Continuing north along King’s Parade in Cambridge takes you onto a short road called Senate House Hill. Here, you are surrounded by some of the grandest of buildings in Cambridge. They include The Old Schools, The Senate House, Great St. Mary’s the University Church and Gonville and Caius College.
A break from the beige and yellow ochre tones of the King’s College and King’s College Chapel is a collection of white buildings; The Old Schools, Bibliotheca (Library) and Senate House. And, if you work clockwise in that direction on Senate House Hill, you get Gonville and Caius College (see photo below) and Great St. Mary’s University Church on your front and right.
While there are many buildings in the area that you could visit, King’s College, St Mary’s Church, it is inspiring to simply sit at one of the nearby cafes or just stand in awe of the architecture of the surrounding area.
The Old Schools
Currently the Old Schools house the University of Cambridge administration offices. The Grade 1 listed building was originally part of King’s college who sold this part to the University in 1829. Part of the original building dates from 1400s although much has since changed.
The Senate House
While previously used for Senate meetings, The Senate House is now mainly used for graduation ceremonies in which graduands process from their respective colleges to receive their degree. The building is not opened to the public so the interior is not accessible unless you are attending a graduation ceremony.
It is built in Portland stone and is located between King’s College and Gonville and Caius College.
Gonville and Caius College – The Old Courts
The Old Courts of Gonville and Caius College are five courtyards which house the colleges meeting rooms, dining facilities and student accomodation. It is also here that you will find the three gates signifying the three stages of academic life according to founder, Caius (pronounced ‘Keys’) – Gate of Humility, Gate of Virtue and the most impressive Gate of Honour along Senate House Passage.
Gonville and Caius College Library
Hidden in the corner between The Old Schools and Senate House is Gonville and Caius College Library. It was previously part of the Cambridge University Library, but was acquired by Gonville and Caius to house it’s expanding collection of books.
Church of St. Mary the Great, the University Church
The Church of St Mary the Great, stands in a prominent location at the north end of King’s Parade directly opposite the Senate house. It is known as Great St Mary’s to distinguish it from Little St Mary’s church on Trumpington Street.
The church of Great St Mary’s as we see it today was constructed between 1478 and 1519. The tower was completed in 1608. It is a Grade 1 listed building.
Two brass relief sculptures donated by the Rotary Foundation sit to the left and right of the main entrance to the church. Engraved with Braille one offers a plan layout of the historic centre of Cambridge, while the other is a 3-dimensional relief.