Peterhouse’s Deer Park has not had any deer in it since about 1935, but the college’s largest garden retains the name.
It was originally known as ‘The Grove’ but became the ‘Deer Park’ sometime after the first deer were given to the college in 1857. Although there were once as many a twelve deer they never thrived in Britain’s smallest deer park, and there was rarely more than a pair there at any one time.
For some reason the deer went into steady decline in the 1920s, possibly connected with the introduction of sheep at this time. By 1935 it was clear that the park was not suitable for a viable deer herd and it became the Deer Park in name only.
For more detail on the history of the deer see:
Pattenden,P. 2004. The Buck Stops Here. Peterhouse Annual Record 2003/4: 26-50