Monday, June 28, 2010

leave part four: Cambridge in glorious technicolor

So first ... the disclaimer ... yes there are a couple or 20 photos in this post but well i couldn't choose ... sorry ... but they're all worth it (well i think so anyways)!

So Cambridge is my home town ... i grew up here, i went to school here, i worked in various bars & restaurants here & yes i got incredible drunk in this town. It has many many incredible memories for me & a few that are best left behind but sometimes, occasionally i even miss the place. So a couple of hours left to my own devices exploring the town i know so well was all kinds of fun.

I'd woken up before Kevin, put my backpack on & run into town (not that far from our hotel) pretty early to do a little wandering with the camera knowing that it could be a while until i return. I started at the top of Regent Street, & whilst in general Cambridge remains the same there were small changes. The chinese above had closed & new shops lined the various streets.

Most people know Cambridge because of the University, the forth oldest university in the world, with earliest records suggesting it was formed in 1209 & arch nemesis to Oxford. The university itself is made up of 31 colleges, & it's these colleges that students, academics & fellows are attached to making it literally the centre of your whole world whilst here. There are so intricacies that make up Cambridge University, I could be here a while so i will move continue with my journey, the first college you are seeing is Downing, built in 1800.

From Regent Street i walked down on St Andres Street, & here you see the first of a couple of good old fashion telephone boxes. These are one of the most recognizable symbols of England & so you know i had to get this shot.

From St Andrews Street i turned left onto Downing Street. This whole street is littered with colleges & museums, lots of wonderful architecture & some incredible details ...

& a few slightly more modern buildings thrown in for good measure, when they ran out of space in the original structures!

Pembroke College is the 3rd oldest Cambridge college, founded on Christmas Eve in 1347 (is it weird that i'm a little surprised to discover they celebrated Christmas back then). It's one of the largest & home to the first Chapel Designed by Christopher Wren. I told you Cambridge was a pretty impressive place.

& here you have your first siting of the bicycles Cambridge is also known for. Growing up here you learn to be wary of them, particuarly when driving as they are under the opinion that traffic laws don't apply to them. But i digress, they are for sure a part of the city, everywhere you go you will see them, & with the pedestrian areas & narrow roads really it makes a lot of sense.

Many many moons ago (saves me mentioning my age) when i was just starting out along my photography path i photographed this very door (i have the negatives somewhere) with my very first real camera an Olympus OM-1N. I love that thing, i swear it could stop a bullet & came equipped with a 50mm 1.4 lens. & that's where i discovered my love of depth of field.

Ok so i say discovered ... what i really mean is i had little understanding of apertures & shutter speed & all i knew was that by setting the lens to the 1.4 thingy it gave me the most amount of light. But still i found part of my style even if it was by default!

So we continue down Downing Street, heading away from the shops ...

Past rows of student housing, owned by the various colleges & home to thousands of undergraduates & graduates over the years ...

Until i turned on Trumpington Street ...

Which led onto Kings Parade. Kings Parade is one of the most historic streets in Cambridge, & central to the colleges, not to mention home to Kings College possible the grandest & most famous of all the colleges.

& here we have another symbol of all things British ... the Pillar Box! These boxes can be seen (in various forms) though out the British Isles & various Commenwealth countries, since their introduction in 1852 (yes i providing you with a whole lot of useless information & dates that will no doubt turn up in a pub quiz one day).

The King's College of Our Lady & St. Nicholas in Cambridge (i never knew it had a full name), known as Kings was founded in 1441 by King Henry VI. Below is King's College Chapel, known for it's gothic architecture. The Chapel features the world's largest fan vault, stained glass windows, and the painting "The Adoration of the Magi" by Rubens. Every Christmas Eve the choir, made up of choral scholars & choristers sing the Nine Lessons & Carols which is broadcast on the BBC, for a me a reminder of childhood Christmases.

& the gatehouse at Kings built in the neo-Gothic style (the things i discover as i wrote this blog).

So moving away from Kings & the colleges i take you to Gardenia's (i'd actually made a brief stop in W.H.Smith & naturally walked away with a couple of books ...) so here i end up wandering along Rose Crescent. Many a drunken night was ended here, buying burgers & chip butty's (basically chips in pitta bread with a whole lot of vinegar, ketchup & mayo ... perfect drunk food).

& here is the river Cam ... ok so i had to walk down a couple more streets to get here but here i am. The River Cam, i wouldn't recommend going swimming there but in the middle of summer, you can happily spend an afternoon lazying in the sun with a group of friends & a couple too many beers. Cambridge in the summer time is a special place. & across the river is Magdalene College, the last remaining male only college, founded in 1428 & not becoming mixed until 1988. Random fact ... C.S. Lewis went to this college.

& this brings us to punting on the River Cam ... These famous boats weren't introduced to Cambridge until around 1902 but because incredible popular due to their size & the narrow width of the Cam as it winds through the centre of Cambridge. Popular with tourists, you can travel through the various colleges, along the backs & even do a pub crawl. It can make for a fun if not wet time.

& the bridge is the Silver Street Bridge, practically space age by Cambridge standards having been built in 1958.

So from here i headed back into the town centre ...
Down Bridge Street ...
Along Sydney Street ...
& finally ending back in the market square. These 4 telphone boxes have stood side by side for as long as i can remember so i feel like it's a perfect way of ending my time in Cambridge but not without a few random facts about them. The red telephone box, a public telephone kiosk was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, & is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingom, Malta, Gibraltar & Bermuda. The colour red was chosen to make them easy to spot.


  1. What a fun journey! I loved looking at all of your pictures and reading some of the interesting history. Great job documenting :)

  2. shew! i actually read all of it! very interesting, laura, and of course BEAUTIFUL pictures! by the way, i just thought of this, but do you happen to have a british accent?!

  3. Really cool post, I love your images as ever! Particularly the post box (did you know it was the first thing ever to be given a design brief...some more useless info for ya) I've never been to Cambridge but you just made me really want to go.