St. John’s College

St. John's College

Photo by Punting Cambridge.

About St. John’s College

St. John’s College was established in 1511 at Cambridge University. Lady Margaret Beaufort started the process to open the college on the site of the old Hospital of St. John in Cambridge, but died in 1509 before the college officially opened. With the blessing of King Henry VIII and financial support from the Lady’s estate, many of the old buildings received needed repairs. The developers were also able to save the Chapel.

Notable alumni of St. John’s College include at least six prime ministers of different countries, nine Nobel Prize winners, two princes, three saints, and three archbishops. Prime Minister Manmohan Sing of India, inventor of the steam turbine Sir Charles Parsons, and Nobel Laureate and co-founder of Quantum Mechanics Paul Dirac, all were members of St. John’s.

Like Christ’s College, St. John’s College coat of arms bears elements of Lady Margaret Beaufort. The crest is adorned beyond just the coat by a rising eagle and two mythical yales on the sides.

St. John’s College Architecture

St. John’s Gothic fashion of romantic architecture builds up in Revival structures surrounding the court on three sides. The opening gate is embellished in a seven-bayed, cross-vaulted cloister. Viewers from the River Cam say the court design resembles a wedding cake.

Housing eleven courts, St. John’s College has the most in all of Oxford or Cambridge University. The New Court, built between 1826 and 1831, moves away from the medieval style found in the architecture of the first four courts.

Perhaps the most famous feature on St. John’s campus is the Bridge of Sighs. The bridge is featured in the movie based on the life of Cambridge alumnus Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything.

Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs. Photo by landoftheblind.

Music at St. John’s College

Students interested in music can participate in a variety of genre groups at St. John’s. The music ranges from classical Handel to modern hip-hop. The college’s Junior Combination Room, or student union, offers the Clarkson Room for bands to practice at the necessary volume. Active societies include the Music Society and the Jazz at John’s.

St. John’s Royal Privilege

St. John’s carries several traditions with their history, including the privilege of eating unmarked mute swans. Fellows of the college share the right with the British Monarchy, which owns all unmarked mute swans. The college used to have swan traps along the river, but no longer maintains them.

St. John’s College Contact & Location

St. John’s Street, Cambridge CB2 1TP
Tel: +44 1223 338600
Fax: +44 1223 337720

[pw_map address=”St. John’s Street, Cambridge”] is not affiliated with the University of Cambridge.