Time Line

June 1963

The Master and Fellows of Gonville and Caius, St John’s and Trinity Colleges made known their intention to found a graduate college in Cambridge. The College was to be housed in Sir George Darwin’s home at Newnham Grange and the Old Granary.

Old Granary, 1890

5th June 1964

The Trustees of the Max Rayne Foundation provide the College with a sum of £500,000 payable in ten annual instalments for the benefit of the College.  The founding colleges, meanwhile, agree to make £25,000 available in the financial year 1963-4 and £15,000 per annum up to and including the financial year 1973-4.

Major benefactor Max Rayne

28th July 1964 The Trust Deed is signed and sealed by the Senior Bursars of Trinity, St John’s and Gonville and Caius.  Darwin College is founded ‘for the advancement of education, learning and research, and especially education, learning and research among graduate students and research students in the University of Cambridge’. 
1st September 1964 The Founding Fellows are appointed, being Frank Hayhoe, A.C. (Bill) Stuart-Clark (Bursar), Graham Hough, Alun Moelwyn-Hughes, Abe Yoffe, Harold Whitehouse, Ronald Nedderman, Jack Goodison, John Oates, John Smart, Gerd Buchdahl and Gordon Robin.
1st October 1964

The first official meeting of the Master and Fellows. Our first Master is Sir Frank (George) Young (1908-1988); he was a distinguished biochemist and held the position of the third ‘Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry' at the University. 

Darwin College Fellows in 1967

January 1965

The Vice Master and Dean are appointed, being Dr Frank Hayhoe and Dr Graham Hough respectively.

29th January 1965

Darwin College was granted the status of an Approved foundation by Cambridge University.

Easter Term 1965 Three graduate members of the College are admitted: John Perry, Robin Carrell and Alan Cooke.
Michaelmas Term 1965 The graduate membership grew to fourteen.
November 1965

There are now 17 graduate members including Mrs Gillian Milner, the first woman member.


Darwin College Students 1965 

Early 1966

Darwin College acquires ‘The Hermitage’ from St. John’s College.

The Hermitage

Summer 1966

Architectural plans for the development of a new residential building to link Newnham Grange and the Hermitage together with a dining hall on the Newnham Terrace side to the Hermitage are exhibited at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Plan of new dining hall and Rayne Building

5th October 1970 Making of the second body of Statutes of the College.
January 1976 

Frank Young is knighted for services to biochemistry.


Portrait of Sir Frank Young

4th May 1976 Privy Council Report recommends grant of a Charter.
9th June 1976 Approval of the Royal Charter by HM The Queen in Council.
October 1976

Moses Finley (1912–1986) is admitted as the second Master of Darwin College.

Moses Finley, Master 1976

1979 Moses Finley is knighted.
October 1982

Professor Sir Arnold Burgen is admitted as the third Master of Darwin College.


Sir Arnold Burgen


Cesar Milstein, Fellow of Darwin College wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for developing a technique for the production of monoclonal antibodies.

Cesar Milstein's Nobel Prize

1989 College’s 25th Anniversary.  A total of 2,830 students had been post-graduate students at Darwin in its first 25 years.
October 1989

Professor Geoffrey Lloyd is admitted as the fourth Master of Darwin College. 


Sir Geoffrey Lloyd


The Study Centre is built along the side of the Old Granary.

View from the Study Centre


Frank Young House is built to house our growing student population.

Frank Young House

1997 Professor Geoffrey Lloyd is knighted for ‘services to the history of thought’.
October 2000

Professor William Brown is admitted as the fifth Master of Darwin College.

Willy Brown, fifth Master of Darwin College

February 2002

Severe river flooding damages the footbridge linking the College to the islands.


Flood damage to the footbridge.

2002 No. 1 Newnham Terrace is renovated to include a link to the dining hall, meeting spaces and a basement cloakroom.

The Malting House is purchased to provide more student accommodation and guest rooms.

The Malting House in earlier times


Following a donation by Hugh and Julia Fleming a new footbridge is built and opened. 


The grand opening of the new bridge. Hugh and Julia Fleming are standing with Willy Brown.


The College purchase no.4 Newnham Terrace; the last house in the Terrace to belong to the College, meaning more student rooms and that the gardens along the river can be opened up for everyone to enjoy.

Newham Terrace from the river

2009 Elizabeth H. Blackburn alumna, PhD 1975 wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.
October 2012

Professor Mary Fowler (matric. 1972) is admitted as the sixth Master.

Mary Fowler, sixth Master of Darwin College


The 50th Anniversary of the foundation of Darwin College.  A total of 7,500 students worldwide can call Darwin College their post-graduate college!

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