Home » Discover St John's

New Court

New Court, across the river, was completed in 1831 to the designs of Thomas Rickman and Henry Hutchinson. For its period it was a very large scheme and arose out of the College's need to accommodate more students in the early nineteenth century. It was the first major building to be placed by any college on the west side of the river.

Features to notice:

  • the style of the Court is Gothic, a romantic version of a mediaeval building, not an attempt to copy real Gothic exactly. The basic plan is classical, but the details, particularly the airy cupola over the central block - known in the College as the `Wedding Cake' - are Gothic, as is the long cloister which closes the south side of the Court. The view of the building from the south across the lawns can be magical, particularly on a misty morning or at dusk.
  • the Bridge of Sighs, which connects New Court to Third Court, is so called because it is covered - the only respect in which it really resembles the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, which acquired its name because it really led to the prison. Queen Victoria admired the bridge greatly - `so pretty and picturesque' - and the combination of the brick gables of Third Court, New Court and the Bridge of Sighs constitutes for many an epitome of the Cambridge scene.

Entering New Court through the Eagle Gateway, and continue through the passageway under the `Wedding Cake' leads to the parts of St. John's either built or acquired in the twentieth century, starting with Cripps Building.