Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Today we drove from London to Cambridge and spend the day sightseeing around Cambridge. Navigating the M25 & M11 did feel a lot like home. How much easier is driving in a foreign country with a GPS.

Cambridge is filled with majestic college buildings. The University celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Looking down on Kings College and chapel.

Kings Chapel is the largest and most spectacular of the college chapels in Cambridge.

Looking into the courtyard of one of the colleges.

St Mary's Church with its large capacity of 1200 worshippers is due to the fact that at one time all undergraduates had to attend university sermons here six times a year, which necessitated the insertion of the timber galleries in 1735 as student numbers increased. The present church was begun in 1478 and was built partly from limestone quarried from the derelict castle on Castle Hill. The church has a fine late Perpendicular tower which contains a peal of twelve bells, one of only a few in the country. The gilt and blue clock on the tower of Gt. St. Mary's is particularly handsome and dates from 1679.


As the climb of St Mary's tower was there Kevin meet the challenge and climbed to the top.

The colourful market next to Great St. Mary’s has been operating from this site since Saxon times (evidence now buried four meters below present ground level.) It was at its most thriving in the Middle Ages when different areas of the market were devoted to selling particular goods. This memory lives on in today’s street names, Pease Hill being where peas were sold!

Looking down into the Old Schools from the church tower.

I loved this little shop that sold all the uniforms and university gowns for graduation, never seen anything like it in Australia.

Gonville and Caius College inTrinity Street was built in 1575, has three gates through which students pass into the college. The first, the Gate of Humility, this unusual gate would have been regarded as state-of-the-art modern architecture, representing the earliest appearance of the Italian Renaissance style in Cambridge. As originally entered from the street, and is now relocated in the Master’s Garden. The second, the Gate of Virtue, is in the photo below. 

The final gate, the Gate of Honour, marks progress from the college to the Senate House and from thence into the outside world. It remains equally striking today. The gate was designed by Dr John Caius, Master of the College and an eminent physician. Architecturally of great significance as it represents one of the earliest examples of the Italian Renaissance style in England. It was built in 1573 as part of a succession of gateways within the college to symbolise the intellectual passage of a student from ignorance to wisdom. 

All three gates were designed by the master and co-founder of the college, the celebrated royal physician Dr Caius. (His original name was Keys, which he changed to the more scholarly and classical Caius!) He studied medicine in Padua in the 1560s and returned to England with Renaissance ideals and Italianate taste. The Gate of Honour is classical in detail, an unusual composition of an arched gateway surmounted by four columns and a pediment, topped by a stone hexagon carrying a sundial on each face. The whole edifice was originally brightly painted, and seems curiously diminutive, as if it should have been built twice the size.

The way to get around all the colleges if you are a student is by bicycle they are everywhere, the streets are closed to traffic in the main areas of the college however you have to be very careful crossing any lane or streets or the bikes will get you.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This small and intimate church is one of only five remaining round churches in England, originally modelled after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The circular interior is Norman, with eight squat columns supporting a clerestory above, with a fan vaulted ambulatory surrounding them. The building has been extended over the years and was heavily restored in 1841 when much of the original stonework was replaced. The church is now used as a centre for Christian Heritage in Cambridge.

Had to take a photo of the English Lolly Shop Hardy's.

Even though it is close to summer here in England can you believe they are growing tulips our special winter flowers at home. They were in there full glory and looked spectacular.

Magdalene Bridge throughout its history, Cambridge has depended heavily on the river for trade and travel. Today, Magdalene Bridge marks the site of the very first crossing point over the River Cam, made over twelve centuries ago. During the medieval period, this very spot was also the site where another waterway, known as the King’s Ditch, discharged into the river. Originally dug as a defensive trench, the townsfolk used this Ditch as a convenient rubbish dump. A statute of 1388 ordered the King’s Ditch should be cleared of “dung and filth of garbage and entrails, as well of beasts killed, as of other corruptions”. In 1502, three heads of Colleges were fined by the Town Court for having “privvies” (toilets) overhanging the Ditch. The streets of medieval Cambridge were, in themselves, a deadly health hazard. Unpaved and unlit until the 18th century, they were mud-baths, running with sewage, blood, offal and home to wandering animals such as hogs and sheep. The river Cam was not much cleaner. During Queen Victoria’s visit in 1890, she enquired of the Master of Trinity as to the nature of those pieces of paper floating in the river… “Those Ma’am”, he replied, “are notices prohibiting bathing!” Diseases such as dysentery and typhoid were widespread, caused by poor hygiene and contaminated water. It wasn’t until 1895, that the Cam was radically improved by the opening of a new, state-of-the-art pumping station. Here, two colossal steam engines pumped Cambridge’s sewage out of town to Milton, a task they continued to perform until 1968.

The Corpus Clock designed by John C Taylor is exact every fifth minute.

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