Timeline video: Our story since 1473

For the start of our 550th anniversary year, the College has produced a short timeline video about just a few of the significant milestones in our history since 1473. The video takes less than 3 minutes to watch and a transcript is provided below with hyperlinks for you to explore for further information. 

Transcript of 'Our story since 1473'

1473: St Catharine's College is founded by Robert Woodlark.

1475: St Catharine’s receives a Royal Charter from King Edward IV.

1514: The first scholarship is endowed – the College now provides a range of scholarships and bursaries to attract the most able students, regardless of their backgrounds.

1517: The first record of a member of staff with the appointment of Alice and Richard Lichfield.

1626: Dr John Gostlin bequeaths the Bull Inn to the College, which funds new scholarships and a new building on Queens' Lane.

1704: The Chapel is completed.

1719: Alumnus and Fellow John Addenbrooke leaves £4,500 to build a “hospital for poor people”. Fellows of St Catharine's use this legacy to found Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where our medics continue to care for patients and find new ways of treating diseases. 

1745: Mary Ramsden leaves her fortune to the College to support new Fellows and scholars, and for a building to house them (now A and B staircases).

1761: Alumnus, Fellow and Master Thomas Sherlock, later Bishop of London, leaves a large collection of books for the library that now bears his name. 

1833: St Catharine's College Boat Club is established.

1912: St Catharine’s admits the first Black student on record, Alfred Francis Adderley CBE, in whose honour an annual law prize is given to this day. 

1923: The St Catharine's College Alumni Society is founded.

1924: St Catharine’s admits Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, who went on to serve as president of India – one of many students from South Asia admitted since the 19th century.

1930: The Hobson's building is completed.

1939: University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture evacuates to St Catharine’s. 

1945: American service personnel studying at Cambridge are billeted at the Bull building, which became known as ‘Bull College’.

1951: The Woodlark building is completed.

1960: Alumnus Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, is elected an honorary fellow. A fund in his name has supported scholars from Malaysia at St Catharine’s since 2003. 

1966: A new hall, kitchens and accommodation block are completed.

1979: St Catharine's admits women as undergraduates.

1981: New accommodation is built at the St Chad’s site, which remains popular with students.

1986: The Shakeshaft Library is completed

1994: New accommodation opens on South Green Road and Russell Street.

1995: A new astroturf hockey pitch opens following a gift from alumnus Peter Boizot MBE.

2007: St Catharine's elects the first female master, Professor Dame Jean Thomas.

2007: St Catharine’s establishes the Environment Committee (succeeded by the Green Working Group).

2008: The Girls’ Choir becomes the first college-based choir for girls in the UK.

2013: The McGrath Centre, new bar and Junior Combination Room open, entirely funded by alumni.

2014: St Catharine’s flies the Pride Flag for the first time in honour of alumnus and Honorary Fellow Sir Ian McKellen.

2019: St Catharine’s admits our first Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars, following a gift from the David and Claudia Harding Foundation.

2022: The Central Spaces project is completed, the second project of its kind to be entirely funded by alumni.

Visit to read about our community's accomplishments in our anniversary year.

Contact details

Matilda Watson

01223 338343