A guide to the history of the University of Cambridge

Cambridge University UK

As home to one of the oldest and most famous educational institutions in England, Cambridge is rich in history and full of iconic schools and colleges that form the University of Cambridge.

During your trip to The Tamburlaine Hotel Cambridge, there’s no better way to discover the roots of the local culture and the history of the area than by visiting the beautiful University of Cambridge. While you’re counting down the days until you check in at our luxury hotels in Central Cambridge, here is a chance for you to learn more about the rich history of the University of Cambridge.

Established in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the second oldest university in Britain. It is also the fourth oldest surviving educational institute in the world and was granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231. It was established by a collective of scholars who were formally associates of the University of Oxford. After a dispute with the local community, they decided to leave and establish their own institution. This is where the long history of competition and rivalry between the two universities stemmed from.

As one of the largest universities in the country, Cambridge is split into six main schools which collaboratively include over 100 different departments spread over 31 constituent colleges.  Some of these departments have very rich histories including Cambridge University Press which is the oldest surviving publishing house in the world.

Throughout history, the prestigious school has been home to numerous famous scholars and scientists. Charles Darwin, who was famous for his work on evolution and earth sciences, was a prominent scholar at the university and his family was a key benefactor of the Darwin College. Other notable students include the famous theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking who has been responsible for a number of revolutionary theories and discoveries. Several famous actors have also walked the halls of Cambridge including Hugh Laurie, Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry and Tom Hiddleston.

Some of the proudest accolades held by the University of Cambridge come from the word of sports. Throughout its history, the school has prided itself on training world-class athletes. Graduates of the university have collectively earned over 170 Olympic medals, including 80 golds. Big names such as Deng Yapin, the six-time tennis world champion, have perfected their craft on the fields and courts of Cambridge.

The university has a long political history with ties to the British parliamentary system than stretch back hundreds of years. In fact, it is one of only eight universities in Britain to have been granted constituency status. In 1603, by means of a Royal Charter, the University of Cambridge was declared to be a constituency and was granted two seats on the benches of the House of Commons. It wasn’t until 1950 that this ruling was abolished but the university still holds a strong connection to politics in Britain as well as every major industry and sector.