When we’re not too busy cleaning in Cambridge we enjoy reading about the city’s history. Here are some interesting facts you might not have heard about before.
1. Pink Floyd, the incredibly influential progressive rock band has its roots in the city of Cambridge. Before hitting the big time under the Pink Floyd moniker, members of the band including Syd Barrett performed in their teenage years as Geoff Mott and the Mottoes. The band played a number of gigs, consisting of predominantly Buddy Holly and Eddy Cochran hits, all over Cambridgeshire including school and village halls. Roger Waters, who along with Barrett cofounded Pink Floyd, also went to Cambridgeshire High School for Boys with him.
2. Lord Byron was an alumni at the University of Cambridge. He attended Trinity College and while there in October 1805 he was so infuriated to learn that rules prevented him from keeping a dog, he somehow procured a tame bear, as there was no rule against it! The college had no legal grounds to complain and so the bear stayed through til graduation!
3. Oliver Cromwell’s remains are reputed to have been held back by the family after his hanging (amid rumours of a body switch) and buried in an unmarked grave close to the doors of the Sidney Sussex College Chapel in the University of Cambridge in 1960.
4. Cambridge, back in Saxon times was known as ‘Grantabrycge’ (the bridge over the river Granta). The name of the town evolved into ‘Cambridge’ and subsequently the name of the river to the ‘Cam’, so it is likely that in a unique twist of fate the river is now named after the city and not as it was originally, vice versa.
5. Big Ben owes its tune to Great St. Mary’s Church. The Revd Dr Joseph Jowett penned the signature tune in 1793 and it was copied in the capital by those in charge of Big Ben.
6. Despite world famous rivalry with Oxford, The University of Cambridge, which was founded in 1209, owes an undisputed, if bitterly swallowed gratitude to its rivals. It was formed by a group of Oxford scholars, who as rumour has it were in trouble with the law in Oxford and did a runner to Cambridge!
7. The origins of football, the beautiful game, do rather unbelievably, lie in Cambridge. The earliest records of football in Cambridge, date back to 1579 in the University. Rules of the game as we know it (more or less) did not come in until the 19th century and the first match under these rules was hosted in Cambridge in 1863 on Parker’s Piece.