The Tourist's Guide to Cambridge

Le guide touristique du Cambreegue -- Das Kambriggentouristikenfahrplannenwirschaftkartoffenwagen

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In the spirit of international co-operation, we bring you a helpful guide to the exciting Cambridge touristic scene.

The History of Cambridge

Cambridge was founded in 43AD by the Roman emperor Cantabrigensis, but remained a dull insignificant market town until the foundation of the university in 1134, at which point it became a dull insignificant market town, with a university. It was founded by students advisedly fleeing Oxford, who promptly built an institution identical in every respect to the one they had just fled. The first college was Wendyhouse (founded 1078), which eventually decided it was really a men's college inside a women's body, and so became Peterhouse. Peterhouse has been exhibiting somewhat strange qualities ever since.

Eventually, the Peterhusians got bored with sleeping with each other, (well, some did), and so decided to found another college to provide much-needed variety. This was Maudlin, renamed Magdalene in 1345 in order to avoid confusion with Maudlin, Oxford. At this point, a central university body, known as the Old Schools because its members all went to Eton, was set up, but promptly disappeared without trace and hasn't been seen or heard of since. There soon followed a rash of college foundations, including Queens', (not to be refused with Queen's, queens, or indeed The Queen), Kings, Parker-Bowles' (renowned for its equestrian endeavours), Gonville and Keys (renamed Caius, (pronounced Girton), for a laugh in 1675), and Jesus Christ's, so named when Lady Margaret Hall, a virginal lady who liked nothing better than knocking down nunneries to set up establishments of lusty young men, spilt hot sealing-wax at a crucial moment when the charter was drawn up.

Lady Margaret then founded St. Johns (pronounced Sinjun's) as a tribute to the queen, and sadly died before being able to enjoy the services of her latest foundation. Not to be outdone, Henry VIII founded Trinity with the proceeds of his Dissipation of the Monasteries, (well, some of them). This college became renowned for its vast land-holdings. It owns Basildon you know, it really does. And parts of Levenshulme. It is said that a Trinity undergraduate can walk from Cambridge to Cirencester without realising he's left Great Court. This is the origin of the famous Great Court run, where undergraduates run round the court for days on end, looking for Cirencester.

Jesus Christ's then split in two, with a splinter group claiming they'd go to Christ's only over their dead bodies. This was the origin of Corpus Christi. There was then a lull until Emmanuelle was founded to produce soft-core pornography, and Sidney Sussex to [find out something interesting about Sidney to put here - ed.]. At this point, it was decided that there had been far to much change in general, so no further change occurred until the nineteenth century. At this point, two radical changes were proposed. One was that the University should become an educational institution, teaching undergradutes useful knowledge instead of the arcane and obsolete ritual into which it had sunk. Fortunately, this proposal was soon seen off, for fear it may prejudice the results of the Varsity match (a competition against Oxford involving student journalists trying to drink each other under the table), and the boat race.

The second proposal, even more daring, was that women be allowed to enter the hallowed portals of the University. This suggestion aroused much protest, but it also aroused many non-Kings fellows who rather felt like entering some hallowed portals themselves, and so it was agreed that women may be admitted to Cambridge, providing they stayed in Girton (a suburb of Oxford), and didn't try getting any of those nasty ideas into their pretty little heads. Or getting degrees.

The twentieth century has been another time of great flux for the University, and several slight changes have been made over the course of the past ninety-seven years. The women started creeping closer and closer to Cambridge, culminating in New Hall, visible on a clear day from the tower of Great St. Mary's, ("Great St. Mary's!" is a popular Cambridge cry of distress, as is "Christ's Pieces!"). In 1965, Churchill, (soon to be renamed Thatcher), College was set up to act as a home for Churchill's blotting paper and to keep several hundred Natscis out of central Cambridge. In 1968, the university was forced by student pressure to end the ceremonial public castration of students found within 30 chains of Great St. Mary's and not wearing a gown and bow-tie when there was an "R" in the month, leading to many fellows, such as F.R. "Literature? Bollocks more like! (unless its by D.H. Lawrence)" Leavis, leaving Cambridge in disgust. Finally, in the late 1970s and 1980s, most all-male colleges decided to admit women, providing they didn't have the temerity to actually apply. Or try for a first.

Oh, and in 1971 Richard Whiteley, the University's most distinguished alumnus, graduated with a starred double third in Land Economy.

Things for tourists to do in Cambridge

Useful advice

Eating out

Here are a selection of Cambridge establishments to give you an idea of the considerable scope of English cuisine: