Cavendish College, Cambridge

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Cavendish College
Public hostel
University of Cambridge
The Cavendish Building, Cambridge (Homerton College) 2012.jpg
Cavendish College buildings, now part of Homerton College
FounderJoseph Lloyd Brereton

Cavendish College, Cambridge was a public hostel of the University of Cambridge, active from 1873–92.[1]


It was founded by the British clergyman, educational reformer and writer Joseph Lloyd Brereton with the intention of connecting the county school system with the universities. Brereton described his scheme in his book County Education.[2] After an unsuccessful attempt at Oxford, he founded it at Cambridge in 1873.

Norwich House, first home of the college

The college opened in 1873 at Norwich House, Panton Street, before moving in 1877 to its new site on Hills Road, purchased from Trinity College.[1]

Brereton had suggested the name of Arnold College, after Thomas Arnold who had been his headmaster at Rugby School, but in the end the college was named after William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire, who was the chancellor of the university and the biggest funder of the new college.[1]

Cavendish was not recognised as a full college by the university; along with its contemporary Selwyn College, it was recognised as a public hostel of the university, students in residence being considered non-collegiate students but eligible for university degrees.[1] The undergraduates were younger than was customary, and the cost of board and tuition, which was covered by an inclusive charge of eighty guineas a year,[3] was much lower than in the established colleges.

The venture received educational and ecclesiastical support. However, the proprietary principle was not welcomed by some, and the public schools withheld their recognition. Other factors were the distance of the college from the centre of Cambridge, (more than 1 mile), and inferior accommodation. The scheme proved financially unsuccessful, and the college was dissolved in 1892.

The buildings were sold in 1895 and were used as a training college, Homerton College, for women teachers,[4] which in 2010 finally became a full college of Cambridge University.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cavendish College". Capturing Cambridge.
  2. ^ County Education: a Contribution of Experiments, Estimates and Suggestions Brereton, J.L (London, Bickers & Son, 1874)
  3. ^ Peter Searby, ‘Brereton, Joseph Lloyd (1822–1901)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 12 Oct 2017
  4. ^ Simms, T.H. (1979). Homerton College 1695–1978 Published by the Trustees of Homerton College
  5. ^ Raby, P. & Warner, P. (2010). Homerton: The Evolution of a Cambridge College (Published and Distributed by the Principal and Fellows of Homerton College)

Coordinates: 52°11′10″N 0°08′11″E / 52.1862°N 0.1365°E / 52.1862; 0.1365