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Archives of the Department of Biochemistry, 1918 - 2008

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/BCHEM

Scope and Contents

The records relate mainly to staff, teaching and departmental buildings.


  • Creation: 1918 - 2008


Conditions Governing Access

Within the archives of the Department of Biochemistry, personnel records are closed to scholars for 80 years from the date of creation under data protection legislation. Restrictions are clearly indicated in catalogue entries.

Biographical / Historical

The study of Biochemistry at undergraduate level is part of the syllabus of the Natural Sciences Tripos (established 1851) and the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos (established 1992). The department began in 1914 in a small building in Corn Exchange Street, in the same year as a personal chair in Biochemistry was established for Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (1861-1947). In 1920, the executors of Sir William Dunn offered the University £165,000, later augmented by £45,000, for the foundation and endowment of a School of Biochemistry. The endowment funded i) the Sir William Dunn Professorship of Biochemistry into which Hopkins was elected in 1921, ii) a new building for the department - the Sir William Dunn Institute of Biochemistry - on the Downing site on Tennis Court Road which opened in 1924, iii) a readership and two lectureships. In 1931, the Rockefeller benefaction provided the resources for an additional lectureship and demonstratorship. A new wing to the building was opened in 1963. Part of the department moved into a new building, the Sanger Building, on the Old Addenbrooke's site in 1997. The department is part of the Faculty of Biology, a constituent of the School of the Biological Sciences. For further background information, see the departmental website at


5 linear metre(s) : paper, photograph, wood, metal

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The main body of archives was transferred to the University Archives from the department in November and December 1975, October 1976 and February 2020. BCHEM 6 was presented as a gift by R.H. Wildman's executors in April 1980. BCHEM 3/10, 4/12-14 were transferred from among the personal papers of Malcolm Dixon (King's and Emmanuel Colleges, ScD 1930, died 1985) at Cambridge University Library, on 19 Feb. 1991.

Related Materials

See also among the holdings of the Manuscripts Department, Cambridge University Library: the papers of Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (classmark: Add.7620).


The online catalogue was completed in October 2004 and emended in Feb. and Oct. 2005, May 2006, July 2009 and September 2021.


Department of Biochemistry

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom