Raise a glass of 1209 beer to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the University of Cambridge. That is unfortunately only possible in Cambridge or its surrounds. It is a brand new ale brewed specially for the occasion.
The beer, known as “1209” after the year of the University’s foundation, is based on the type of medieval brew that would have been available to scholars when they arrived in Cambridge 800 years ago. The beer brewed by Greene King is available in popular pubs in Cambridge, including the Eagle, the Champion of the Thames, the Fort St George and the Green Dragon. It is also available at the Prince Albert in Ely, the Navigator in Little Shelford and the Three Tuns in Fen Drayton.
It’s the year for centenaries in Cambridge. An announcement yesterday reminds us of another as the Toronto film festival picks Darwin drama Creation as an opener. Charles Darwin, an alumni of the University of Cambridge, was born in 1809 and published his ‘On the Origin of Species’ in 1859. For more details, you can turn to this account written 100 years ago on Charles Darwin.
The naturalist whose memory is being honored over the whole civilised world must be ranked as among the greatest – perhaps the very greatest – of all scientific discoverers. One other – Sir Isaac Newton – can alone be compared with him. Both had the same characteristics of great reasoning power, immense industry, and extreme patience in elaborating the proofs of their respective theories.
Sir Isaac Newton was of course another Cambridge alumni. Alumni around the world will be following the events involved in the Cambridge University 800th Anniversay celebrations.
In marking our 800th anniversary, we aim to strike a balance between academic achievement and celebration, respect the past, celebrate the present and leave a legacy for the future. We are keen to ensure that many of the ideas and plans for the 800th Anniversary provide a springboard for the future – starting something fresh that will grow in years to come.
If so inclined, you can even follow it on Twitter. The website gives a brief history of the University, noting that in 1209, groups of scholars congregated at the ancient Roman trading post of Cambridge for the purpose of study, the earliest record of the University.
There is also information on the celebrations of the life and work of Charles Darwin, which will be celebrated throughout 2009.
As a footnote, some may wish to note that Oxford University has an even longer history.
As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique and historic institution. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.