Cambridge – Concert Venue

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the sixth of the series, is on the concert venue in Cambridge.


The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

Trinity College Chapel

Trinity College Chapel

Trinity College was founded by Henry VIII in 1546. At the time, Henry had begun seizing lands from Catholic abbeys and monasteries (Henry had become the self-appointed head of his Church of England in 1534). The university of Cambridge, being both a religious institution and quite wealthy feared that it to be next in line to be closed. The King passed an Act of Parliament that allowed him to suppress and confiscate the property of any college he wished.

Trinity College Great Court

Trinity College Great Court

The university authorities pleaded with Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, who persuaded Henry not to close any of the Cambridge colleges, rather to consolidate and merge some of them to form the new Trinity College. Most of the Trinity’s major buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Women were not admitted to Trinity College until 1975, and disappointingly wikipedia lists not a single alumna!

Trinity College Dining Hall

Trinity College Dining Hall

Trinity College Dining Hall

The Dining Hall hammer-beam roof dates from c.1350. The ‘hammer-beam’ is one of the most complex timber frame roof structures, and allows a span greater than the length of any individual piece of timber. In place of the normal wall-to-wall tie beam spanning the entire width of the roof, short beams – ‘hammer- beams’ are supported by curved braces from the wall, and further structure is built on top of the hammer beams.

 

Christopher Wren Library, 1695

Christopher Wren Library, 1695

The Wren Library

The Wren Library,1695, contains many notable rare books and manuscripts, many bequeathed by past members of the college. Included in the collection are a first edition of Newton’s Principia, A A Milne’s manuscript for Winnie the Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner, several works printed by William Caxton, including the first book in English produced in England, and handwritten notes by Robert Oppenheimer describing the ‘Trinity’ atomic bomb test in New Mexico.

Famous Alumni include: Isaac Newton; Charles Babbage, inventor of the ‘Difference Engine (an early mechanical computer); poets Lord Byron, Alfred Tennyson, and A E Housman; William Fox Talbot, inventor of photography; authors A A Milne & Vladimir Nabokov; and Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr.

 

Cambridge – Trinity College Chapel