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Cambridge Fast Facts
- State: England
- Famous for/as: Heritage,church,parks,gardens,theater
- Population: 752,900
- Area: 44.65 sq mi
- Language: English
- Best Season:
- Weather: Average daily January temperature: 7°C / 45°F Average daily July temperature: 22°C / 72°F
- Local Transport:
- STDCode: 01223
Peas Hill, Cambridge CB2 3AD
Tel: 0871 226 8006
International: +44 1223 464732
Cambridge, United Kingdom Overview
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia, on the River Cam, about 50 miles (80 km) north of London. There is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area in bronze age and Roman times, and under Viking rule Cambridge became an important trading centre. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although city status was not conferred until 1951.
Cambridge is most widely known as the home of the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209 and consistently ranked one of the top five universities in the world. The university includes the renowned Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two buildings, along with the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital in the far south of the city and St John's College Chapel tower.
Today, Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the city. Its economic strengths lie in industries such as software and bioscience, many start-up companies having been spun out of the university. Over 40% of the workforce have a higher education qualification, more than twice the national average.
The green space of Parker's Piece hosted the first ever game of association football, and the Strawberry Fair music and arts festival is held on Midsummer Common. Cambridge is adjacent to the M11 and A14 roads, and is around 49 minutes from London Kings Cross by non-stop train, with other rail links to Norwich, Birmingham and elsewhere.
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Must See Places in Cambridge, United Kingdom
Cambridge, United Kingdom History
Settlements have existed around the Cambridge area since before the Roman Empire. The earliest clear evidence of occupation is the remains of a 3,500-year-old farmstead discovered at the site of Fitzwilliam College. There is further archaeological evidence through the Iron Age, a Belgic tribe having settled on Castle Hill in the 1st century BC. Evidence of widespread Roman settlement has been discovered in Cambridge including numerous farmsteads and a village in the Cambridge district of Newnham.
After the Romans had left Saxons took over the land on and around Castle Hill and renamed it Grantabrycge – 'Bridge over the river Granta'. Over time the name evolved to become Cambridge, while the river Granta became known as the river Cam to match the name of the city. Their grave goods have been found in the area. During Anglo-Saxon times Cambridge benefited from good trade links across the hard-to-travel fenlands. By the 7th century the town was less significant, described by Bede as a "little ruined city" containing the burial site of Etheldreda. Cambridge is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as "Grantebrycge", a period when settlements existed on both sides of the river and Cambridge was on the border of East Anglian and Middle Anglian kingdoms.
The arrival of the Vikings in Cambridge was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 875. Viking rule, the Danelaw, had been imposed by 878 The Vikings' vigorous trading habits caused Cambridge to grow rapidly. During this period the centre of the town shifted from Castle Hill on the left bank of the river to the area now known as the Quayside on the right bank. After the Viking period the Saxons enjoyed a return to power, building churches such as St Bene't's Church, wharves, merchant houses and a mint, which produced coins with the town's name abbreviated to "Grant".
In 1068, two years after his conquest of England, William of Normandy built a castle on Castle Hill. Like the rest of the newly conquered kingdom, Cambridge fell under the control of the King and his deputies. The distinctive Round Church dates from this period.
The first town charter was granted by Henry I to Cambridge between 1120 and 1131. It gave Cambridge monopoly of waterborne traffic and hithe tolls as well as recognising the Borough court. In 1209, Cambridge University was founded by students escaping from hostile townspeople in Oxford. The oldest college that still exists, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284.
In 1349 Cambridge was affected by the Black Death. Few records survive but 16 of 40 scholars at Kings Hall died. The town north of river was severely affected being almost wiped out. Following further depopulation after a second national epidemic in 1361, a letter from the Bishop of Ely suggested that two parishes in Cambridge be merged as there weren't enough people to fill even one church. With over a third of English clergy dying in the Black Death, four new colleges were established at the University over the following years to train new clergymen, namely Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall, Corpus Christi and Clare Hall.
In 1382 a revised town charter effects a "diminution of the liberties that the community had enjoyed", due to Cambridge's participation in the Peasants' Revolt. The charter transfers supervision of baking & brewing, weights & measures, and forestalling & regrating, from the town to the University.
One of the most well-known buildings in Cambridge, King's College Chapel, was begun in 1446 by King Henry VI. The project was completed in 1515 during the reign of King Henry VIII.