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Robinson College, Cambridge

Colleges of the University of Cambridge

Robinson College

Fascade of Robinson College
Full name The Warden and Fellows of Robinson College in the University of Cambridge
Named after Sir David Robinson
Established 1977
Warden David Yates
Undergraduates 397
Graduates 162
Sister college St Catherine's College, Oxford
Location Grange Road[1]
Robinson College heraldic shield
College website
Students' Association website
MCR website
Boat Club website
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 the newest of the Cambridge colleges and is unique in being the only one to have been intended, from its inception, for both undergraduate and graduate students of either sex.


  • History 1
    • College grace 1.1
  • Buildings and grounds 2
    • Conferences 2.1
  • Student life 3
  • Notable alumni 4
  • Notable fellows 5
    • List of Wardens 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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 some 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 in general less formal and traditional than most of the older colleges in the university.

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.'[2]

College grace

The Latin grace is read before the start of formal hall.[3]

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

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 named in the "50 most inspiring buildings in Britain" by The Daily Telegraph.[4] 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 (51,000 m2) wooded site noted for its historical and horticultural interest.[5]

Within its grounds are Thorneycreek House and Cottage, 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. A number of graduate students live in college-owned accommodation elsewhere in Cambridge, consisting of a terrace of six houses ("Romsey Terrace") off the city's Mill Road as well as a single house on Mill Road itself (currently let out to Anglia Ruskin University students).

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. Robinson also has a purpose-built conference centre, twenty miles west of Cambridge at Wyboston on the border with Bedfordshire, which is used both for occasional and regular events such as the annual conference of the Association of Business Psychologists.

Student life

Students of the college are represented by the Robinson College Students' Association, or RCSA,[6] 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.[7]

Like other colleges, Robinson provides its students with recreational facilities such as a JCR, MCR, TV room, art room, cafe 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 larger one in particular being frequently used by the college's film society and "Brickhouse Theatre Company" (dramatic society).[8] There is also a purpose-built party room ("The Bassment"), dedicated to hosting 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 alumni

See also Category:Alumni of Robinson College, Cambridge

Notable fellows

See also Category:Fellows of Robinson College, Cambridge

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

List of Wardens

See also

  • List of organ scholars


  1. ^
  2. ^ As listed on Robinson College cards found in the Porters' Lodge.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^ [2] Archived June 5, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^
  7. ^ [3] Archived May 27, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^

External links

  • Robinson College official website
  • Robinson College Students' Association
  • Robinson College MCR (Graduate Society)

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