Town and Gown

Share Published on October 25, 2017

Student and citizen have not always existed with the respectful harmony they enjoy in Cambridge today, but rarely have tensions between town and gown boiled over into an actual riot, as they did in 1781, when a St John’s College undergraduate was tipped from his canoe near the Magdalen Bridge by a passing bargeman.

A nearby canoeist, and fellow St John’s undergraduate, responded by whacking the bargeman with an oar. More students and bargemen arrived on the scene of the scuffle, and the riot was only quelled when the president of St John’s College came to the rescue of the outnumbered bargemen, who had barricaded themselves in the Magdalen Chapel.

Visitors hoping to witness a similar mix of social tension, violence and all out farce can find just that in A Village Festival (1632) by Pieter Bruegel the Younger, on the first floor of the Fitzwilliam Gallery (room 8 on the floorplan).

This is a world-class museum no visitor will want to miss.


University Arms Hotel Cambridge update

In light of the Government announcement on the 23rd of December, we at University Arms and Parker’s Tavern will close our doors on Boxing Day.

If you have a reservation, please know that we will contact you about this, however should you have concerns, please do call our team on 01223 606066. 

To stay up to date with our opening, please do sign up to our newsletter.

I look forward to welcoming you in 2021.

Ian James

General Manager

Covid-19 Policy Contact Us