Odd Things About King’s College, Cambridge

IMOGEN CHITTY talks us through the idiosyncrasies of Cambridge’s strangest College.

Bubble Wrap Cambridge chapel Choir Boys communism formal hall Hammer and Sickle. tourists King's College

As I was walking back from a lecture last week, I was followed through King’s by two Homerton girls discussing the “s**t they’d heard about this place” (with no trace of bitterness, of course). Whilst we – apparently – have flat screen TVs at the end of our Jacuzzi baths and peacocks walking the back court, we’re also – according to one girl’s very reliable cousin – “such commies” and wear only ethically sourced vintage clothes from Beyond Retro.

So, what does it really mean to be a King’s student? Are we really so strange? So what if we do indeed have our own pantry – and regular discussions with Mark the Sommelier? It’s true that upon my arrival at this grand establishment, I discovered some weird and wonderful goings-on that happen within the walls of King’s. Here are some of the idiosyncrasies that make King’s unlike any other Cambridge College:

The Choirboys Get More Action Than The Rugby Team

The minutes from the Chetwynd Society (the choir drinking society) gossip meetings are more scandalous than anything you read in Heat. It’s fair to say that the antics of those warbling men are best kept within their own circle (literally). On top of that, they earn more per year than most people’s parents…who knew boys in dresses were so popular?


The Lads

The Chaplain’s Bubble Wrap Party Is The Best Use Of The Chapel Anyone Has Ever Conceived

Our Chaplain provides a unique annual pre-exam stress-busting opportunity by filling the venerable chapel with reams of bubble-wrap for nervous candidates to pop out their stress to. You’re also far more likely to be converted to Christianity by his infamous carrot cake and chocolate brownies – or maybe his generous helpings of port and cheese – than any number of visits to Evensong.

Bubble wrap is probably the most convincing argument for God

Bubble wrap is probably the most convincing argument for God

Selling Your Body/Your Organs/Your Dissertation/Your Family’s House For Formal Tickets Is Perfectly Acceptable

Formal dinner at King’s is the hottest ticket in Cambridge eating circles, but getting one is harder than actually getting a place at the university. For thirty seconds on a Thursday afternoon the whole of King’s comes to a standstill, until the cries of “Whhhhyyy….!” are heard echoing through the halls as you try not to injure the person next to you whose internet refreshed three milliseconds before yours.

king's hall

Look how pretty King’s hall is.

Tourists Are Part Of The Scenery

No bad hair day is ever left undocumented due to the blinding camera flashes of tourists blocking the front entrance. Though the daily battle through the mob does at least make you feel you deserve that second coffee after all that exertion, and being able to flash your uni card to the doormen and strut past the queues of day-trippers never quite loses its novelty.


Japanese tourists loving King’s College

And Yes, We Do Have A Framed Hammer And Sickle In The Bar…

With the highest state school applicant intake, a thriving Labour party society and an obsession with “self-defining” group identities, it’s difficult not to notice the political leanings of King’s. But just because in the first few weeks we held a debate about the morality of private education, a living wage rally and a discussion group with a strongly Marxist fresher, doesn’t mean we recite the communist manifesto every day before bed. Only at weekends.

Easy, Comrade

Easy, Comrade