Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
|Colleges of the University of Cambridge
Sidney Sussex College
|Full name||The College of the Lady Frances Sidney Sussex|
|Founder||Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex|
|Master||Professor Richard Penty FREng|
|Sister college||St John's College, Oxford|
|Location||Sidney Street (map)|
|Dieu me Garde de Calomnie
(French, "God preserve me from calumny")
|Student Union website|
|Boat Club website|
The college was founded in 1596 under the terms of the will of Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex (1531–1589) and named after its foundress. It was from its inception an avowedly Protestant foundation; "some good and godlie moniment for the mainteynance of good learninge". In her will, Lady Sussex left the sum of £5,000 together with some plate to found a new college at Cambridge University "to be called the Lady Frances Sidney Sussex College". Her executors Sir John Harington and Henry Grey, 6th Earl of Kent, supervised by Archbishop John Whitgift, founded the college seven years after her death.
Oliver Cromwell was among the first students (although he never graduated after his father became ill), and his head is now buried beneath the College's Ante-Chapel. As of 2011, the college had an endowment of £32m.
While the College's geographic size has changed little since 1596, an additional range was added to the original E-shaped buildings in the early 17th century and the appearance of the whole college was changed significantly in the 1820s and 1830s, under the leadership of the Master at the time, William Chafy. By the early 19th century, the buildings' original red brick was unfashionable and the hall range was suffering serious structural problems. The opening up of coal mines on estates left to the College in the 18th century provided extra funds which were to be devoted to providing a new mathematical library and accommodation for Mathematical Exhibitioners. As a result, the exterior brick was covered with a layer of cement, the existing buildings were heightened slightly, and the architectural effect was also heightened, under the supervision of Sir Jeffry Wyatville.
In the late nineteenth century, the College's finances received a further boost from the development of the resort of Cleethorpes on College land on the Lincolnshire coast that was purchased in 1616, following a bequest for the benefit of scholars and fellows by Peter Blundell, a merchant from Tiverton, Devon. A new wing added in 1891, to the designs of John Loughborough Pearson, is stylistically richer than the original buildings, and has stone staircases whereas the stairs in the older buildings were of timber. In the early twentieth century, a High Church group among the Fellows were instrumental in the rebuilding and enlargement of the chapel, which was provided with a richly carved interior in late seventeenth-century style, designed by T. H. Lyon, and somewhat at odds with the College's original Puritan ethos.
Sidney Sussex is recognised as one of the smaller, more classical Cambridge colleges. Its current student body consists of roughly 350 undergraduate students and 190 graduates.
Academically, 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.
The college ranks fourth highest amongst Cambridge colleges in Nobel Prizes won by alumni.
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.
It is the current champions of Cuppers cycling, and also has an excellent mixed lacrosse team. The College Music Society is among the strongest in Cambridge, providing a varied calendar of concerts most recently featuring 2010 BBC Young Musician of the Year Lara Melda. The Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge is also one of the finest in Cambridge. They were nominated for a 2013 Gramophone Award in recognition of their disc of the music of Thomas Weelkes.
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, having existed since 1910. In fact, no meetings were held from 1914 to 1919 but since, during the First World War, "the University itself almost ceased to function ... the hiatus of 1914-19 is not counted as a break in the continuity of the society". The Latin name of the society reflects the tastes of Jack Reynolds, the High Church Fellow who presided over its creation, who also "endowed the Society with an elaborate Latin initiation ceremony".
Former members of the college include the political and military leader Oliver Cromwell, the noted early historian Thomas Fuller, Thomas Rymer (responsible for sixteen volumes of Foedera, published from 1704 to 1713; a collection of "all the leagues, treaties, alliances, capitulations, and confederacies, which have at any time been made between the Crown of England and any other kingdoms, princes and states," an immense labor of research and transcription on which he spent the last twenty years of his life); the 17th century poet and dramatist Thomas May and Robert Machray (1831–1904) (born in Scotland and appointed Dean of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge in 1859 leaving in 1865 on his consecration as second Bishop of Rupert's Land where he was heavily involved in the turbulent politics of the period).
Other notable politicians to have attended the college include Sir Basil Engholm, the civil servant, and Lord Owen, the former Foreign Secretary and leader of the Social Democratic Party. Former students also include current MPs, Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, and David Lidington, Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Brian Lenihan, the Minister of Finance in the Republic of Ireland is another notable alumnus.
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 Nobel 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. Robert McCance (1898 – 3 March 1993), Professor of Experimental Medicine, played a leading part in wartime rationing and 1940s government nutrition efforts. Eleven members of the College worked at Bletchley Park during World War Two. They were Gordon Welchman, a Sidney Research Fellow in Mathematics who recruited many of them, John Herivel, Asa Briggs, Paul Coales, Malcolm Chamberlain, Edward Dudley Smith, John Manisty, Jim Passant, David Rees, Howard Smith (later head of MI5) and Leslie Yoxall (famous for his work in Hut 8 on breaking the German naval officers’ code).
Another famous alumnus was the theologian and moral philosopher William Wollaston who wrote 'Religion of Nature Delineated' (1724).
Notable legal alumni include Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (judge on the International Court of Justice 2009 -).
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. Comedian Alex Horne is another alumnus.
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. As did future professor and writer John Fraser.
In 2010, American composer Eric Whitacre was named Visiting Fellow and Composer-in-Residence.
Author Dorothy L. Sayers suggested that, given details in two of the stories, the fictional character Sherlock Holmes must have been at Cambridge rather than Oxford and that "of all the Cambridge colleges, Sidney Sussex (College) perhaps offered the greatest number of advantages to a man in Holmes's position and, in default of more exact information, we may tentatively place him there".
|Sir Thomas Adams, 1st Baronet||1586||1687||Lord Mayor of London|
|Thomas May||c. 1595||1650||Renaissance dramatist|
|Oliver Cromwell||1599||1658||Lord Protector|
|C.T.R. Wilson||1869||1959||Nobel Laureate in Physics|
|Cecil Frank Powell||1903||1969||Nobel Laureate in Physics|
|William Ross Ashby||1903||1972||Cybernetics pioneer|
|Ronald N. Bracewell||1921||2007||Physicist|
|Norman Crowther Hunt||1920||1987||Minister of State under Harold Wilson|
|Alan MacDiarmid||1927||2007||Nobel Laureate in Chemistry|
|David Owen||1938||Foreign Secretary|
|John E. Walker||1941||Nobel Laureate in Chemistry|
|Tony Badger||1947||Paul Mellon Professor of American History at Cambridge, Master of Clare College, Cambridge|
|James Drummond Young, Lord Drummond Young||1950||Judge, Supreme Courts of Scotland|
|Chris Grayling||1962||Justice Secretary|
|Nick Laird||1975||Poet, husband of Zadie Smith|
|Norman Crowther Hunt||1920||1987||Minister of State under Harold Wilson|
|William Du Gard||1602||1662||Printer|
|Thomas Fuller||1608||1661||Author, churchman, historian|
|John Herivel||1918||2011||Bletchley Park cryptanalyst, science historian|
|Ronald Holmes||1913||1981||Colonial government official|
|Brian Lenihan, Jnr||1959||2011||Irish Minister for Finance|
|Ben Lockspeiser||1891||1990||President of CERN|
|David Lidington||1956||Minister of State|
|John Ashworth Nelder||1924||2010||Statistician|
|Gordon Newton||1907||1998||Editor, Financial Times|
|Francis Sawyer Parris||1707||1760||Editor, King James Bible|
|Steven Pimlott||1953||2007||Opera and theatre director|
|Michael Pitman||1933||2000||Chief Scientist of Australia|
|Charles Thurstan Shaw||1914||2013||Archaeologist|
|Carol Vorderman||1960||Media personality|
|Conrad Hal Waddington||1905||1975||Biologist|
|John Wheelwright||1592||1679||New World Puritan clergyman|
- Category:Alumni of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
- Category:Fellows of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
- List of Masters of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
- Sidney Sussex Boat Club
- List of non-ecclesiastical works by J. L. Pearson
- Sidney Sussex College website; history
- Hearn, Karen, ed. Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630, p. 95
- Sidney Sussex College website; history
- "Archived – Recommended Cambridge College Accounts". Sidney Sussex College. pp 24.
- Peter Salt, 'Wyatville's remodelling and refurbishment of Sidney Sussex College, 1820-1837', Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 81 (1992), 115-55
- R.W. Ambler and Alan Dowling, 'The growth of Cleethorpes and the prosperity of Sidney, 1616-1968', in Sidney Sussex College Cambridge: historical essays in commemoration of the quatercentenary, ed. D.E.D. Beales and H.B. Nisbet (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1996), pp.183-8
- Gerald Maclean Edwards. Sidney Sussex college. 1899. Page 51
- Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Cambridgeshire (2nd edn., Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970), p.160
- C.S.B. Pyke, 'The new chapel of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge', in Sidney Sussex College; Historical essays, pp.235-47; Pevsner, Buildings of England, Cambridgeshire, p.160
- "Sidney Sussex College Cambridge: Prospectus". Sidney Sussex College Cambridge. 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- I Fagiolini, Podger, Skinner and Sidney Sussex shortlisted for 2013 Gramophone Awards 29-7-2013
- Cambridge students create 200m canal so they can punt at their May Ball, Daily Mail, 17 June 2010
- Cambridge college gets a new water feature, Independent, 18 June 2010
- Derek Beales, '100 not out: the centenary of the Confrat', Sidney Sussex College Annual (2010), pp.22-4
- Paul Smith (15 January 2010). "Chip off the old block". Varsity. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Dorothy L. Sayers, "Holmes's College Career", for the Baker Street Studies, edited by H.W. Bell, 1934
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