Ben le Vay’s Eccentric Cambridge

by Benedict le Vay 

£14.99 £13.49

Ben Le Vay’s Eccentric Cambridge – Holiday tips and travel information including quirky Cambridge highlights, unusual historical sites, walks and amusing activities. This guide also features art and architecture, hidden secrets and outrageous stories about the university and its people, Grantchester, colleges and churches, boat races and punting.

192 in stock

ISBN: 9781841624273

Published:  31st Oct 2011
Size:  115 X 186 mm
Edition:  2
Number of pages:  304

About this book

Cambridge is a popular city for international tourists, keen to take a behind-the-scenes look at this old English university city’s people and places. Benedict le Vay reveals hidden secrets and amazing stories of the city’s architecture, scandalous stories of the most outrageous dons and, most importantly, how to punt on the River Cam without looking like a complete prat.

About the Author

Benedict le Vay is a features editor on a leading British newspaper. He spends his spare time researching zany facts about the British and their way of life. He is also the author of Bradt’s Eccentric London and Britain from the Rails.


‘ …..[Ben le Vay] is clearly a man worth spending time in the company of. And it’s reassuring to know that, in an age of identikit ‘anytowns’, Cambridge remains defiantly different – and just a little bit bonkers.’
Cambridgeshire Journal

‘These delightful guide books are perfect for anyone with an interest in England’s most famous university cities.’
Good Book Guide

‘Ben le Vay throws up a host of titillating tales in Eccentric Cambridge: A Practical Guide.’
This England

Additional Information

Table of Contents

Introduction vii
1 The Eccentric Year 1
January 1, February 2, March 3, Easter 4, May 4,
June 5, July 7, September 8, October 9, December 11
2 Eccentric History 13
Cambridge: history and mystery 13, Grantchester
pedigree, or just swamp dwellers? 14, Danish pasting
16, A sick wife and the infancy of academia 17, !e
defiled virgin and the patron saint of laundry 19,
Town versus gown: the early day 20, Two nations
united – by a common dislike 21, !e stinking ditch
defence 23, A pukkah university – in time for the
Black Death 24, !e flames of Reformation 27,
Progress and puritanism 30, !e scholars and the
proctors: discipline 32, Civil war, greed, sloth and
decadence 32, A growing town and the coming of the
railways 34, From the flimsy first aircraft to Silicon
Fen 37
3 Eccentric Legends 41
!e Chariots of Fire and the four-minute mile 41,
Rupert Brooke: golden poet of a golden age? 44,One
man’s obsessive quest to kill an emperor 51,
Cambridge’s sword boat 55
4 Eccentric People 57
Snowy Farr 57, Richard Collius 58, Charlie Cavey 60,
Kim de la Taste Tickell 61, !omas Hobson 62,
Henry Fawcett (mail role model) 64, Syd Barrett 65,
AA Milne 66, William Donaldson (AKA Henry
Root) 68, William Horace de Vere Cole 72,
Christopher Cockerell 76, Jeffrey Archer 77
5 Eccentric Colleges 79
Christ’s 79, Churchill 83, Clare 84, Clare Hall 88,
Corpus Christi 88, Darwin 90, Downing 91,
Emmanuel 94, Fitzwilliam 95, Girton 96, Gonville
and Caius 96, Homerton 102, Hughes Hall 102,
Jesus 102, King’s 108, Lucy Cavendish 110,
Magdalene 111, Murray Edwards 114, New Hall
116, Newnham 116, Pembroke 122, Peterhouse 124,
Queens’ 127, Ridley Hall 131, Robinson 132,
St Catharine’s 134, St Edmund’s 135, St John’s 135,
Selwyn 137, Sidney Sussex 138, Trinity 141, Trinity
Hall 150, Wolfson 154
6 Eccentric Churches 155
King’s Chapel: a miracle of masonry 155, Great St
Mary’s 165, Other eccentric churches 169, Other
dead eccentrics 175
7 Eccentric Things to See or Do 177
Cambridge’s eccentric museums 177, Punting 1878
8 Eccentric Walks 197
A walk on the mild side: the best of the city 197,
!e walk around Cambridges’ crown jewels 199,
A stroll up King Street 209
9 Out of Town 213
Strange place names, odd bods and heroes 213,
Not very wacky but also interesting 223
10 Eccentric Facts 225
Oxford and Cambridge: strange similarities 225,
City eccentricities 229
11 Eccentric Living 235
Eat eccentric 235, Drink eccentric 238, Stay
eccentric 244, Shop eccentric 246
12 Nuts and Bolts 251
How to get to Cambridge 251
13 Eccentric Glossary 263
Index 279