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Peterhouse College
Trumpington Street, Cambridge, UK
Peterhouse College
associated engineer
Not known
date  1286 onwards
era  Medieval  |  category  Building  |  reference  TL447580
photo  © Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Peterhouse is the oldest, and smallest, college at the University of Cambridge. It was founded by Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, and dedicated to St Peter. The oldest part of the building complex is the hall, whch dates from 1286.
The main college buildings surround Old Court, which is a quadrangle. The hall is on the south side and the chapel on the east. There are a further two courts and associated buildings.
The hall was raisedin height in the 15th century and the fireplace added in 1501. The building was returned to a Medieval style in 1870 with panelling, a new timber roof and a large oriole window designed by George Gilbert Scott.
The Perne Library was built in 1590 and extended in 1633. Decorative interior woodwork was added to both library and chapel in 1641-48.
The Gothic style chapel was built in 1628, on the site of the college’s original hostels. It contains a pietà altarpiece and a ceiling of golden suns. Much of the original stained glass was destroyed during the English Civil War in 1643, but Flemish east window (1639) depicting the Crucifixion survives.
The 17th century cloisters on each side of the chapel were redesigned in the Classical style in 1709, and the ornamental porch removed in 1755. The current side windows to the chapel were added in 1855. Parallel to the chapel at the front of the college, the Burroughs Building is of neo-Palladian design, designed by Sir James Burroughs and completed in 1736.
The red brick Queen Anne style Master’s House, opposite the college, was built in 1702 and has been in college use since 1727.
Gisborne Court, through the west side of Old Court, was built in 1825 in Tudor Gothic style to a design by William Mclntosh Brookes. Only three sides of the court were completed, in white brick with stone dressing.
The Hostel, next to the Master’s House, was designed by Thomas Henry Lyon and built in 1926. During World War II (1939-45) it housed the London School of Economics.
On the west side of Gisborne Court, the Birdwood Building built between 1932 and 1934 to designs by H.C. Hughes and Peter Bicknell was first used as a bath house but is now a gym. Hughes and Bicknell also designed Fen Court, beyond Gisborne Court, in the Bauhaus style pioneered by Walter Gropius. It was built between 1939 and 1941.
The most modern part of the college is the William Stone Building, an eight storey brick tower built in 1963 for accommodation.
Architect (1736): Sir James Burroughs
Architect (1870): George Gilbert Scott
Architect (1825): William Mclntosh Brookes
Architect (1926): Thomas Henry Lyon
Architect (1932-41): H.C. Hughes and Peter Bicknell
Carpentry (1641-8): William Ashley
Research: ECPK

Peterhouse College