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Cavendish Laboratory entrance

Old Cavendish Laboratory, Free School Lane

History of the Old Cavendish Laboratory

To make room for the Cavendish Laboratory nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13 Free School Lane were demolished in 1886.

The Old Cavendish Laboratory was founded in 1874 by the Duke of Devonshire, Chancellor of the University. The first Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics was James Clerk Maxwell who chose chose the quotation from Psalm 111:

Magna opera Domini exquisita in omnes voluntates eius

Great are the works of the Lord, sought out in accordance with his wishes

The gateway has the Cavendish motto:


Safety through caution

Fore more information on associated inscriptions see Cambridge Inscriptions Explained by Nancy Gregory (2006)

For a detailed history of the site see:


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