Not Your Average Cambridge College

A Brief History

The College began as New Hall with just 16 students at a temporary home on Silver Street.

To read more about our strategic direction and ethos, please visit the Murray Edwards College website.

Construction of the Dome

The Murray Edwards Story

The College was founded as ‘New Hall’ in 1954; six years after the University began awarding women degrees. We opened our doors to just 16 students in that first year, who resided in temporary accommodation while funds continued to be raised for a permanent home. This came in 1965, with the opening of our current buildings which were designed by Chamberlain, Powell and Bonn.

We adopted our current name ‘Murray Edwards College’ in 2008, following a donation of £30 million from former student Ros Smith (Mrs Edwards) and her husband Steve Edwards.

The name was chosen to recognise the generosity of the Edwards family and to honour our remarkable first College president Dame Rosemary Murray, who studied Chemistry at Oxford University and became one of the first women at Lady Margaret Hall to achieve a DPhil.

A College for Women

The College was founded to welcome all outstanding young women of potential, no matter what their background, to the University of Cambridge – with a mission to provide the best education for female students possible.

More than 60 years later, this remains absolutely at the heart of our existence. We choose to remain a College for women in recognition of the fact that there is still much gender inequality facing women in the world today. Thus there is a need for institutions such as ours which offer the additional focus on women’s education, to make sure our students get the most from Cambridge and, later, to help them meet the challenges of the workplace.

Alumna you may have heard of
Include Sue Perkins, Mishal Husain, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Tilda Swinton, Claudia Winkleman and our current President Dame Barbara Stocking.

From an events perspective, we feel Murray Edwards College provides the perfect backdrop for events for women or with women at their heart. However, our College is open to everybody and there are always plenty of men on campus, from staff to Fellows to students, so everybody will feel at home.