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Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge

Colleges of the University of Cambridge

Lucy Cavendish College

Lucy Cavendish College Library
Named after Lucy Cavendish
Established 1965
Admission Women aged 21 or over
President Jackie Ashley
Undergraduates 140
Graduates 210
Location Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge (Map)
Lucy Cavendish College heraldic shield
College website
Student Union website
Boat Club website
Lucy Cavendish College Library

Lucy Cavendish College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge which admits only postgraduates and undergraduates aged 21 or over. It only accepts female students and fellows, making the college one of the only three women-only university colleges in England.[1][2]

The college is named in honour of Lucy Cavendish (1841–1925), who campaigned for the reform of women's education.[3]


  • History 1
  • Buildings and grounds 2
  • Student body 3
  • List of presidents 4
  • Notable alumnae 5
    • Honorary Fellows 5.1
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The college was founded in 1965 by female academics of the University of Cambridge who believed that the university offered too few and too restricted opportunities for women as either students or academics. Its origins are traceable to the Society of Women Members of the Regent House who are not Fellows of Colleges (informally known as the Dining Group) which in the 1950s sought to provide the benefits of collegiality to its members who, being female, were not college fellows.[4] At the time there were only two women's colleges in Cambridge, Girton and Newnham, insufficient for the large and growing numbers of female academic staff in the university.[5]

The college was named in honour of Lucy Caroline Cavendish, a pioneer of women's education and the great aunt of one of its founders, Margaret Braithwaite.[3] First formally recognised as the Lucy Cavendish Collegiate Society, it moved to its current site in 1970, received consent to be called Lucy Cavendish College in 1986, and gained the status of a full college of the university by Royal Charter in 1997.[6]

The first president of the college, from 1965 to 1970, was Anna McClean Bidder, one of the founding members of the Dining Group and a zoologist specializing in cephalopod digestion;[5] this accounts for the presence of the nautilus shell in the college coat of arms.[7] She was succeeded by Kate Bertram until 1979, Phyllis Hetzel (Lady Bowden),[8] Dame Anne Warburton (the first female British ambassador in 1976), Baroness Perry of Southwark, and Dame Veronica Sutherland.

The current and 7th President of Lucy Cavendish is Janet Todd OBE, who took up the post in 2008.[9] In October 2015, the journalist and broadcaster Jackie Ashley will become president in succession to Todd.[10]

Buildings and grounds

For the first few years of the college's existence it occupied rooms first in Silver Street and then in Northampton Street. In 1970 it moved to its current site on the corner of Madingley Road and Lady Margaret Road, near Westminster College and St John's College, which had provided some of the land.[11]

In 1991 the college bought Balliol Croft, a neighbouring house to its grounds and former home of the economist Alfred Marshall and his wife Mary Paley Marshall, with whom he wrote his first economics textbook. The building was renamed Marshall House in his honour and used for student accommodation until 2001 when it was converted back to its original layout and used as the President's Lodge.[12] Meanwhile the majority of the college's buildings, including Warburton Hall and the library, were completed in the 1990s.[11]

Student body

Lucy Cavendish has over 350 students, approximately 40% of whom are undergraduates and 60% graduates.[13] The majority of its undergraduates have applied directly, but in comparison to the university-wide averages the college makes proportionately more offers to the university's 'pool' applicants.[14] The college web site states that "Students from every corner of the UK mix with students from around the world. Students with ‘Access’ qualifications interact with students who have studied for A-levels and the International Baccalaureate. Former bankers, singers, journalists and police officers mix with recent graduates of universities from around the world. Women come at any age to study any subject offered by the University."[15]

The overall examination results of the college's comparatively few undergraduates tend to be lower than at most other Cambridge colleges, with Lucy Cavendish consistently featuring towards the bottom of the Tompkins table together with the other colleges that only admit mature students.[16][17][18][19]

List of presidents

Notable alumnae

Honorary Fellows

This stone was laid by HM Queen Margrethe of Denmark in Dec. 1993


  1. ^ "Visiting Academics - Lucy Cavendish". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Kodate Kodate & Kodate 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Renfrew, Jane M. "Who was Lucy Cavendish?". Rooms of Our Own - Lucy Cavendish College. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Papers of the Dining Group 1951-1966". London Metropolitan University. 
  5. ^ a b Warburton, Anne (9 October 2001). "Anna Bidder obituary". London: The Independent. 
  6. ^ "Statutes for Lucy Cavendish College in the University of Cambridge" (PDF). Lucy Cavendish College. 1997. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Lucy Cavendish College Shield of Arms". Lucy Cavendish College. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Women of Cambridge". University of Cambridge. 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  9. ^ "Our President - Lucy Cavendish". Lucy Cavendish College. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Sally Weale "Journalist Jackie Ashley takes over as president of Lucy Cavendish College", The Guardian, 21 November 2014
  11. ^ a b "Lucy Cavendish College Site and Buildings" (PDF). Lucy Cavendish College. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Cambridge 2000 - Lucy Cavendish College: Madingley Road: Marshall House (Balliol Croft)". Cambridge 2000. 
  13. ^ "Supporting Students - Lucy Cavendish". Lucy Cavendish College. 
  14. ^ "Application statistics". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Lucy Cavendish College Information". Lucy Cavendish College. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Garner, Richard (14 July 2009). "Trinity reclaims place as top Cambridge college". The Independent (London). Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "Cambridge Results 2011 - Tompkins Table". The Independent. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "A trinity for Trinity College as it again tops university league table for undergraduate degree results". The Independent. 
  19. ^ "Tompkins Table 2013: The Results". The Tab Cambridge. 

External links

  • Official college website
  • History of Lucy Cavendish College

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