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A college famous for its Pepys Library, home to six volumes of his famous diary

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Pepys Library
Pretty Courts
May Ball
Magdalene College was first founded in 1428, as a hostel for Benedictine monks. It was then briefly known as Buckingham College, being founded officially as the College of St Mary Magdalene in 1542.

The College of Saint Mary Magdalene, Established 1428
Source WikiMedia (PD)

College Motto

Keep your faith
Magdalene College has turned out some incredibly famous and well accomplished names in its years of teaching. C. S. Lewis, famous theologian and author of the Tales of Narnia went to Magdalene College. Mike Newell, director of Four Weddings and a Funeraland Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire also attended, as did Thomas Cramner and Michael Ramsey, both Archbishops of Canterbury.

The front of Magdalene College

Did You Know?

Magdalene was the last Cambridge College to allow female students in 1988. The occasion was marked by male students parading a coffin and wearing black armbands!

Magdalene College backs onto the River Cam
Photo © Andrew Dunn (CC)
There are so many other famous names associated with Magdalene College, but perhaps one that has contributed most to English history, is Samuel Pepys. He was a diarist whose observations on English life have provided us with vital information about the past and the events that occurred during his time. His diaries and letters were donated to the college at his death, and are now housed in the beautiful Pepys library. These include love letters sent from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn.

You pass through a few pretty Courts on your way to the Pepys Library

Pepys Library Sign

Samuel Pepys, most famous for his diary kept during 1660–1669
Source WikiMedia (PD)
The College is also famous for its May Ball. May Balls in all Cambridge colleges are beautiful and highly esteemed events. The May Ball at Magdalene College however, is the most lavish of all. It is one of the only colleges to go to such lengths for its ball, and also to ensure a strict white tie dress code.
Visitor Information
The Pepys Library is open Monday to Saturday from 2.30pm to 3.30pm (and 11.30am to 12.30pm May to August). Entrance is FREE. Magdalene College is open to visitors daily, 9am to 6pm. Entrance is FREE. Tel: 01223 332 100

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