Redboys’ 10-year unbeaten streak. Look forward to some close sporting encounters between us and them. Notable alumni include Nick Hornby, Thomas Cranmer, Geoff Hoon and Prince Edward.
As famous for its history of political activism, as it is for its stunning chapel and choir, King’s was the last College to organise a successful mass rent strike. Despite sometimes being a bit “too cool for school”, Kings has an excellent bar and coffee shop with a strong and genuine College community feel. They also probably have the best kept grass. The list of famous alumni is huge, including John Maynard Keynes, Alan Turing, Zadie Smith, Charles Clarke, Salman Rushdie, Anthony Giddens, Robert Walpole and David Baddiel.
Only for mature female students. On Lady Margaret Road.
Magdalene is next door to us. It was the last College to admit women. They have a lot of traditional features, including a biennial white tie May Ball. Famous alumni include Samuel Pepys, Gavin Hastings, C.S. Lewis and the guy who won Series 3 of The Apprentice!
Used to be called New Hall until it received a £30 million donation from the Edwards family. This women-only College is famous for its domed hall, its bar which is surrounded by a moat and being home to the world’s second largest collection of women’s art. Famous alumni include Claudia Winkleman, Tilda Swinton and Sue (as in Mel and Sue) Perkins.
Newnham is another College that only admits female students. It has some of the most beautiful gardens in Cambridge. Shed loads of important women went there including Diane Abbot, Germaine Greer, Iris Murdoch, Sylvia Plath and Emma Thompson.
Pembroke is home to the first Chapel designed by Sir Christopher Wren and the Master is Sir Richard Dearlove, ex head of MI6. Famous alumni include Ted Hughes, Eric Idle, Clive James, Pitt the Younger and Bill Oddie.
Peterhouse is the oldest and smallest College in Cambridge. Famous Petreans include Charles Babbage, Michael Howard, Michael Portillo, David Mitchell, Sam Mendes and the bassist from Radiohead.
The apostrophe in Queens’ is important because it was founded by two different Queens. Unlike Queen’s, Oxford. It is famous for the legendary Mathematical Bridge, popular ents and drama society called BATS. Notable alumni include Erasmus and Stephen Fry.
Established in 1977, Robinson is the youngest College in Cambridge. Its generous use of red bricks gives it a distinctive look and its drama club is called the Brickhouse. Famous alumni include Konnie Huq, Nick Clegg and the comedian Robert Webb.
St Catharine’s (Catz)
Catz is located on Trumpington Street, just south of Kings. Famous alumni include Sir Ian McKellen, Jeremy Paxman and the founder of Addenbroke’s.
St Edmund’s (Eddie’s)
Eddie’s is a College for mature students, about 5 minutes walk from John’s. It is one of the only Colleges where there is no high table and fellows and students sit together at hall.
Selwyn is located at the south end of Grange Road. It’s known for its beautiful chapel and gardens which host outdoor plays in the summer. It’s just instated the first ever female Head Porter! Famous alumni include Hugh Laurie, Robert Harris and the Archbishop of York.
Sidney Sussex (Sidney Sainsbury’s)
Sidney gets its nickname for it’s fantastic location, right opposite Sainsbury’s. Famous alumni include Carol Vorderman and Oliver Cromwell, whose head is buried beneath Sidney Chapel.
Founded by King Henry VIII, Trinity is the only College that is bigger or wealthier than St John’s. John’s has a fierce and historic rivalry with Trinity, our next door neighbour. The staircases in Great, New and Neville’s Courts all skip the letter J and there are cannons on their bowling green pointed at John’s. Sports fixtures between us and them are almost a matter of life and death, but we win most of the time. Every year, during Lent and May Bumps you will see Trinity students march their way through John’s whilst the Maggie boaties much their way through Trinity – all ending in a big fight in the middle of their great court. The rivalry is still very much alive! Their alumni include 31 Nobel Prize winners, 6 Prime Ministers, 5 Field medallists, Sir Isaac Newton, A.A. Milne and Vanessa Feltz.
Trinity Hall (Tit Hall)
Tit Hall is a small and pretty College hidden between Trinity and Clare. It’s famous for the Jerwood Library which you can see from the Cam. Notable alumni include Andrew Marr and J.B. Priestly.
Wolfson is way out on Barton Road and is a mature students College.