Founded 1964 by Gonville and Caius College, St John’s College and Trinity College.
Named after the Darwin Family.
Sister College – Wolfson College Oxford.
Men and Women – Postgraduate only 594.
Darwin is a relatively modern college that was surprisingly able to secure itself a beautiful spot on the Cam next to the Mill Pond. The river throws a loop that meanders through the grounds forming two small islands that can be booked for social functions by members in the warmer weather. For a small fee, students can join the Darwin punt club gaining access to the college’s five punts and several kayaks throughout the year. This compact site is an attractive 5-minute, meadow walk, from the city ...view middle of the document...
The college has built a solid reputation, with the annual ‘Darwin Lectures’, where leading academic figures are invited to give different perspectives, relating to their specialist fields, usually in the arts and sciences.
Sir George Darwin was Professor of Astronomy at the university from 1883 and had purchased Newnham Grange in 1885 as the family home. George was the grandson of Charles Darwin, famous for the Theory of Natural Selection. The Grange dates from 1793 and used to be the home of a wealthy local coal and grain merchant, Patrick Beals. Sir George made many changes before the property came to his son, who died in 1962. The surviving family members were receptive and supportive to the idea of turning the building into a college and decided to sell, suggesting the name of the institution to which the founders readily agreed. Various family portraits are loaned to the college and can still be found hanging on the walls. Darwin family member, Gwent Raverat, wrote a lovingly romantic description of what life was like at the Grange in her evocative book ‘Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood’ published in 1952, in which she describes horse-drawn trams and lamplighters.
In 1966 Darwin acquired a 19th century house, situated close by, known as the ‘Hermitage’, from St John’s College’ previously leased as temporary accommodation by the fledgling New Hall (now Murray Edwards College) who had since left for purpose built facilities. New additions were fitted around this existing stock and included the Octagonal Hall (1970) and a three storey brick linking structure, the Rayne...