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Downing College

Downing College

Photo by Barbara Carr

About Downing College

Downing family founded Downing College in 1800 on the estate left by Sir George Downing, who worked for British political leader Oliver Cromwell and Charles II of England. His estate stayed in the inheritance line after the death of his grandson in 1749, and went to Sir Jacob Downing. In 1764, after all the heirs had died, the estate was to support the founding of Downing College at Cambridge University.

Unfortunately, the widow of Sir Jacob would not release the funds, and Downing College did not actually gain the Royal Charter as a Cambridge College until after she died. The college describes its founding as “the oldest of the new and the newest of the old,” because no other colleges opened during the time period between 1596 and 1869.

Downing College – From the Courtroom to the Pitch

Downing College sustains a politically active student base with a strong legal and medical tradition. Unlike most colleges that have a distinct political preference shared by their members, the students at Downing can range in political preference from extreme leftist to extreme rightist.

Of the colleges at Cambridge it takes in the most undergraduate students studying law. It has an established reputation for theatre and music, and the Howard Theatre hosts frequent choir concerts and recitals.

The college also remains competitive on the sports field, and maintains top teams in football and rugby. During the 2008-2009 season, the Downing College Rugby Union Football Club traveled to Spain, known for their competitive rugby teams.

Downing College Grounds

Built on Pembroke Leys, the college’s neo-classical buildings sit on thirty acres between Regent Street and Tennis Court Road. The original architecture, as well as a spacious area known as ‘the paddock,’ reflects the Greek influence in the structures’ styles. With one of the largest courts in Cambridge and Oxford, it sits in the center of the university within close proximity to most facilities and the downtown.

Downing College Contact & Location

The Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1DQ
Tel: +44 1223 334800
Fax: +44 1223 363852
Email: admissions@dow.cam.ac.uk

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