Senate House

While walking in the city yesterday evening, I stumbled across a light show at Senate House.

Senate House lit up at night

Senate House lies in the old city centre of Cambridge. It stands between King’s and Caius, behind the market place and the University church of Great St Mary’s.

Senate House Cambridge

The Senate House provides an important function of the University, as graduations take place here.

Senate House Cambridge

Senate House on a summer’s day

Senate House is a neoclassical Georgian building with brilliant white columns. It is made of Portland Stone and was officially opened in 1730. The University’s Council of the Senate used to hold meetings here, but now the primary purpose of Senate House is for graduation ceremonies, known as Congregations.

Front of Senate House, with Gonville and Caius on the right.

Senate House often presents light shows after dark, using projectors to flash patterns of light and images onto its bright white walls.

Senate House Cambridge light show

These are photos from the display of light that ran on a long circuit for hours last night, and was an amazing spectacle. Unfortunately I only had my phone with me, and couldn’t capture all the varieties, but the images still give a good impression of what it was like.

Senate House Cambridge light show

Close-up

Senate House Cambridge light show

Senate House Cambridge light show

Light show at Senate House, Cambridge

Senate House Cambridge light show

Close-up on the columns

Senate House Cambridge light show

Squares in light

Senate House Cambridge light show

Senate House Cambridge light show

Senate House Cambridge light show

Black and white lines

Senate House Cambridge light show

Senate House Cambridge light show

Beams of light twizzled round at all angles

Lightshow Senate House

The display was constantly moving, shifting from one pattern into another. It was beautiful to watch.

Senate House

Student graduations take place college by college, inside Senate House. Students are awarded their degrees by their college’s praelector, on behalf of the University.

The 31 colleges of the University of Cambridge always proceed to Senate House for Congregations in the same order. The three royal colleges go first: King’s, Trinity and St John’s. The rest of the colleges then process according to the date of their foundation or the date they joined the University.

Here are images from other light shows that have taken place at Senate House:

University of Cambridge 800 Years

This display was part of a light festival marking the 800 year anniversary of the University of Cambridge, in 2009. Image above: “CamLight” by McAnt – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CamLight.jpg#mediaviewer/File:CamLight.jpg

Image below: Copyright University of Cambridge http://www.campaign.cam.ac.uk/about/800th-campaign

Senate House light show

Senate House Cambridge light shows

Image above: Copyright http://dibari-id.com/, image at http://dibari-id.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/11abETC-London-Cambridge-800-Finale-Senate-Housecam172325099.jpg

And below, lights at King’s: Copyright King’s College http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/news/2010/kings-spotlight-800th-finale.html

King's College Cambridge light show

Below: Copyright Cambridge 2000 Gallery http://www.cambridge2000.com/gallery/html/P11630083e.html

Senate House Cambridge, light show

You can see more Senate House light show images here.

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4 Responses

  1. It looks beautiful ! I was traveling to England for a day yesterday!

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