"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on November 2, 2017 by Sioux under General


As I wanted to visit the Kings College Chapel, and we were close enough, we did a day trip to Cambridge, a university city on the River Cam, approximately 80km north of London. A very popular tourist destination, the city is also full of students attending the various colleges. Cambridge has 31 colleges in total, and the colleges decide which undergraduates to admit to the university, in accordance with university regulations. The University of Cambridge, founded in 1209, by students escaping from hostile townspeople in Oxford, is one of the top five universities in the world. The oldest existing college, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284. 

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Settlements have existed around the area since prehistoric times, and the earliest clear evidence of occupation is the remains of a 3,500-year-old farmstead discovered at the site of Fitzwilliam College. In Roman Britain, Cambridge became an important trading centre. 


The first town charters were granted in 1120 & 1131, although city status was not conferred   until 1951, in recognition of its history, administrative importance and economic success.        The Anglo-Saxon settlement around the end of 410, was known as ‘Grantebrycge’

  (Granta- bridge). This was later changed to Cambridge.   In 1068, two years after his

   conquest of England, William of Normandy built a castle on Castle Hill, and Cambridge fell

   under his control. In 1349 Cambridge was affected by the Black Death. Although few 

    records survive there is record of 16 out of 40 scholars who died at Kings Hall.  

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The Guildhall was built in 1939. 

In the 19th century, as with many other English towns, Cambridge

expanded rapidly, partly due to increased life expectancy and

improved agricultural production which lead to increased trade in town markets.


The railways came to Cambridge in 1845 after initial resistance, and the station was built outside of the town centre. During WW2, Cambridge was an important centre for defence of the east coast, and the town became a military centre, with an RAF training centre established during the conflict. The town escaped relatively lightly from German bombing raids, which were mainly targeted at the railway and no historic buildings were damaged. In 1944, a secret meeting of military leaders was held in Trinity College and laid the foundation for the allied invasion of Europe. During the war Cambridge served as an evacuation centre for over 7,000 people from London. 

The Eagle Pub, known as ‘The Eagle & Child’ in 1667,

is the oldest and most historic pub in Cambridge.


During WW2, pilots from squadrons of the RAF and

USAF used to meet there before missions over Germany and left their mark in the form of signatures and messages on the now famous ‘RAF Bar’ ceiling, using lipstick; cigarette lighters or candles! The pub was also the favourite meeting place of Francis Crick and James Watson, who announced their discovery about human DNA from here in 1953. They both later received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work. 

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This happy looking little character was waiting patiently while her owners sated their thirsts and I took                                                  photos!

Talos, the legendary man of bronze, who was guardian of Minoan Crete; the first civilisation of Europe. The statue was erected in Cambridge in1973. 

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                  A punt tour along the River Cam, passing by 

                the world famous Cambridge College ‘Backs’ is apparently one of the pleasures of a visit to Cambridge. Traditional pleasure punts were not introduced to Cambridge until about 1902–1904, but they have become the most popular craft on the river, and today there are probably more punts on the Cam than on any other river in England. This is partly because the river is shallow and gravelly (at least along The Backs) which makes it ideal for punting, but mainly because the river goes through the heart of Cambridge and passes close to many attractive college buildings.  

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The Corpus Clock is a large sculptural clock outside of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College. The clock’s face is a 24-carat gold-plated  stainless steel disc, about 1.5m in diameter. It has no hands or numerals, and displays the time by opening individual slits in the clock face backlit with blue LEDs; these slits are arranged in three concentric rings displaying hours, minutes, and seconds. The dominating visual feature of the clock is a grim-looking metal sculpture of an insect similar to a grasshopper. The sculpture is known as the Chronophage (literally “time eater”). It moves its mouth, appearing to “eat up” the seconds as they pass, and

occasionally it

“blinks” in seeming

satisfaction. The

clock is entirely

accurate only once

every five minutes.

The rest of the time,

the pendulum may

seem to catch or

stop, and the lights

may lag or, then,

race to get ahead.  

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The magnificent Kings College Chapel is where the annual Christmas Eve

Carol singing is broadcast from, to millions around the world.


The foundation stone of the chapel was laid in 1446, and was built in phases by a succession of English kings from 1446 to 1515, its history intertwined with the 1455 Wars of the Roses. It was completed during the reign of King Henry VIII. Four master masons were responsible for the superb craftsmanship at King’s College Chapel, which has the largest fan vault ceiling in the world and some of the finest medieval stained glass, which miraculously and mysteriously escaped the ravages of the Civil War, but were removed for safety during the 2 World Wars. The opportunity was taken to clean, repair and photographically document them.  

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The present building of St Botolph’s church mostly dates from the fourteenth century and is built of flint and rubble with  Barnack stone dressing. The church has been in constant use since 1320. The four bells were cast in 1460 and are still in use.

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And then it was time to bid Cambridge farewell, and head back to Chelmsford.


I will definitely be returning to the area at some stage, as there was still so much I wanted to see, including the Bridge of Sighs and an American museum and cemetery a ways out of town.


All in all a totally fantastic weekend, and I felt refreshed and ready to face the joys of caring again.

The wooden mathematical bridge crosses the

River Cam at the President’s Lodge. Built in

1460, it is the oldest building on the river.


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2 responses to “Travel time – new spaces, friendly faces #7 – The city of knowledge”

  1. Paul says:

    Very interesting concept surrounding the clock.

  2. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    Stunning pics and I love the info. My sister lives in Cambridge i shall see her in May next year can’t wait!

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