Cambridge in 1800

The Town

It had expanded northwards to the current Mount Pleasant and along Trumpington Street to where the modern Engineering Department entrance is.

There was open space to the south of the former Austin Friary and Bird Bolt Lane (now Downing Street) and to the east of Jesus and Emmanuel Colleges and on the other side of the river to the west. This was about to change drastically due to the Enclosure awards.

Gardens and yards had been used for building, leading to a high density of occupation and much rebuilding.

The University

Was still an important figure in the governance of the town, licencing and holding court.
University politics meant that the term of office was generally for only a year, Heads of Houses being chosen in rotation.

About 800 undergraduates and 400 dons.
Numbers had declined from about 1670, so there had been no pressure for new accomodation buildings, but numbers began to rise from the 1760s.
In the previous 20 years or so the University became popular with the sons of the wealthy, who raised the costs associated with undergraduate life.

Christ's, Clare, Corpus, Emmanuel, Caius, Jesus, King's, Magdalene, Pembroke, Peterhouse, Queens', St Catharine's, St John's, Sidney, Trinity, Trinity Hall.
The first new college for 200 years was about to be founded: Downing.

The Senate House by James Gibbs of c1730 had partly relieved the University's need for space (particularly for the Library).
Colleges built many fine classical buildings in the previous 100 years, such as King's Gibbs' or Fellows' Building.
Many earlier brick buildings were faced with stone in the eighteenth century.

The BA was still based on philosophy, divinity, classics, mathematics and physics, though now all based around Isaac Newton's ideas. Proficiency in mathematics was required for an honours degree.
Degrees and office holding were restricted to members of the Church of England and most graduates took holy orders.

Cambridge : History