Selwyn College, Cambridge

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Selwyn College
University of Cambridge
Selwyn College Old Court, Cambridge, UK - Diliff.jpg
Selwyn College's Old Court
Selwyn College shield.svg
Arms of Selwyn College
Scarf colours: maroon, with three narrow gold stripes through the middle, the central stripe slightly narrower than others
Location Grange Road (map)
Full nameSelwyn College in the University of Cambridge
AbbreviationSE [1]
Motto in English"Quit ye like men"
Established1882 (1882)
Named after George Selwyn
Sister college Keble College, Oxford
Master Roger Mosey
Residents640 [2]
Undergraduates380 [2]
Postgraduates260 [2]
Endowment £67.6M (2019) [3]
Boat club
Location map Cambridge.png
Red pog.svg
Location in Cambridge

Selwyn College, Cambridge (formally Selwyn College in the University of Cambridge) is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college was founded in 1882 by the Selwyn Memorial Committee in memory of George Augustus Selwyn (1809–1878), the first Bishop of New Zealand (1841–1868), and subsequently Bishop of Lichfield (1868–1878). Its main buildings consist of three courts built of stone and brick (Old Court, Ann's Court, and Cripps Court). There are several secondary buildings, including adjacent townhouses and lodges serving as student hostels on Grange Road, West Road and Sidgwick Avenue. The college has some 60 fellows and 110 non-academic staff.


In 2019, Selwyn was ranked eighth on the Tompkins Table of Cambridge colleges in order of undergraduates' performances in examinations, [4] having been first in 2008. [5] The college was ranked 16th out of 30 in an assessment of college wealth conducted by the student newspaper Varsity in November 2006. [6] Selwyn's sister college at the University of Oxford is Keble College.


George Selwyn

George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878) Selwyn, George Augustus (1809-1878), by Mason & Co..jpg
George Augustus Selwyn (1809–1878)

The college was founded following the death of Bishop George Augustus Selwyn, who had played an important role in the establishment of New Zealand as its first bishop. Selwyn was a scholar of St John's College, Cambridge, and a member of the Cambridge crew which competed in the inaugural Boat Race in 1829. He came out second in the Classical Tripos in 1831, graduating Bachelor of Arts (BA) 1831, Master of Arts (MA Cantab) 1834, and Doctor of Divinity (DD) per lit. reg. 1842, and was a fellow of St John's College from 1833 to 1840. [7]

After graduating, Selwyn first taught at Eton College. In 1833, he was ordained deacon, and, in 1834, a priest. Selwyn displayed leadership talent and, in 1841, after an episcopal council held at Lambeth had recommended the appointment of a bishop for New Zealand, Charles James Blomfield, Bishop of London, offered the post to Selwyn.

He returned to England in 1867, and accepted the post of Bishop of Lichfield, which he held until his death on 11 April 1878, aged 69.

Foundation of the College

After Selwyn's death in 1878, a number of scholars from Cambridge launched plans to establish a college to honour his life. [7] The Selwyn Memorial Committee was founded with Charles Abraham (Bishop of Wellington) as secretary, and it proposed that a Cambridge college should be established as a memorial. The college's first Master, Arthur Lyttelton, was formally elected on 10 March 1879, the Archbishop of Canterbury Archibald Tait was invited to become Visitor on 28 June 1878 and building of Old Court, as it is now known, began in 1880.

First Master of Selwyn College, Arthur Lyttelton Arthur lyttelton.jpg
First Master of Selwyn College, Arthur Lyttelton

The foundation stone of the college was laid by Edward Herbert, 3rd Earl of Powis in a ceremony on 1 June 1881, following a lunch in King's College, Cambridge. A Charter of Incorporation was granted by Queen Victoria on 13 September 1882, and the west range of Old Court was ready for use by the college's official opening (with the Master's installation) on 10 October 1882, in time for Michaelmas term. Selwyn's first 28 undergraduates joined the original master and 12 other Fellows at the then Public Hostel of the university in 1882.

The first master of the college was Arthur Lyttelton, who sought to establish the college on a firm academic and financial foundation. Lyttelton had been senior tutor at Keble College, Oxford. He came from a well-established family with strong connections in both Church and State, his mother being the sister-in-law of the prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone, who became a major benefactor of the college. Lyttelton was himself a life-long supporter of the Liberal party and was familiar with many politicians in Westminster, his wife Kathleen, a women's activist, being the daughter of the Liberal MP George Clive. Lyttelton persuaded Gladstone to make a personal gift to the college of the louder of the two chapel bells. Gladstone reportedly believed that Cambridge students needed to be well woken if they were to get up at a productive time in the morning. Today, the chapel bell is known as 'Gladstone's Bell' by students. [7]

Selwyn College Clock Tower Selwyn College Cambridge (Hall Clock).jpg
Selwyn College Clock Tower

The college was founded by donations and subscriptions, with a distinctly religious character. The royal charter for the college, reproducing the terms of the charter of Keble College, was sealed on 13 September 1882. The charter declared that the college was "founded and constituted with the especial object and intent of providing persons desirous of academic education and willing to live economically with a College wherein sober living and high culture of the mind may be combined with Christian training based upon the principles of the Church of England". Initially, only baptised Christians were accepted as students or scholars. The original foundation charter specified that the college should "make provision for those who intend to serve as missionaries overseas and ... educate the sons of clergymen".

Selwyn was not yet a full college of the university, but a "Public Hostel", with its undergraduates regarded as non-collegiate and marked with the designation "H. Selw." on Senate House lists. [7]

Later development

In 1926 the "Public Hostel" status was abolished, replaced with that of "Approved Foundation", granting more security to the college. The distinction of the college as "H. Selw." on Senate House lists had also ceased from June 1924. [7]

On 14 March 1958, Selwyn was granted full collegiate status. [7]

Selwyn, in common with most other Oxford and Cambridge colleges, originally admitted only men, but was one of the first colleges to become mixed when women were admitted from 1976. In that year, women lived only on E and H Staircases, but in subsequent years could live anywhere in College. In 1999, Selwyn appointed the first female Director of Music in an Oxbridge College, Sarah MacDonald, and in 2009, Selwyn became the first Cambridge college to appoint a female head porter, Helen Stephens. [8]


The college founders purchased from Corpus Christi College 6 acres (2.4 hectares) of land which lay between Grange Road, West Road and Sidgwick Avenue on 3 November 1879 at a cost of £6,111 9s 7d. This parcel of land is still owned by the college and is the location of Old Court and Ann's Court. The site was originally considered somewhat remote from the centre of the university, but Selwyn now neighbours the Sidgwick Site where several of the university's arts and humanities faculties are. An alternative site on Lensfield Road, where Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church now stands, was considered but rejected as too small.

The chapel was built in 1895 before the dining hall (in 1909), and chapel attendance was compulsory for students from the college's foundation until 1935. There were originally plans to build a permanent library between F Staircase and the chapel to complete Old Court, on land that now forms part of the College Gardens, but this was not done. The Selwyn College Library was opened in 1929, funded by subscriptions in honour of college members who had died in the First World War. In 1894 and 1896, respectively, the Old Library in the tower, received two extensive benefactions of history, politics and theological texts, from Canon William Cooke and Edward Wheatley-Balme. These large literary bequests gave Selwyn College an excellent working library. [7]

The Jacobean-style Dining Hall was constructed under the tenure of the fourth Master of Selwyn College, Richard Appleton, who had previously been a senior fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. His appointment as Master continued the close relationship between Selwyn and Trinity which had been supportive of the younger college. Appleton served for two years from 1907 before he died of influenza. [7] Despite his brief mastership, Appleton had managed to secure funding for the Dining Hall. Appleton's initials and rebus (three apples and a tun) appear on the north wall of the Hall entrance, and his posthumously painted portrait hangs in the college. Construction on the dining hall began in 1909, but Appleton did not live to see the project completed. [7]

The dining hall was always intended to be panelled, however, this vision could not be realised until the woodwork for the west side of the hall was presented in 1913 by the Magdalene fellow, A. C. Benson in memory of his father Archbishop Benson. This panelling came from the English Church in Rotterdam which was designed by the office of Sir Christopher Wren between 1699 and 1708. [7] [ better source needed ]

University education was expensive at the time of Selwyn's foundation, and given that Selwyn College was intended to be a place for young students who could not otherwise afford an Oxbridge education, the college charges were initially kept low. Undergraduates initially paid £27 per term for food, lodgings, lectures and tuition, with a small surcharge for students of medicine, scientists and engineers. This was raised to £28 in 1916, and £33 in 1918, as the number of scholars studying at Oxford and Cambridge drastically decreased due to the First World War.

Selwyn College Tower Selwyn College Gatehouse Tower, Cambridge, UK - Diliff.jpg
Selwyn College Tower

Buildings and grounds

Old Court, construction of which began in 1880 and is built in Ketton stone and local red brick in the Victorian Late Perpendicular Gothic Revival style, was largely designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield and comprises seven staircases (A to G), together with a tower and gateway, Master's Lodge, Chapel, Hall, Kitchens, Music Practice Room and Archives. Selwyn College Library is located adjacent to Old Court; it was designed by T. H. Lyon in 1929 to serve as a First World War memorial.

Cripps Court, named after the Cripps Foundation that donated most of the funds to build it (and which also funded developments at St John's College, Queens' College and Magdalene College) was built and formally opened on 17 May 1969 on land on the opposite side of Grange Road which was originally owned by Jesus College. Selwyn's Cripps Court features a tricolon design with ensuite rooms for students. Cripps Court comprises a further seven staircases (H to N) and is home to all of Selwyn's first-year undergraduates, a few second-year undergraduates and postgraduates including their common room, the Middle Combination Room (MCR).

The chapel facing west towards the entrance and organ Selwyn College Chapel 2, Cambridge, UK - Diliff.jpg
The chapel facing west towards the entrance and organ
Ann's Court, Selwyn College Selwyn2.jpg
Ann's Court, Selwyn College

Ann's Court, built on the land to the north of Old Court and south of West Road, is the most recent court. Its exterior reflects the atmosphere of the rest of the college with Ketton limestone and brick-work fixtures. Ann's Court was designed by the traditionalist architect Demetri Porphyrios who has completed similar new projects at Magdalen College, Oxford, which also utilised hand-carved Ketton stone in its exteriors, and at Princeton University (Whitman College) in the United States. The golden-yellow Ketton stone used in Ann's Court (and the rest of Selwyn College) has been used in the construction of Oxford and Cambridge colleges for several hundred years, and can be seen in the exterior of the Wren Library at Trinity College. The interior of Ann's Court is contemporary and equipped with wooden staircases. As a proponent of New Classical Architecture, Porphyrios designed new buildings which fit the existing limestone and brick materials of Selwyn College. The Porphyrios Associates design involved a three-winged building which created the space for a large new court to be formed in the middle of the college, named Centre Court. Ann's Court features hand-carved details and a series of limestone cloisters and chimneys arranged in the traditional Cambridge University fashion. Ann's Court was named after Ann Dobson, who with her husband Christopher Dobson (who matriculated at Selwyn in 1957) formed the Ann Dobson Foundation, which is one of the principal donors towards the construction costs of Phases I and II. Phase I was completed in July 2005 and consists of 43 ensuite rooms and 15 administrative offices, forming two staircases (O and P) at a cost of £7.5 million. The second phase, including 40 en-suite bedrooms forming staircases Q and R and a new Junior Combination Room (JCR) at a cost of £2.5 million, was completed in Summer 2009. [9] The college bar was refurbished in 2002, and redecorated in 2011.

The college has planning permission to develop further three phases of building, planned to be built as funding permits, which will extend the college's distinctive limestone and red-brick façade along Grange Road to the corner of West Road. The plans consist of a new library and archives (Phase 3) behind Staircase E of Old Court, and two further accommodation blocks (Phase 4) to form a new court (tentatively named Library Court) between Old Court and Ann's Court, and an auditorium, debate chamber, and conference facilities (Phase 5) to complete the west side of Ann's Court.

Map of Selwyn College (1886) Map of Cambridge, England (1886).png
Map of Selwyn College (1886)

Plans are currently underway to build a new library and auditorium located near Ann's Court and the College Gardens. The college plan calls for all future expansions to adhere to the same architectural style of limestone and brick demonstrated in the Ann's Court development. The Master Plan, also designed by Porphyrios Architects, calls for a new wing of student housing alongside Grange Road, located between Old Court and Ann's Court. This new wing of accommodation would enclose the western edge of Centre Court and would allow the college to increase graduate student numbers. In 2018, the college assured concerned alumni and students that the original library would be preserved and converted into lecture and auditorium rooms (although the small 1970s annex will probably be removed). [2] The building of a new library is a priority for Selwyn College and would complete the perimeter of a fourth collegiate court.

Coat of arms and motto

The arms used by George Augustus Selwyn as Bishop of Lichfield, above the college's Main Gate to Old Court Selwyn College Heraldic Coat of Arms, Main Gate.jpg
The arms used by George Augustus Selwyn as Bishop of Lichfield, above the college's Main Gate to Old Court
Main Gate with the Greek quotation which contains the College motto Selwyn College Cambridge Main Gate.jpg
Main Gate with the Greek quotation which contains the College motto

The Selwyn College coat of arms incorporates the arms of the Selwyn family impaled with an adaptation of the arms of the Diocese of Lichfield. The arms were granted in the 1960s and are emblazoned as follows;

Per pale Gules and Argent a Cross potent quadrate Argent and Or between four crosses paty those to the dexter Argent those to the sinister Or For the See of Lichfield impaling Argent on a Bend cotised Sable three Annulets Or for Selwyn all within a Bordure Sable And for Crest On a Wreath Or & Purpure In front of a Book erect bound Gules edged clasped and garnished Or a representation of the Pastoral Staff of Bishop Selwyn.

The dexter half of the arms adapted from those of the See of Lichfield, are unusual, with or (gold) countercharged on argent (silver), violating the rule of tincture, which prohibits a metal to be charged with another metal. This is thought to refer to the arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which also violates this rule. Selwyn's pastoral staff or crozier is based on a hardwood Māori staff which is held in the College Chapel. The college was also granted an official badge, A Mitre Or within an Annulet Purpure.

Before an official grant by the College of Arms, Selwyn College used arms believed to be those borne by George Augustus Selwyn as Bishop of Lichfield; [10] they are displayed above the main gateway, built in 1881, and on the Common Seal, first used in 1882.

The college motto is a biblical quotation from 1 Corinthians, chapter 16, verse 13, in Greek, ΑΝΔΡΙΖΕΣΘΕ [11] (andrízesthe), translated in the King James Version as "Quit ye like men" [12] (alternatively, in the Douay–Rheims version, "Do manfully" [13] or, in the New American Bible, "Be courageous" [14] ). A longer extract of the verse, "ΣΤΗΚΕΤΕ ΕΝ ΤΗ ΠΙΣΤΕΙ ΑΝΔΡΙΖΕΣΘΕ", is carved over the main College gate (the full Greek verse of 1 Corinthians 16:13 being "Γρηγορεῖτε, στήκετε ἐν τῇ πίστει, ἀνδρίζεσθε, κραταιοῦσθε·"; Grēgoreîte, stḗkete en têi pístei, andrízesthe, krataioûsthe).


Formal hall

The Dining Hall, with the tables laid for Formal Hall Dining Hall, Selwyn College, Cambridge.jpg
The Dining Hall, with the tables laid for Formal Hall

Selwyn holds Formal Hall on every Tuesday and Thursday evening during Term at 7:30 pm with a capacity of 120, tickets for which can be bought by students for themselves and up to two guests. An additional Formal Hall was held on Sunday evenings at least until the early 1990s. [15] There is also a special, extra Halfway Hall Formal for second-year students to mark the middle of their time as undergraduate students at the college, and a Christmas Formal for all students at the end of every Michaelmas Term. Selwyn holds several JCR Dinners and MCR Dinners specifically for undergraduate and graduate students each term.

Formal Halls are for students, Fellows and the Master of the college; however, members of other Oxbridge colleges may attend, as well as a limited number of guests from outside the university. Formal hall meals are three- or four-course meals which are fully catered and served à la carte by college staff. During formal hall, the fellows and the master of the college sit at the High Table near the front of the hall, while students sit on benches or chairs at the long tables.

Latin grace

The college Grace is recited in Latin by a Fellow or Scholar (a student who achieved a First Class mark overall in the previous year) at the beginning of Formal Hall, and is as follows:

Benedic, Domine, nobis et donis Tuis, quae de Tua largitate sumus sumpturi; et concede ut iis muneribus Tuis ad laudem Tuam utamur, gratisque animis fruamur, per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


Bless us, O Lord, and all thy gifts, which of thy goodness we are about to enjoy; grant that we may use these generosities to thy glory, and enjoy them with thankful hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

When the High Table rises, the following concluding Grace is said Benedicamus Domino (Let us bless the Lord), with the response being Laus Deo (Praise be to God). This response was changed in the 1990s, from the previous response Deo gratias (Thanks be to God). [15]

Loyal toast

Selwyn has a tradition in which senior fellows and members of the college commonly remain seated for the college's loyal toast during formal hall. This tradition is not observed out of disrespect or irreverence for the sovereign, but rather, out of courtesy and remembrance of the former Master of the college, John Selwyn, who could not easily stand for the loyal toast owing to the limited use of his legs in later life. John Selwyn (son of George Augustus Selwyn) served as the second Master of Selwyn College (1893–1898). [7]

Lecture series

Selwyn College hosts an annual lecture named in honour of Ramsay Murray, an alumnus of the college during the 1930s. The Ramsay Murray Lecture Series was established in 1994 following a significant bequest from the Murray estate. [16] Lecturers have included many high-profile politicians, academics, and journalists including Onora O’Neill, Niall Ferguson, Michael Howard, Ian Kershaw, Roy Porter, Ian Clark, Lawrence Freedman, David Cannadine, Keith Thomas, Jonathan Riley-Smith and Quentin Skinner, former Regius Professor of Modern History. [16] The 2018 Ramsay Murray lecture features the journalist Frank Gardner. [17] The lectures are free and open to the public.

Student life

Porter's Lodge Selwyn College, Cambridge Porters Lodge.jpg
Porter's Lodge

Selwyn has a reputation as one of the most traditional but friendliest Oxbridge colleges. [7] The college is visited by many members of the university who come from the neighbouring Sidgwick Site in-between lectures and supervisions to take advantage of Selwyn's Servery and Dining Hall. Similarly, Formal Swaps are regularly arranged by the student councils to allow students from other Oxford and Cambridge colleges to dine at Selwyn during Formal Hall. Students of Selwyn College are required to wear their gowns to all formal halls, ceremonies and college functions. The Selwyn gown is made of a thick black cloth with dark navy blue inline lapels. [18] [7]

Common rooms

Selwyn College Junior Combination Room (JCR) is the students' union for undergraduates students. Elected in Michaelmas term, it organises social and welfare events, negotiates with the college on the students' behalf, and represents Selwyn on Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU) Council. JCR is affiliated to CUSU and by extension to the National Union of Students. In recent years, four presidents of Selwyn College JCR have become CUSU president, one of whom, Wes Streeting MP, went on to become president of the National Union of Students and a Labour Member of Parliament (MP). Another JCR President, Simon Hughes went on to become a Liberal Democrat MP and candidate for Mayor of London.

The Middle Combination Room (MCR) comprises the graduate students of Selwyn College, and is similarly represented by the MCR Committee (MCRc). The MCR is located in Cripps Court. The presidents and treasurers of the JCRc and MCRc have sat on College Council, the main decision-making body of the college, since it was reformed in 1989.

Selwyn College Boat Club (SCBC) DSC 9798-selwyn-m1-div2-sat.JPG
Selwyn College Boat Club (SCBC)

Student societies

The college is host to a number of student organisations, including the Hermes Club, Selwyn College Music Society and Selwyn Jazz, and on the stage by amateur dramatics society The Mighty Players. [19] Selwyn College Boat Club is the official rowing club. Selwyn has the longest continually running students' magazine— of any Cambridge College; Kiwi has been published from 1982 to present.[ citation needed ]

The chapel choir is a mixed choir that sings three weekly services during full term, [20] has toured widely and has made over 15 commercial CD recordings under their professional director, Sarah MacDonald. [21] The Choir has also included members of the neighbouring women's college, Newnham College, since before the integration of women to Selwyn. [22]

Unofficial societies

Like many Oxbridge colleges, Selwyn is home to several secret societies and dining clubs including The Controversialists, The Cromwells, and The Templars. Some of these societies function as de facto discussion and debate clubs while others are better known as drinking societies and for raucous parties. In recent years, several of the secret societies at Selwyn have been accused of elitism, and have been involved in sexism and hazing scandals. In 2014, members of the Selwyn Templars were involved in a scandal where sexist and misogynistic messages were sent out to members of the society. [23] [24]

Programme for a 1914 smoking concert of the Controversialists SelwynCollegeSociety0187.png
Programme for a 1914 smoking concert of the Controversialists

The Controversialists

The Controversialists are the oldest secret society at the college and one of the oldest at the university, being founded by a group of all-male students during the Lent Term in 1893. The society's name is believed to pay homage to both their leftist political leanings and their discussion and debate of poetry and literature. The purpose of the Society, according to rules printed in 1909, was "the reading and discussion of English poetry and drama". The Society membership is made up of both undergraduate and graduate students at Selwyn College. Female students have been able to join the society since women were admitted to the college. The total number of Controversialist members is not allowed to exceed twelve. Meetings have traditionally been held on Sundays in the Michaelmas and Lent terms, as well as in May if a quorum of five members can be arranged. The badge and symbol of the Controversialists is a purple lyre. [25]

The Controversialists commonly organise smoking concerts where poetry and verse is recited by members before the political discussions begin. The Controversialists are said to drink only Port during their meetings.[ citation needed ]

The Templars

The Selwyn College Templars are the second oldest secret society and the largest at the college. The society was initially only open to wealthy, upper-class Anglican students. The membership of the Templars Society are often involved with campus politics and are often members of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. Membership is decided by nomination from two current members and election at the society's Michaelmas meeting. New members of the Templars are reportedly 'knighted' with a ceremonial sword in a bizarre initiation ceremony that takes place on the Autumn equinox each year. [7]

In 2014, British newspapers reported that the Selwyn Templars Society were involved in a scandal where sexist and misogynistic messages were sent to members of the society. The college took disciplinary action against all students involved in the incident. [23] [24]

Hermes Club

The Hermes Club, founded in 1920, exists to encourage, fund and improve sport at Selwyn College – a task it accomplishes by offering financial grants to individual sportsmen/women and college teams, through the lobbying of college, and by generally raising the profile of sport in Selwyn. Members of Selwyn are eligible for invitation to the club if they have been awarded a Full Blue or Half Blue by the university, if they have captained a Selwyn College team in a 'First Class sport', or if they have competed on behalf of Selwyn in two 'First Class' Cuppers competitions. [7]

Alumni of the club fund two major sports grant schemes which award thousands of pounds in grants every year – the Hermes Fund and the Vickerstaff Sports Bursary Scheme. Many members[ who? ] of the Hermes Club have gone on to become prominent in public life, particularly as politicians, actors and authors. [26]

Winter and May balls

Selwyn College May Ball Survivors (1948) Selwyn College May Ball 1948 Survivors Shot.jpg
Selwyn College May Ball Survivors (1948)

Selwyn is unique among Oxbridge colleges in that it holds an annual Winter Ball known as the Selwyn Snowball, which traditionally takes place on the night of the last Friday of Michaelmas term. In recent years the Snowball has developed into a larger event than it had been in the mid-nineties and now runs three full stages, with recent headliners including Mumford & Sons and Tinchy Stryder, and caters for around 850 guests. The Selwyn Snowball has often become bigger and more subscribed than its May Ball which is usually held in June of each year once students have finished their examinations.

The May Ball tradition at Selwyn began on 14 June 1948, as hundreds of students dressed in black tie to attend the all-night celebration. May Balls continued to be held at the college throughout the second half of the 20th century with a highlight being the performance of The Who in 1967. [27] In recent years, May Balls have been replaced by the Snowball with notable exceptions: 2008, to celebrate the college's 125th anniversary; 2015 and 2017. [28]

Selwyn College Boat Club

The Selwyn College Boat Club (SCBC) is the rowing club for members of the college. The boat club was founded in 1882, during the Michaelmas term. During this early period, the Selwyn Boat Club trained several rowers who would go on to become Olympic Rowers and University Blues in the annual boat race against Oxford. The SCBC also achieved intercollegiate success during its early days, winning a second in the Lent Bumps of 1934 and third in the May Bumps 1931. The dedication and work of the early Selwyn rowers was all the more fitting given that George Augustus Selwyn had rowed for Cambridge in the first Boat Race at Henley-on-Thames in 1829. The SCBC still has one of the highest participation rates of novice rowers of any Oxbridge college. Notable alumni of the Selwyn College Boat Club include Hugh Laurie, Tom Hollander and Richard Budgett.

In 2014, Selwyn, King's and Churchill colleges announced plans for a new, state-of-the-art combined boathouse located on the River Cam. The boathouse features double-length beams and extensive gym and training facilities for all Selwyn College rowers and student athletes. This facility was completed in 2015–16 and now provides world-class rowing and training facilities for SCBC rowers and students across the University of Cambridge. The project was largely funded by donations and contributions from alumni and the Hermes Club. The two-storey combined boathouse is larger than its 1968 predecessor and provides facilities for socialising, training and boat maintenance in addition to an observation deck. The combined boathouse was designed by RHP Architects at a cost of approximately £2.20 million and was the winner of the 2017 RIBA East Award for Outstanding Architecture. [7] [29]

Notable alumni

Wes Streeting 1983Politician
Clive Anderson 1952Comedian and television show host
Christina Baker Kline 1964Novelist
Peter Beckingham 1949Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands
Richard Budgett 19591984 Olympic rowing gold medallist
Ralph Chubb 18921960Poet and printer
Deryck Cooke 19191976Musicologist and broadcaster
Brian Clegg 1955Science author
A. R. Cornelius 19031991Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan
Huw Davies 1959England Rugby Fly Half 1981-6 [33]
Kate Forbes 1990Member of the Scottish Parliament
Viv Groskop 1973Journalist, writer and comedian
John Selwyn Gummer 1939British politician
Peter Selwyn Gummer 1942Businessman
Richard Harries 1936Former Bishop of Oxford and Life Peer
Robert Harris 1957Author
Tom Hollander 1967Actor
Karl Hudson-Phillips 19332014Judge
Simon Hughes 1951Politician
Peter Matthew Hutton 1966Sports Media Executive
Grayston "Bill" Ives 1948Composer
Lionel Charles Knights 19061997Literary critic
Robert Lacey 1944Writer and Historical Advisor to Netflix's The Crown
Hugh Laurie 1959Comedian and actor, son of Ran Laurie
Ran Laurie 191519981948 Olympic rowing gold medallist
Andrew Lawrence-King 1959Musician
Sir David Li 1939Chairman and Chief Executive of the Bank of East Asia
Ivan Lloyd-Phillips 19101984Civil servant
Angus Maddison 19262010Economist
Sir Richard May 19382004Judge
David Miller 1946Political theorist
Zia Mody 1956Lawyer
Barry Morgan 1947Archbishop of Wales
Malcolm Muggeridge 19031990Author and journalist
Rob Newman 1964Comedian
Nigel Newton 1955Founder of Bloomsbury Publishing
Sir Edwin Nixon 19252008Managing director of IBM (UK)
Julian Pearce Bigsby Medal and Murchison Medal winning geochemist
Justine Picardie 1961Novelist and writer
John Saunders 1953Full international level chess player & Chess Magazine editor
John Sentamu 1949 Archbishop of York
Sir Peter Singer 1944Judge
Adrian Smith 1957Statistician
Peter Smith 1952Judge
Tim Stevens 1946Bishop of Leicester
Graham Stuart 1962British politician
David Thomson 1957Member of Canada's wealthiest family
D. R. Thorpe 1943Political biographer
Peter Wall 1955Professional head of British army
Stephen Wall 1947Diplomat
Eley Williams 1986Writer
Peter Williams 1945Physicist
Tim Davie 1967 Director-General of the BBC
Sophie Wilson 1957Computer scientist
Lucy Winkett 1968Anglican priest

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clare College, Cambridge</span> College of the University of Cambridge

Clare College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college was founded in 1326 as University Hall, making it the second-oldest surviving college of the University after Peterhouse. It was refounded in 1338 as Clare Hall by an endowment from Elizabeth de Clare, and took on its current name in 1856. Clare is famous for its chapel choir and for its gardens on "The Backs".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford</span> College of the University of Oxford

Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located on the banks of the River Cherwell at Norham Gardens in north Oxford and adjacent to the University Parks. The college is more formally known under its current royal charter as "The Principal and Fellows of the College of the Lady Margaret in the University of Oxford".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lincoln College, Oxford</span> College of the University of Oxford

Lincoln College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, situated on Turl Street in central Oxford. Lincoln was founded in 1427 by Richard Fleming, the then Bishop of Lincoln.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Queen's College, Oxford</span> College of the University of Oxford

The Queen's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford, England. The college was founded in 1341 by Robert de Eglesfield in honour of Philippa of Hainault. It is distinguished by its predominantly neoclassical architecture, which includes buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trinity Hall, Cambridge</span> Constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England

Trinity Hall is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Churchill College, Cambridge</span> College of the University of Cambridge

Churchill College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It has a primary focus on science, engineering and technology, but still retains a strong interest in the arts and humanities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">University College, Durham</span> Constituent college of the University of Durham

University College, informally known as Castle, is a college of Durham University in Durham, England. Centred on Durham Castle on Palace Green, it was founded in 1832 and is the oldest of Durham's colleges. As a constituent college of Durham University, it is listed as a higher education institution under section 216 of the Education Reform Act 1988. Almost all academic activities, such as research and tutoring, occur at a university level.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Magdalene College, Cambridge</span> College of the University of Cambridge

Magdalene College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college was founded in 1428 as a Benedictine hostel, in time coming to be known as Buckingham College, before being refounded in 1542 as the College of St Mary Magdalene.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge</span> Constituent College of the University of Cambridge

Sidney Sussex College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England. The College was founded in 1596 under the terms of the will of Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex (1531–1589), wife of Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, and named after its foundress. It was from its inception an avowedly Protestant foundation; "some good and godlie moniment for the mainteynance of good learninge". In her will, Lady Frances Sidney left the sum of £5,000 together with some plate to found a new College at Cambridge University "to be called the Lady Frances Sidney Sussex College". Her executors Sir John Harington and Henry Grey, 6th Earl of Kent, supervised by Archbishop John Whitgift, founded the College seven years after her death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Robinson College, Cambridge</span> College of the University of Cambridge

Robinson College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Founded in 1977, it is one of the newest Oxbridge colleges and is unique in having been intended, from its inception, for both undergraduate and graduate students of both sexes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emmanuel College, Cambridge</span> College of the University of Cambridge

Emmanuel College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I. The site on which the college sits was once a priory for Dominican monks, and the College Hall is built on the foundations of the monastery's nave. Emmanuel is one of the 16 "old colleges", which were founded before the 17th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Corpus Christi College, Cambridge</span> College of the University of Cambridge, founded 1352

Corpus Christi College, is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. From the late 14th century through to the early 19th century it was also commonly known as St Benet's College.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Queens' College, Cambridge</span> College of University of Cambridge

Queens' College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Queens' is one of the oldest colleges of the university, founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou. The college spans the river Cam, colloquially referred to as the "light side" and the "dark side", with the Mathematical Bridge connecting the two.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Catharine's College, Cambridge</span> College of the University of Cambridge

St Catharine's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Founded in 1473 as Katharine Hall, it adopted its current name in 1860. The college is nicknamed "Catz". The college is located in the historic city-centre of Cambridge, and lies just south of King's College and across the street from Corpus Christi College. The college is notable for its open court that faces towards Trumpington Street.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trevelyan College, Durham</span> College of Durham University

Trevelyan College is a college of Durham University, England. Founded in 1966, the college takes its name from social historian George Macaulay Trevelyan, Chancellor of the University from 1950 to 1957. Originally an all-female college, the college became fully mixed in 1992.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Van Mildert College, Durham</span>

Van Mildert College is a college of Durham University in England. Founded in 1965, it takes its name from William Van Mildert, Prince-Bishop of Durham from 1826 to 1836 and a leading figure in the University's 1832 foundation. Originally an all-male college, it became co-educational in 1972 with the admission of female undergraduates.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Josephine Butler College, Durham</span>

Josephine Butler College is a college at Durham University. It is located at the Howlands Farm site next to residences of Stephenson College. In the centre of the college is a grass-covered hill, called "The Mound."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Common room (university)</span> Student organizational body in the British Isles

A common room is a group into which students and the academic body are organised in some universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland—particularly collegiate universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, as well as the University of Bristol, King's College London, University of Dublin, Durham University, University of York, University of Kent and Lancaster University. At some Cambridge colleges, it is called a combination room. This terminology has, in addition, been taken up in some universities in other English-speaking nations. The terms JCR, MCR, and SCR are used by Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto.


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Coordinates: 52°12′04″N0°06′22″E / 52.2012°N 0.1061°E / 52.2012; 0.1061