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Newnham College

Newnham College

Clough Hall, Newnham College. Photo by Steve Cadman.

About Newnham College

Newnham College was the second college at the University of Cambridge to accept women in 1871. It was founded by Henry Sidgwick with the help of Millicent Garrett Fawcett. Sidgwick had taken part in providing lectures to women at the university, but many could not travel to the campus on a daily basis. To accommodate, he rented a house for five women to stay, which Anne Jemima Clough agreed to run.

Notable alumnae of Newnham College include actress Emma Thompson and economist and former Newnham Principal Ruth Cohen.

Newnham College Grounds & Architecture

Newnham College’s campus now maintains several undergraduate and graduate residences, the Clough and Sidgwick dining halls, laboratories, libraries, and the second-longest continuous corridor in England. The architect Basil Champneys is said to have designed the corridor to keep the women from stepping out into the rain when they walked from one building to another.

The interior of Newnham’s buildings and some residents’ rooms include antique writing bureaus, fireplaces, and carved furniture displaying the history of the women in the college.

Newnham has a tradition of cultivating lively gardens on their grounds, including the garden surrounded by the Champneys main buildings. The college also maintains a dedication to gardening bearded Irises around the buildings. The Yates Thompson Library and the CU Women’s Suffrage Society Banner both have the flower draped over their entrances, inviting all members and visitors to view the work of Britain’s top Iris breeders.

Virginia Woolf Visits Newnham College

English author Virginia Woolf visited Newnham College in 1928 to present a series of lectures in conjunction with Girton College. After Woolf finished her series, she went on to publish her essay ‘A Room of One’s Own,’ looking at the feminist ideas of women finding a place in the literary business. At the time, men dominated the careers in literature.

Newnham College Contact & Location

Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DF
Tel: +44 1223 335700
Fax: +44 1223 359155
Email: admissions@newn.cam.ac.uk

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