The founders of some of the oldest colleges were women yet Cambridge resisted awarding degrees to women. The university’s ancient police force was used to arrest and imprison women for fraternising with male undergraduates. There were great women scientists here, but until recently very few women got Nobel prizes.
This is the shocking – and sometimes funny – story of how, despite all obstacles, women have made their mark on Cambridge university and city, from the medieval founders through college laundresses, bedders and brewers to today’s senior academics and influential alumnae.
Denied an education at the university for the first 650 years of its existence, women – backed by their male supporters – faced extraordinary challenges to gain access and equality. And with their fighting spirit, alumnae of the first womens’ colleges made an indelible mark on the city and country, through pioneering civic, social and political activism.
But the promising start for women turned into resistance and violent protest, making the university the last in Britain to award women full degrees. So, who did what to ensure that today’s Cambridge women take it for granted that they have equal opportunities? And why did it take so long?
This tour will change the way you see Cambridge, by shining a light on some remarkable characters, key events and significant places in a gripping and illuminating tale that is not yet over.
Public tours run every Thursday at 6pm and every Sunday at 2.30pm, and private tours are available on request – just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 07835 786268.
- Assistance dogs welcome
- Wheel chair accessible