We are very lucky at Christ’s to have a great deal of facilities onsite, all while situated right in the centre of town. In many ways this makes studying at the University of Cambridge, and at Christ’s College in particular, a combination of the best elements of campus and city universities.
Very recognisable for its circular lawn, first court is the oldest part of College. Some undergraduates have accommodation in the various staircases here, and there are a number of academics' offices where small group supervision teaching takes place.
Porters' Lodge – Your first impression, first port of call, and last resort when you lock yourself out of your room, the 'PLodge', as it gets called, is the hub of the College. Manned 24/7 by some of the friendliest porters in Cambridge, they are on hand at all times to make sure members of the College are safe and that everything is running smoothly.
As a student you can collect your post from your pigeon hole here (the porters will sign for any post on your behalf), pick up a student newspaper or events flyer, book into any of our facilities at Christ’s, or just have a chat.
If you're a prospective student visiting the College, do introduce yourself in the porters' lodge when you arrive,
Buttery/Bar – every college has a bar of some description and Christ’s is no exception. During the day the buttery is a café, selling sandwiches and snacks, as well as Costa Coffee at 20% off high street prices. There are comfy sofas and newspapers, as well as a flatscreen TV, giving students a cosy place to relax when taking a break from supervision work or in between lectures.
In the evening the buttery becomes the College bar, selling all kinds of drinks, from cask ales to spirits, all at significantly cheaper prices than the pubs and clubs in town. Given its cheap prices and convenient location, many students start here before heading off into the night!
College Libraries – There are three libraries in Christ’s College: the Working Library, the Law Library, and the Old Library.
- The Working Library is the one that students use day-to-day. It's open 24/7 by card access so that you're free to study whenever suits you best. The library facilities include over 60 study spaces, 8 computers, the core texts for undergraduate courses, wi-fi, printing, photocopying, scanning, and even a complete skeleton (called Adam) for medical students! It’s a great resource to have right on your doorstep in College. As a student, you can borrow up to 15 books for two weeks at a time through the self-service issue machines, and you can also request books for purchase.
- The Law Library is a small but useful specialist library in first court just for law students, with legal journals and periodicals as well as 12 study spaces.
- The Old Library is a reference library (so you can't borrow the books, but you can consult them). There are 50,000 early-printed books and manuscripts, from an 11th-century Greek manuscript to numerous first editions of John Milton's works, a first edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species and first editions of Graham Greene's novels. At least two exhibitions are run each year, which are open to the public as well as to students. If you'd like to know more about the Old Library, you might enjoy looking at the Old Library timeline.
The librarians are always happy to help, whether you need to find an article published last week or to read a book from the 16th century. You need only ask!
Chapel - Our chapel dates back to the 16th century and provides a vital quiet space for the college, though unlike in the 16th century there’s no obligation to go here as a student anymore.
If you wish to get involved in chapel life, the Chapel is used for services, quiet prayer, music practice, or just somewhere to sit and reflect. You might like to look through the Chapel section for details. We have an excellent mixed-voice choir, who sing in three choral services each week in term time, as well as other events throughout the calendar.
The College Chaplain is also on hand, not just to run the chapel and its services, but also to provide a confidential ear should you have any issues you need to discuss. Be it exam stress or financial issues, the Chaplain is always there to help, and forms part of the network of pastoral care we have in College.
Hall - Our formal dining hall also dates back to the 16th century and provides a stunning place to eat for special dinners with its dark wood panelling and stained glass. Day-to-day students eat in the canteen-style Upper Hall (details below) but they have the option to book for a served 'formal hall' meal in Hall if they want to.
Undergraduates can book into 'formal hall' six nights a week, and are served a three course meal for less than £10.00. Extremely popular for Christmas Dinner and Halloween, it is also a great way to celebrate a birthday or show visiting friends Cambridge at its best.
Second Court is mainly undergraduate accommodation, as well as academics' offices in the Fellows' Building, where undergraduates have small-group supervision teaching.
Upper Hall - This is our informal alternative to the dining hall in First Court. Most students at Christ’s eat in Upper Hall at least once a day, which provides cafeteria style food if you don’t feel like a three course meal in Hall or want to fend for yourself. During term time there is a good selection of food, from a carvery option to a salad bar, and it is open for an hour and a half for lunch and an hour for evening meals, meaning that you can be flexible about when they eat. Food here is subsidised by the 'Kitchen Standing Charge' (in 2017-18 is £167 per term), which goes towards the upkeep of kitchen facilities, and means that a main two-course meal with unlimited vegetables and potatoes only costs around £3-£4.
Through a gate in Second Court is the spacious Fellows’ Garden. Despite the name, this is open to students throughout the year and is especially popular in the summer. As well as the beautiful flora maintained by our excellent gardening team, it is also home to a number of squirrels and birds.
Towards the back of the garden, there is Milton’s tree, a mulberry tree supposedly planted in the year of the famous poet’s birth and the tree that he reportedly sat underneath as he composed Lycidas. If you're interested in Milton at Christ's check out:
- Dr Sarah Howe's interactive tour of Milton's Christ's (you'll need Adobe Flash Player for this)
- Darkness visible - a study website on Paradise Lost made by Christ's students and lecturers
Outdoor bathing pool - This is a historic bathing pool with a little pavilion located in a back corner of the fellows' garden.
The pool could be the oldest outdoor pool in England, as it is believed to have been created in the mid-17th century, however the exact year isn't known. It was fed with fresh water from Hobson's conduit, the 400-year-old water course provided by the carrier Thomas Hobson to bring clean water into the disease-ridden Cambridge of the time. You may have heard of Thomas Hobson if you've come across the phrase 'Hobson's choice'.
In 2010 the bathing pool was restored and renamed the Malcolm Bowie Bathing Pool. It is open in Easter term for students to use, and is very much enjoyed on hot days in College! The dimensions are 18.3 x 8.7 metres, and there's further information in this news article, written at the time of the restoration if you'd like to read more.
Third court is mostly made up of undergraduate accommodation, with the majority of W (The Blyth Building) and Y blocks providing rooms for students, as well as staircases R, S, T and V containing a mixture of accommodation and academics' offices for supervision teaching.
In the photo here, Y block is on the left, and you can see R, S, and T staircases are on the right. You can also see the sunken courtyard area, which has benches that catch the sun nicely on warmer days, and a carefully selected collection of irises, arranged by our gardening team so that one of the species should be in flower at most times in the year.
Y Staircase Offices - On the ground floor of Y staircase, there's a row of offices which will be quite useful to you as a student. As well as the Admissions Tutor and Admissions Office, this corridor also includes the Tutorial Office, Bursary, and Senior Tutor’s Office.
Laundry Machines - All students living in College have access to washing machines and dryers in P staircase. A wash will set you back £1, and it’s £0.20 for 6 minutes of drying time.
You'll notice quite a change in the architecture as you enter New Court! This court houses a lot of undergraduates in staircases 1-4 of the tiered modernist building pictured here (often referered to as the 'typewriter'), and in the other buildings, including Z staircase. There is also a suite of modern seminar classrooms for supervisions and other group work.
Charles Darwin Sculpture Garden - Opened in 2009 to commemorate his anniversary, this peaceful garden takes you on a botanical voyage through Darwin's time on the HMS Beagle. It contains a sculpture of a young Darwin (representing Darwin at the time he was a student, discovering his passion in Biological Sciences). Fittingly, the Darwin sculpture was created by another talented Christ's alumnus, Anthony Smith.
JCR/MCR - These are our common rooms for undergraduates and postgraduates respectively; the JCR gets table tennis, table football, a pool table and its own TV, but the MCR does get its own bar. Students get in with their card, and during term time you can often find students relaxing in here, meeting up with friends, or playing on the Wii.
TV Room - Most students don’t have a TV of their own, but when you absolutely have to watch the Champion’s League Final or this week’s Made in Chelsea as it is broadcast, the TV room is available to all students to come in and use. It is also home to the most sofas in any room at Christ’s.
Function Room - A second bar is housed downstairs in the Yusuf Hamied Centre’s Function Room, and is opened for events and parties throughout the year. Societies often use it for meetings and freshers mixers, as well as being the usual venue for Christ’s Ents (parties organised by the JCR, the college’s student body).
Fitness Suite - Downstairs in the Yusuf Hamied Centre, there is a fully equipped fitness suite for students to use free of charge. It has the following equipment available: treadmills; elliptical cross trainers; static bikes (recumbent and upright); resistance machines for leg extension/leg curl, multi press, bicep/triceps, lat pulldown/low row; multi angle bench; stretch mat; gym balls.
Squash Court - Book in through the porter’s lodge, get yourself a racquet and off you go! There is also a viewing platform in case you want to watch others or play in a round robin with a few friends.
Music Practice Room - You may be aware that Christ's is a very musical college, with an active Music Society, two choirs, and a range of opportunities for students from all subjects to enjoy singing and/or playing at all levels. In the basement of the Yusuf Hamied Centre, there is a practice room where you can sing or practice on your instrument without feeling that you may be disturbing anyone. The room has an upright piano, a keyboard and a drum kit. Students who would like to make use of this resource first of all register as a musician, and can then book to use the room when they want to through the porters lodge.
Pianos - as well as the Music Practice Room, advanced (at least Grade 6 standard) piano players can use the College Bechstein grand piano in the Plumb Auditorium, and, in the College Chapel, a Kawai grand piano and a Bishop organ.
Yusuf Hamied Theatre - Since 2009, Christ’s has had its very own theatre in New Court, with a capacity of over 100 seats.
The theatre is available for students to use throughout term, either for dramatic productions or to screen films (a fully equipped film projector and lighting system are fitted). The CADS (Christ’s Amateur Dramatic Society) and Christ’s Film Society have regular productions and screenings in here, all of which you can get involved in as a student without any prior experience.
There are also talks and discussions that take place in the theatre, either with invited speakers, or with Christ's members who want to share an aspect of their research, or discuss an issue.