Library staff regularly curate exhibitions based on our historic holdings, enabling visitors to explore some of our treasures in an awe-inspiring setting. Take a look!

Poetry and Place in Cambridge


Poster for 'Poetry and Place in Cambridge'


Notes and drawing by John Wisken, poet and College servant
Notes and drawing by John
Wisken, poet and College
Map of Cambridge, from Magna Britannia, 1808
Map of Cambridge, from
Magna Britannia, 1808 

This winter, Christ’s College Old Library will host a new exhibition: ‘Poetry and Place in Cambridge’.


This exhibition looks at the rich history of poetry about Cambridge, by focusing on poems and poets concerned with the places of the city. From Geoffrey Chaucer to the lesser-known Mary Davys, Sylvia Plath to William Wordsworth, poets both inside and outside the University have been moved to write about different areas of Cambridge. As well as transporting readers as far as Grantchester and Trumpington, these poems also help us shed new light on central locations, such as the Mill Pond and Market Hill.

The exhibition contains activities for children, and is accompanied by a self-guided walking tour, so  you can visit the sites found in each poem. Visit the historic Old Library and learn about the places  that have inspired students, residents and visitors to Cambridge to celebrate the city in verse.

All are welcome to visit this free exhibition between 2pm and 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 18th November 2021.






Past Exhibitions

Exhibitions are among the best ways of publicising and showcasing our library's collections, and thus of bringing them to a wider audience, which is part of our College's mission. Over the years our exhibitions have covered a wide range of subjects - exploration, the supernatural, former College masters, science and religion, and so on - and while most of the materials in them have been sourced from our own collections, sometimes we have also borrowed material from other libraries, individuals, and institutions. This has enabled us to create unique events that have attracted large numbers of visitors.

Some of our previous exhibitions have been converted into online presentations, which you can access by clicking on the links to individual exhibitions provided on the menu bar at the right of this screen. We have online versions of the following:

  • Here be Dragons! Mapping Lands Near & Far
  • The Secrets of Life
  • The Theater of Plants
  • Christ's at War
  • Past Masters
  • Treasures of the Old Library

We hope you enjoy them!

Clicking on the titles of our other exhibitions will bring you to a general informational page, but not to an online presentation.