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Lucy Cavendish College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge which currently only admits female postgraduates and undergraduates aged 21 or over.

Lucy Cavendish College
University of Cambridge
Lucy Cavendish College library, with Marshall House in the background
Lucy Cavendish College library, with Marshall House in the background
Lucy Cavendish College heraldic shield
Arms of Lucy Cavendish College
LocationLady Margaret Road (map)
Named forLucy Cavendish
Age restrictionAged 21 or over
PresidentMadeleine Atkins
Endowment£11.1m (as of 30 June 2017)[2]
Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge is located in Central Cambridge
Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
Location in Central Cambridge
Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge is located in Cambridge
Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
Location in Cambridge
Lucy Caroline Cavendish, a pioneer of women's education

From October 2021, the College will admit women and men from the standard university age, with a focus on widening participation in higher education.

The college is named in honour of Lucy Cavendish (1841–1925), who campaigned for the reform of women's education.[3]



The college was founded in 1965 by female academics of the University of Cambridge who believed that the university offered too few and too restricted opportunities for women as either students or academics. Its origins are traceable to the Society of Women Members of the Regent House who are not Fellows of Colleges (informally known as the Dining Group) which in the 1950s sought to provide the benefits of collegiality to its members who, being female, were not college fellows.[4] At the time there were only two women's colleges in Cambridge, Girton and Newnham, insufficient for the large and growing numbers of female academic staff in the university.[5]

The college was named in honour of Lucy Caroline Cavendish, a pioneer of women's education and the great aunt of one of its founders, Margaret Braithwaite.[3] First formally recognised as the Lucy Cavendish Collegiate Society, it moved to its current site in 1970, received consent to be called Lucy Cavendish College in 1986, and gained the status of a full college of the university by Royal Charter in 1997.[6]

The first president of the college, from 1965 to 1970, was Anna McClean Bidder, one of the founding members of the Dining Group and a zoologist specialising in cephalopod digestion;[5] this accounts for the presence of the nautilus shell in the college coat of arms.[7] She was succeeded by Kate Bertram until 1979, Phyllis Hetzel (Lady Bowden),[8] Dame Anne Warburton (the first female British ambassador in 1976), Baroness Perry of Southwark, Dame Veronica Sutherland, Janet Todd and Jackie Ashley.

The current and 9th President of Lucy Cavendish is Madeleine Atkins, who took up the post in 2018.[9]

In March 2019 Lucy Cavendish announced its intention to begin admitting both women and men from the standard university age. This change followed a consultation of the College's community, leading to an "in principle vote" of the Lucy Cavendish Governing Body. The College gave as its primary reason for the change "to grow graduate and undergraduate numbers to support the University and the other colleges in making more places available for excellent students from under-represented backgrounds."[10][11][12]

Student bodyEdit

Lucy Cavendish has over 350 students, approximately 40% of whom are undergraduates and 60% graduates.[13] Students originate from over 60 different countries, making it a distinctly international college. The majority of its undergraduates have applied directly, but in comparison to the university-wide averages the college makes proportionately more offers to the university's 'pool' applicants.[14] The college website states that "Students from every corner of the UK mix with students from around the world. Students with 'Access' qualifications interact with students who have studied for A-levels and the International Baccalaureate. Former bankers, singers, journalists and police officers mix with recent graduates of universities from around the world. Women come at any age to study any subject offered by the University."[15] The average age of students in the college is 22.

Lucy Cavendish students are also called "Lucians".

Academic performanceEdit

The overall percentage of 2.1s and first class degrees was 88% in 2016/17, increasing to 92% in 2017/18.


For the first few years of the college's existence it occupied rooms first in Silver Street and then in Northampton Street. In 1970 it moved to its current site on the corner of Madingley Road and Lady Margaret Road, near Westminster College and St John's College, which had provided some of the land.[16]

In 1991 the college bought Balliol Croft, a neighbouring house to its grounds and former home of the economist Alfred Marshall and his wife Mary Paley Marshall, with whom he wrote his first economics textbook. The building was renamed Marshall House in his honour and used for student accommodation until 2001 when it was converted back to its original layout and used as the President's Lodge.[17] Meanwhile, the majority of the college's buildings, including Warburton Hall and the library, were completed in the 1990s.[16]

Lucy Cavendish College Library

List of presidentsEdit

Notable alumnaeEdit


  1. ^ University of Cambridge (6 March 2019). "Notice by the Editor". Cambridge University Reporter. 149 (Special No 5): 1. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Annual report and Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2017" (PDF). Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b Renfrew, Jane M. "Who was Lucy Cavendish?". Rooms of Our Own – Lucy Cavendish College. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Papers of the Dining Group 1951–1966". London Metropolitan University.
  5. ^ a b Warburton, Anne (9 October 2001). "Anna Bidder obituary". The Independent. London.
  6. ^ "Statutes for Lucy Cavendish College in the University of Cambridge" (PDF). Lucy Cavendish College. 1997. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  7. ^ "The Lucy Cavendish College Shield of Arms". Lucy Cavendish College. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Women of Cambridge". University of Cambridge. 5 June 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Professor Madeleine Atkins CBE, FAcSS appointed as 9th President of Lucy Cavendish College", Lucy Cavendish College. 2 July 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Lucy Cavendish College to become mixed standard age" (Press release). Lucy Cavendish College. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  11. ^ Bayliss, Chloe (11 March 2019). "Lucy Cavendish to become mixed-gender college, admitting students from age 18". Varsity. Cambridge, UK. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  12. ^ McKie, Anna (12 March 2019). "Women-only Cambridge college to admit men from 2021". Times Higher Education. London. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Supporting Students". Lucy Cavendish College.
  14. ^ "Application statistics". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Lucy Cavendish College Information". Lucy Cavendish College. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Lucy Cavendish College Site and Buildings" (PDF). Lucy Cavendish College. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  17. ^ "Cambridge 2000 – Lucy Cavendish College: Madingley Road: Marshall House (Balliol Croft)". Cambridge 2000.
  18. ^ "Lucy Cavendish alumna elected as Labour MP for Tooting" (Press release). Lucy Cavendish College. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Shami Chakrabarti made Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish". The Cambridge Student. 1 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Honorary fellows - Lucy Cavendish". Lucy Cavendish College - University of Cambridge.

External linksEdit