The city of Cambridge is sometimes known as the town that is at the centre of "Silicon Fen"; a take-off of California's Silicon Valley and the "fens," marshes and drained marches of Eastern England that surround the city. Cambridge's main industries (apart from the university which adds 24,500 people to the city during term time) are software and bioscience.
It is also, however, home to the iconic King's College Chapel, a splendid example of late Gothic (Perpendicular) architecture. Started in 1446 by Henry VI (1421-71) the chapel took over a century to build.
It has the largest fan vault in the world and some of the finest medieval stained glass. It is also the venue for the Christmas Eve service, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which is broadcast to millions around the world.
At the start of OSC's summer courses, it is still possible to get to the Chapel for evensong (a sublime experience) because the King's College Chapel choir does not go on holiday until shortly after our courses start.
As in Oxford, punting (but on the River Cam, not the Thames) is de rigeur in Cambridge, but there are also some wonderful walks to be taken along the river. One such walk is to Grantchester, to have tea and scones at The Orchard as the WWI poet Rupert Brooke used to do, writing about it so poignantly in his poem "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester" when he was in Berlin and feeling very homesick. ("And is there honey still for tea?")
Our teachers love their Cambridge experience and are keen to return every year. Many of our students have expressed the same desire.
Emmanuel College (or Emma to those more familiar with it) was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, onetime Chancellor of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth I.
It has produced scholars such as John Wallis, the mathematician who developed calculus and produced the symbol for infinity and Ronald George Wreyford Norrish and George Porter who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1967 for their development of flash photolysis. For all the peace and quiet its gardens generate in the middle of the bustling city of Cambridge, Emma wields a big academic stick.
St Catharine's College
St Catharine's, or "Catz" as the College is known, was founded in 1473, by Robert Woodlark. Originally a small college, it gradually acquired buildings around and was largely rebuilt in the 17th century, with work starting on the Main Court in 1673 and the Chapel being completed in 1704. The grand entrance on Trumpington Street offers an impressive welcome to the colleges beautiful grounds.
An impressive alumni role call includes Jeremy Paxam (journalist), Sir Ian McKellen (actor), Tunku Abdul Rahman, (Prime Minister of Malaysia) and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (President of India).