Robinson College, Cambridge

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Robinson College
University of Cambridge
Robinson College Fascade.JPG
Facade of Robinson College
Robinson College Crest.svg
Arms of Robinson College
LocationGrange Road (map)
Full nameRobinson College in the University of Cambridge
Named afterDavid Robinson
Sister collegeSt Catherine's College, Oxford
WardenDavid Yates
Endowment£19.8m (as of 30 June 2017)[2]
Robinson College, Cambridge is located in Cambridge
Robinson College, Cambridge
Location in Cambridge
The stained-glass windows on Robinson College Chapel, designed by John Piper.

Robinson College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. Founded in 1977, Robinson is one of the newest Oxbridge colleges and is unique in having been intended, from its inception, for both undergraduate and graduate students of both sexes.

Despite this, it retains many of the same traditions and institutions of other Cambridge colleges, including formal hall, Latin grace, a chapel and porters' lodge. It was founded through a significant donation from the 20th century British businessman and philanthropist, Sir David Robinson. The college was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1981 with both undergraduate and graduate students in attendance.


The college was founded after the British philanthropist Sir David Robinson offered the university £17 million to establish a new college in Cambridge; this is one of the largest donations ever accepted by the university. Robinson later gave his college another £1 million on the occasion of its official opening. The first graduate students and fellows joined the college in 1977. Undergraduates (20 of them) were first admitted in 1979, but significant numbers only began arriving the following year. The college was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II in May 1981.

Despite maintaining many Cambridge traditions, such as Formal Hall, the college has avoided others: for example, it is one of the few colleges that allows its students to walk on the grass in the college gardens. Robinson is slightly less formal and traditional than other Cambridge colleges like St. John's College, Emmanuel College, Selwyn College, and Trinity College.

The arms of the college are described as follows: 'Azure in base two Bars wavy Argent over all a Pegasus rampant Or gorged with a Crown rayonny Gules.'[3]

College grace[edit]

The Latin grace is read before the start of formal hall.[4]

Latin: Benedic, domine, nobis et donis tuis, per Jesum Christum dominum nostrum. Amen.
Lord, bless us and your gifts, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Buildings and grounds[edit]

Designed by the Scottish architectural firm Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, Robinson's main buildings are distinctive for the use of red bricks in their construction. In November 2008 the college was included in the "50 most inspiring buildings in Britain" by The Daily Telegraph.[5] Of particular note are the library and chapel, the latter with stained-glass windows designed by John Piper.

The college is located a ten-minute walk west of the city centre, behind the University Library, near the science buildings in West Cambridge and the arts faculties on the university's Sidgwick Site. It stands on a 12.5-acre (5.1 ha) wooded site noted for its historical and horticultural interest.[6]

Within its grounds are Thorneycreek House and Cottage, the Crausaz Wordsworth Building, the Maria Björnson outdoor theatre and gardens through which flows Bin Brook, which once supplied water to the Hospital of St John (now St John's College). Robinson owns a number of houses on Adams Road and Sylvester Road adjoining the main college site, which it uses for student accommodation.

The main entrance to the college is via a drawbridge-like ramp which is accessible to wheelchair users, and there are also some special facilities for those with physical or visual disabilities.

The Needham Research Institute is also located within the college grounds.


As one of Cambridge's most important conference centres, Robinson hosts a number of conferences during the summer vacation when the undergraduate students are absent.

Student life[edit]

Students of the college are represented by the Robinson College Students' Association, or RCSA,[7] headed by a President, with members of the college elected into positions on the RCSA committee every year. Politically, Robinson is generally seen as liberal. Robinson has supplied a large number of Green Officers to the Cambridge University Students' Union in recent years and in 2008 was judged the most environmentally friendly college in Cambridge.[8]

Like other colleges, Robinson provides its students with recreational facilities such as a JCR, MCR, TV room, art room, café and bar. As a result of its other role as a conference centre, the college is equipped with two auditoria that are available for student use during term; the smaller one being frequently used by the college's film society and the larger by the "Brickhouse Theatre Company" (dramatic society).[9] There is also a purpose-built party room ("The Bassment"), dedicated to hosting weekly college "bops" and other entertainment. Musical talents are catered for by a music room, CD library and chapel.

There are also several sports teams, covering most major sports: everything from water polo and cricket to rowing and rugby union. Robinson have become very successful in hockey winning the Cambridge colleges league and colleges varsity match against Oriel College, Oxford, in 2009/10, in addition to becoming mixed cuppers champions by beating Churchill College, Cambridge.

Notable people[edit]



In addition, the writer Valerie Grosvenor Myer, although not formally a Fellow, supervised English students at Robinson in the 1980s.

List of Wardens[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ University of Cambridge (6 March 2019). "Notice by the Editor". Cambridge University Reporter. 149 (Special No 5): 1. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017" (PDF). Robinson College, Cambridge. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. ^ As listed on Robinson College cards found in the Porters' Lodge.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Woodman, Ellis (20 November 2008). "The 50 most inspiring buildings in Britain". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  6. ^ [2] Archived 5 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "About Us | Robinson College Students' Association". 30 October 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  8. ^ [3] Archived 27 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Brickhouse Theatre Company – The theatre company of Robinson College, Cambridge". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°12′17″N 0°06′17″E / 52.2048°N 0.1047°E / 52.2048; 0.1047 (Robinson College)