The Night Climbers of Cambridge

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The Night Climbers of Cambridge is a book written under the pseudonym "Whipplesnaith" about nocturnal climbing on the colleges and town buildings of Cambridge, England, in the 1930s.

"Whipplesnaith" is a pseudonym for Noël Howard Symington. Eric Waddams either took or featured in most of the photographs. The book was originally published in October 1937 by Chatto and Windus, revised in November 1937 and reprinted in 1952 and 1953. The second edition contains a reordered selection of photographs and a missing diagram explaining the escape from the roof of the Marks and Spencer.

The book was highly sought after, especially in Cambridge itself where it was regarded as one of few "guidebooks" to the routes onto the roofs of the town's ancient buildings. Famous climbs documented in the book are the King's College and St John's College chapels and the "Senate House leap".

A new authorised edition of The Night Climbers of Cambridge[1] (ISBN 978-1909349551) was published on 26 October 2007 by Oleander Press, Cambridge, to mark the 70th anniversary of the original edition.

An omnibus edition of The Roof Climber's Guide to Trinity[2] was published on 11 July 2011 by Oleander. Its introduction contains further details about Symington and his book.

Symington stood for Harborough in 1950 as an independent Mosleyite candidate, receiving 273 votes. In 1958 he published the book Return to Responsibility: A New Concept of the Case for Fascism in the Post-War World.

The Night Climbers of Cambridge is repeatedly referred to in The Bad Quarto, a mystery novel by Jill Paton Walsh. Her novel mentions a supposed additional chapter regarding night climbing in St Agatha's College, the fictional Cambridge setting for most of Walsh's story's about Imogen Quy, college nurse at St Agatha's. Night climbing plays a central role in The Bad Quarto, along with a production of the 1603 quarto version of Hamlet.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Night Climbers of Cambridge, Oleander Press, Cambridge, 2007
  2. ^ Roof Climber's Guide to Trinity, Omnibus edition, Oleander Press, Cambridge, 2011

External links[edit]