Skip to main content

College Archives

Reference Code: GBR/2511/DC

Scope and Contents

The College Archives consist of the instutional records of the college and include papers, photographs and audio-visual recordings relating to the governance, administration, and student life of Darwin College. The collection includes records and photographs from the college's founding in 1964 as the first exclusively postgraduate college of Cambridge University, as well as documentation of the college's prehistory assembled by the first master, Sir Frank George Young. The collection includes the working papers of the first two college masters, Sir Frank Young and Sir Moses Finley, and some personal papers of Moses Finley and his wife Mary Finley. There are also papers of the Nominative Trustees, established at the founding of the college, and of the Rayne Trustees, relating to benefactions to the college from the Max Rayne Foundation. There is a large collection of audio-visual recordings of the annual Darwin Lecture Series, as well as the colloquia and annual lectures which preceded the establishment of the lecture series in its current form. Materials relating to the college site and buildings include financial and administrative records, architectural plans and drawings, and photographs. There is also a collection of papers and photographs relating to college fellows and graduate members dating from the founding of the college.


  • Creation: 1962 - 2019

Biographical / Historical

Founded in 1964, Darwin College was the first exclusively postgraduate college in Cambridge. Its creation was a joint undertaking by the Masters and Fellows of Gonville and Caius College, St. John's College and Trinity College, and was approved by the Council of the Senate of the University of Cambridge in June 1963. The first Master, Frank George Young, and the first twelve fellows were appointed on 5 August 1964. Initial financing of the new institution was provided by the founding colleges and the Max Rayne Foundation, with instalments received over the first ten years of the college's exstence.

The main site of the college is centered around Newnham Grange, the family home of Sir George Darwin and his wife Lady Martha "Maud" Darwin, née du Puy. At the time of their son Sir Charles Darwin's death in 1962, the property was secured by the founding colleges for the establishment of the new college, with the agreement of the family, who also agreed that the college should adopt their family name. Darwin College grew rapidly in both physical size and number of graduate students, acquiring The Hermitage, at the corner of Silver Street and Queen's Road, and the houses on Newnham Terrace. The Rayne Building was designed by Howell Killick Partridge & Amis Architects and opened in 1969. Additional buildings nearby were acquired to house the growing student body, which in 2023 numbered over 750.

Source for historical details: "Darwin College, Cambridge 1963-1973" by Frank G. Young.


61 linear metre(s)

Language of Materials


Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Darwin College Archives Repository

Ms Jacky Cox
Darwin College
Silver Street
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 9EU United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 335683