Welcome to Peterhouse
Peterhouse is the oldest of the constituent colleges in the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, on its current site close to the centre of the City.
As a charitable institution, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, religion, learning and research, Peterhouse has made its own distinctive contribution to society for over 700 years.
It is one of the smaller Colleges, housing an intellectual community of some 45 Fellows, 260 undergraduates and 110 graduate students.
Peterhouse is renowned for its stimulating and friendly atmosphere, the diversity of its students and the range of their academic, extra-curricular and social activities, as well as for the quality of its facilities.
We hope that this website will help you to find the information about Peterhouse which interests you. If not, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Bridget Kendall, MBE
Master of Peterhouse
The Porters’ Lodge is the first point of contact for everyone in the College. It is staffed 24 hours a day.
The Porters are responsible for the security of the College and handling emergencies. On a day-to-day level they have the answers to most practical questions, handle the post and call for taxis.
The Hall is the south section of OId Court was built around 1290; it is the oldest part of the College. The north is made up of 3 staircases, B, C, and D, and was built around 1424. The west of the court was built a little later in 1447-48 and now houses a Fellow's set as well as Noah's Ark on the top floor.
The dining hall at Peterhouse was completed in 1290 and, in continuous use by Fellows and students for over 700 years, is the oldest collegiate building in Cambridge, making it a unique venue for all occasions.
While the structure is medieval, the interior was redesigned in the late 19th century, with dark panelling and Masters’ portraits, a minstrel’s gallery and William Morris stained glass, stencilling and tiles combining to create a dramatic back-drop for our dinners.
The Chapel sits at the centre of the oldest part of College and stands for a living tradition in the College’s life. The Peterhouse Chapel Choir is a friendly and diverse group drawn from the undergraduate body of the College and beyond.
This panelled Georgian room, beautifully furnished with antiques, was formerly part of a Fellow’s ‘set’ and is named after Henry Cavendish, a Petrean scientist credited with having discovered hydrogen and calculated the mass of the Earth in the 18th century.
The room is used for small dinners and meetings.
The MCR is between Old and Gisborne Courts is the meeting place for the graduate students.
Built, from the designs of William McIntosh Brookes, between 1825-26 and from the generosity of former Fellow, Francis Gisborne, this court was added to the west of Old Court to extend the College significantly. The fourth side of the court was originally a gothic screen wall, which was pulled down in 1939.
The Whittle Building is the college’s newest construction, providing undergraduate accommodation and meeting rooms. It is named after Sir Frank Whittle, a Petrean engineer famous as the inventor of the jet engine.
The JCR is under the Whittle Building, along with the bar and gym. This provides a space for the undergraduates to meet and relax.
Designed by Hughes and Bicknell, this modernist building is of significant interest and is grade 2 listed. Having unusually been built during World War 2, the Bursar at the time had stored the necessary materials on site and utilised builders set for repairs to Cambridge in the event of bombings. Its distinctive T-shape makes good use of the site and the lantern floods light into the building. The 15 rooms in Fen Court include a sick bay, guest room, 2 Fellows’ sets and 11 student rooms.
This bright and lofty room, formerly part of the University Museum of Classical Archaeology and adjacent to the Theatre, was refurbished in 2005.
This room is used for events, often in connection with the Theatre.
Peterhouse has two libraries: the Perne Library which is our research collection and the undergraduate Ward library. The latter used to be the Museum of Classical Archaeology, making it a very special library space.
The Master’s Loge is across the road from the main college site. It was built in 1702 and has been the residence of successive Masters since 1727 when it was bequeathed to the college by Dr Charles Beaumont (son of the 30th Master, Joseph Beaumont). It is a Grade I listed building.
Next to the Master’s Lodge is the Hostel. Built in 1926, the Hostel provides accommodation for students and a Fellow. It is notable for having housed the London School of Economics during World War 2.
Cosin Court is named after John Cosin a Master of the College in the 17th Century. Built in the 1970s, this accommodates 5 Fellows as well as about 50 graduates around the central garden.
Cambridge is famous for its rowing and all colleges have their own boathouses. The Peterhouse boathouse is just 6 minutes cycle from the college.