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 fifth of the series, is on places of interest in Cambridge.
The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.
Places of Interest
In addition to Trinity College, adjacent King’s College is of great architectural interest. Founded in 1441 by Henry VI and the earliest of the royal foundations, King’s College is worth visiting for the huge expanse of lawn extending down to the river and King’s Bridge. King’s College Chapel, is renowned for its 12-bay perpendicular-style interior and impressive ‘fan vaulting’ (1515). The chapel has 16th-century stained glass windows; a lavishly carved 16th-century wooden organ screen and choir stalls; and the altarpiece is the painting, ‘Adoration of the Magi’ (1634) by the Dutch artist, Rubens. There are regular choral services (Evensong), organ recitals, and concerts in the chapel.
‘The Backs’ is a the picturesque area, where several colleges of the University of Cambridge, including Trinity College and adjacent King’s College, back on to the River Cam. There is public access to their grounds on both banks of the river.
The flat-bottomed boats in the above photo are punts – popular with students and visitors. They can be rented from several places along the river. ‘Punting’ with a pole is fun, and not difficult to do after a little practice. One of the favorite extended outings along the river in a punt is to the nearby village of Grantchester (2.5 miles/75 minutes ‘punting’ each way + a well earned rest and afternoon-tea at the Orchard Tea Rooms, before the return trip). The Vicarage – Grantchester is a well-known poem by Rupert Brooke reflecting on being homesick for England and his sometime Cambridgeshire home and countyside: “…yet stands the church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?” Brooke died in 1915 on active service in WWI.
The ‘Bridge of Sighs’ is a covered bridge at St John’s College, Cambridge University. It was built in 1831 and crosses the River Cam between the college’s Third Court and New Court. The bridge is a copy of Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, 1600, that connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.
Additional Places of Interest include:
Kettle’s Yard (housed in converted cottages) contains a very fine collection of mostly mid 20thc. art, notably by English artists Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Ben Nicholson.
The Fitzwilliam Museum contains an extensive collection of English pottery and china, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities, and illuminated manuscripts. The collection of paintings includes works by Hogarth, Gainsborough, and Turner, as well as Impressionists and Dutch Masters of the Baroque including Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Rubens.
In addition to the Fitzwilliam there are several other interesting museums in Cambridge including:
The Whipple Museum of the History of Science collection includes material dating from the medieval period – 19th century, including instruments of astronomy, navigation, surveying, drawing and calculating, sundials, mathematical instruments, and early electrical apparatus.
Center for Computing History acts as a repository for vintage computers and related artefacts. On display are key items from the early era of computers, and also holds vintage games consoles, peripherals, software, and an extensive collection of computer manuals, magazines and other literature.
Polar Museum – This Museum explores Earth’s coldest, driest, windiest, highest and deadliest places, from heroes to modern climate science. It is part of the Scott Polar Research Institute, established in 1920 to study the Arctic and Antarctic.
The University Botanical Gardens, established in 1831, covers an area of 40 acres, and showcases an impressive collection of more than 8,000 species of plants from all over the world.