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Whewell Court, Trinity College, Sidney Street gate

Whewell Street gate, Sidney Street

The Finch family had had a ironmongers business in Cambridge since 1688. Charles Finch was the last of the line. At his death in 1847 he was succeeded by his nephew, Swann Hurrell. Shortly before his life in 1866, Charles Finch sold his house in Sidney Street, opposite Jesus Lane, to Dr Whewell for the site of Whewell’s Court. The Finch family foundry has been established on what was to become the site of St John’s College chapel and the Master’s Lodge.

Trinity Street c1860s (MoC256/71)

Whewell Court, Sidney Street entrance

For main entry

There is an inscription on the oriel window above the gateway to the court commented on by Nancy Gregory in Cambridge Inscriptions Explained:


Sacred to Peace 1860

William Whewell, Master of Trinity, paid for the Court and also endowed the professorship of International Law. Whewell’s will included the following about the role of international law:

to diminish the evils of war and finally to extinguish was between nations

The motto for the coat of arms granted to Whewell is LAMPADA TRADAM (I will pass on the torch), symbolising a professor passing on the torch of knowledge to his students. This is shown in the stonework.



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