The front gate was completed in 1516 and makes for a fine entrance into the college.
|Entrance to St. John's College|
Inside, tourists pay a nominal fee to go in and see the various courts and buildings of the college. The first spot one finds is the First Court, naturally enough. It's an open area with the chapel to the right (which will get its own post) and the Second Gate (leading to the Second Court) straight ahead. The original college was here, including the library and chapel. The current chapel was built in the 1800s.
|Second Gate, with a nice window and a statue of Lady Margaret|
|People with academic robes!|
|The chapel, as seen from the First Court|
The tour proceeds through the chapel and into the Chapel Court. This court has a hodgepodge of architecture from the sixteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.
|Victorian era buildings|
|Cool eagle symbols on the roof of the covered passage we were in|
|View of the chapel from the Chapel Court|
Next is the Second Court. The most noticeable item here is the Shrewsbury Tower, with the coat of arms and a statue of Bess of Hardwick (of Hardwick Hall fame), Countess of Shrewsbury and major contributor funding the building of the court. The court was completed in 1602.
|Also, this drain dates itself--1599!|
The doorway in Shrewsbury Tower leads to (you guessed it) the Third Court. Built during the 1600s, it took a while to complete due to the Civil War, especially since the college was largely Royalist in a Parliamentary town. But it did get finished and looks quite fine.
|Tower over the old library|
Leaving through a door to the south, which was the back exit of the college from 1672 to 1831, the tour leads over the River Cam on the Kitchen Bridge. From here we had a good look at their Bridge of Sighs, an imitation of the more famous one in Venice. Though the imitation is strictly limited to the fact that its a covered bridge and looks quite nice from the outside (the Venice one leads to a prison).
|Lucy wants to read|
|Cambridge's Bridge of Sighs|
On the other side of the river is the New Court. The buildings here were finished in 1831 and housed the great influx of students at the time. The style is an imitation of Gothic rather than actual Gothic (as was popular in the Victorian era). The especially ornate bits, especially over the central block, has earned it the nickname "the Wedding Cake" for its fancifulness.
|The Wedding Cake|
|Gothic arch entrance|
The twentieth century's contribution unfortunately (at least to my eyes) comes from the 1960s and is called the Cripps Buildings. It is named after the Cripps Foundation, which financed the expansions needed for the large influx of post-war students.
|By itself it's not so bad, but it is a bit of transition from Victorian Gothic|
Nearby was this awesome wall with four stories of ivy covering it.
|Insert "Ivy League" joke here|
My one regret is that we were not allowed to go into this dining hall, because it sounds so delicious.
More on the chapel in the next post!