Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge: Wikis


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Coordinates: 52°12′26″N 0°7′13″E / 52.20722°N 0.12028°E / 52.20722; 0.12028

Colleges of the University of Cambridge

Sidney Sussex College

Chapel Court, Sidney Sussex College
College name The College of the Lady Frances Sidney Sussex
Founder Lady Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex
Established 1596
Admittance Men and women
Master Dr Andrew Wallace-Hadrill OBE
Undergraduates 340
Graduates 190
Sister college St John's College, Oxford
Location Sidney Street (map)
Sidney Sussex College heraldic shield
Dieu me Garde de Calomnie
(French, "God preserve me from calumny")
College website
Boat Club website
Hall Court, Sidney Sussex College

Sidney Sussex College (often referred to informally as "Sidney") is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.

The college was founded in 1596 and named after its foundress, Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex. It was from its inception an avowedly Puritan foundation: some good and godlie moniment for the mainteynance of good learninge. Oliver Cromwell was among the first students (although his father became ill and he never graduated), and his head is now buried beneath the College's chapel.

While the College's geographic size has changed little since 1596, the exterior of the original E-shaped building was changed significantly in the 1830s under the leadership of Master Chafee. By the early 1800s the building's original red brick was aging poorly. This also coincided with a brief revival of gothic architecture. It was decided then that the exterior brick would be covered with a layer of cement and given the appearance of a castle.

The college is nicknamed 'Sidney Sainsbury's' by neighbouring Cambridge students, due to its proximity to the Sidney Street branch of Sainsbury's, frequented by Cambridge students from all colleges thanks to its central location.

Sidney student population is relatively small with roughly 350 undergraduate students and 190 graduates. Academically speaking, Sidney Sussex has, of late, tended towards a mid-table position in the unofficial Tompkins Table (placing 14th out of 29 in 2008). However, the college has traditionally excelled in certain subjects, notably Engineering, History and Law.

Sidney's sporting performance is unexceptional, although it currently has strong women's football and netball teams, and performs well at darts. The college is musically strong, its alumni including Al Doyle (1998) and Felix Martin (1999) of the electronic band, Hot Chip — lead guitar and percussion/keyboards respectively.[citation needed]

The college claims to have the cheapest bar in Cambridge, which is one of the few student-run bars in Cambridge University, a source of much pride for Sidney students. Clare, Darwin, Downing and Emmanuel Colleges also have student-run bars. Recent price rises have put this position into doubt as the college authorities were concerned with the level of cheap alcohol.

In the television show University Challenge, Sidney Sussex had a winning team in both 1971 and 1978–79. The 1978 team, comprising John Gilmore, John Adams, David Lidington, and Nick Graham, went on to win the "Champion of Champions" University Challenge Reunion competition in 2002.


Confraternitas Historica

The Confraternitas Historica, or Confraternitas Historica Dominae Franciscae Comitis Sussexiae, is the history society of Sidney Sussex College and is reputed to be the longest-running student history society in Cambridge University, with uninterrupted activity dating back to 1908.

The Society places a strong emphasis on student participation, and was conceived as a forum which would allow history Fellows and students of the College to socialise in an informal environment. This ethos can be observed in many of the founding articles of the society, where a strong emphasis is placed on regular dinners and historical talks and debates. Membership is open to all Sidney history students, both undergraduate and graduate. No joining-fee or subscription is required, and students are automatically enrolled on matriculation. Membership is entirely voluntary and life-long.

Notable Alumni

Former members of the college include the political and military leader Oliver Cromwell, the noted early historian Thomas Fuller and the seventeenth century poet and dramatist Thomas May. Other notable politicians to have attended the college include the civil servant Sir Basil Engholm, David Owen (now Lord Owen), the former Foreign Secretary and leader of the SDP, and current MPs, Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, and David Lidington, the shadow Minister of State.

The college's strong tradition in the sciences was certified by the Nobel-prize-winning physicists Cecil Frank Powell and C. T. R. Wilson, and more recently by John E. Walker (1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry) and the New Zealand-born Alan MacDiarmid (2002 Noble prize in Chemistry).

Sir Benjamin Lockspeiser, the first president of CERN was also an undergraduate at the college and psychiatrist W. Ross Ashby gained a substantial amount of material for his landmark writings Design For A Brain and An Introduction To Cybernetics whilst in residence.

More recently, Paddy Lowe, the director of the Formula One team McLaren was at Sidney Sussex, as was Carol Vorderman, the popular television host, known primarily for her role on the game show Countdown.

Alan Bennett, the noted contemporary playwright, critically acclaimed for plays such The History Boys and Beyond The Fringe, was an undergraduate at the college and John Madden, the Hollywood director, known for the Academy-award-winning Shakespeare In Love and television series such as Inspector Morse and Prime Suspect also studied at Sidney Sussex.

See also

External links


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