Tour of Cambridge
Ionian enjoyed a day out on the last day of the Lent term to learn a little more history of the beautiful city we are fortunate to live in. After a brief picnic on the “backs”, we met with our Blue Badge guides, Vittoria and Nancy who showed us around the city centre. Cambridge University is the number one university in the world and has produced 87 Nobel Prize winners. Twenty nine of those winners are from the Cavendish Laboratory including Crick and Watson who discovered DNA in 1953 and JJ Thompson who discovered the electon in 1897. St Benet’s Church nearby is the oldest building in the county. Cambridge University has seen many student pranksters over the years who have swung on a rope or jumped across the “Senate leap”, some to their deaths. One group of feisty and intelligent engineers from Caius College managed to get a vintage Austin Martin onto the roof of the Senate House:-
The million pound ‘Corpus Clock’ created by John Taylor (who made his fortune when he invented the kettle switch and patented that design!) has no hands and does not keep regular time; the pendulum slows dow and speeds up a various intervals but readjusts every five minutes. Sometimes the pendulum stops while the Chronophage (huge grasshopper on top of the clock) eats time. It is John Taylor’s expression of relativity paying homage to Einstein; “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour it seems like a minute but if he sits on a hot stove for a minute it seems like an hour. That is relativity.”
The highlight of our tour was a visit to the awe-inspiring King’s College Chapel, the foundation stone laid by Henry VI in 1441 and completed by Henry VIII in 1515. Even Richard III gave generously during his reign and insisted that the chapel should be completed. Four master masons designed and laboured over the stunning fan-shaped vaulted ceiling and the many Tudor emblems including the large stone roses of unified York and Lancaster promoting Henry VIII reign. The beautiful stained glass windows were removed for protection during WWII.
Trinity library was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and students were able to see the original manuscripts of Sir Isaac Newton’s note books – including his walking stick and pocket watch, Shakespeare’s first folio, A A Milne’s ‘Winnie The Pooh’, and the first eye witness account of the atom bomb test. The life size statue of Lord Byron was intended for Westminster Abbey but he was not allowed to be buried there – ask year 9 about that…
Oh yes, and Emma met a gorilla!