Girton College, Cambridge, UK

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Last poked on: 04/06/07

Founded in 1869, Girton College was the first women's college of Cambridge University. Now a mixed college, it is home to around 500 undergraduate students.


Student life

Most students (including all first years) live on site, in College accommodation. However, some second and third years choose to live in the more modern accommodation at Wolfson Court (commonly known as Wolfie), which is next door to the Maths Department and much closer to town. Students from colleges in the centre of town still insist that Wolfie is in the middle of nowhere.

Rooms in College range from rooms just large enough to fit a bed and a desk, to impressive two-room "sets", and you do get to live in what looks like a Victorian Gothic castle. Rooms in Wolfson Court are identical concrete cubes. When it was built, one student wrote a song* poking fun:

Hundred rooms with running water,

Could you ever ask for more?

Not unless you choose a boy-friend,

Measuring over five foot four!

The most obvious feature of Girton (and the reason that so few students apply directly to the college) is its distance from town. Whilst most colleges are very close to the city centre*, Girton is three miles away. In summer, getting home to Girton involves a pleasant bike ride, but getting out of bed on a January morning to face the iced-up cycle lane that leads to your Saturday morning lectures requires more will power. This leads to Girton students being slightly isolated, so close friendship groups (and, inevitably, cliques) tend to form within the college. Perhaps this is what led to the unofficial Girton anthem (to the tune of We Are Sailing):

We are Girton, super Girton!

No-one likes us. We don't care.

However, being so far from the town means that Girton has some of the largest grounds*, with the sports pitches on site. Girton is the only college to have its own indoor, heated swimming pool.

Formal Hall

Formal Hall is an excuse for dressing up in a gown and eating a three-course meal in the main hall.


The grounds of Girton College are home to one of the very few black squirrel populations in Britain. Grey squirrels are a very common sight, but if you keep your eyes peeled you might spot a few black squirrels too.

Although the college is now mixed-sex, it has only ever had a Mistress as its head. There has, however, been a male Vice Mistress.

Hermione Grammatike,

Famous alumni

  • Sandi Toksvig, comedian
  • Queen Margarethe II of Denmark


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