Discover Emmanuel

North Court
Fellows' Garden
New Court and Herb Garden
Old Library
Paddock
Emmanuel House, the Hostel and East Court
Park Lodge
West Front
Master's Lodge
Dining Hall
Westmorland Building
Chapman's Garden
Old Court
South Court
Park Terrace and Camden House
Library
55 St Andrew's Street
Queen's Building
Front Court and Chapel

Click on an area above to find out more

North Court

North Court was constructed between 1911 and 1914. The architect chosen for the prestigious project was Leonard Stokes, who had just completed another successful building for the College (the New Lecture Rooms, now the Library). For North Court, Stokes used a fusion of elements of Arts & Crafts, Tudor and Baroque styles to create a most successful whole. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, the eminent architectural historian, considered it to be one of the finest Edwardian buildings in Cambridge. It was built of stone, cut and shaped to resemble brick, as traditional ashlaring would have resulted in too severe an appearance in such a massive building.

The sunken oval lawn and surrounding paving were also part of Stokes's scheme, and are an unusual example, in Cambridge, of architectural and garden design going hand-in-hand. The beautiful Paulownia tomentosa or foxglove tree (so named for the pale lilac flowers that it bears in May or early June) that extends over most of the lawn, was planted in 1961. The cloister on the western side of the Court was originally single-storey, and open at the sides, but it was altered to its current appearance in the late 1960s.

North Court is usually reached via a Tunnel leading from the cloisters near the Queen's Building, as the Porters' Lodge in Emmanuel Street is no longer in general use. The Tunnel was built at the same time as the Court, and with its attractive green-and-white glazed tiles, displaying a touch of art nouveau, it is a much-loved feature of the College.

North Court was occupied by the armed forces in both the First and Second World Wars. Cadet Officers received instruction in various subjects during 'Short Courses' that lasted about four months; some of the men returned in peacetime to take normal degrees.

Fellows' Garden

This garden was for many years hidden from the Paddock by a high and ancient brick wall, but this was badly damaged by falling trees during a storm in 1895, and was not rebuilt to its former height. The garden contains several notable features, the most prominent being the Oriental Plane. This vast and convoluted tree is thought to have been planted in the 1830s but may be even older. It is one of the finest examples of Platanus orientalis in the United Kingdom, the weeping habit - which is pronounced in this specimen - being uncommon. The tree inspired a famous poem, El árbol, written by the acclaimed Spanish poet Luis Cernuda, who was a teaching assistant at Emmanuel during the Second World War.

The Swimming Pool in the north-eastern corner of the Fellows' garden was constructed in its modern form in the mid-nineteenth century but there has been a water feature on the site since at least 1690 and possibly as early as early as the 1630s, when a branch channel from Hobson's Conduit was laid across the college grounds. Originally the water feature was merely an ornamental pond, as swimming had been forbidden to Cambridge students by a University decree of 1571, and there were severe penalties for transgression. It was not until the mid-1740s, when swimming had become fashionable, that the pond was converted into a bath, and a 'commodious little' bath house, or changing-room, was built at the same time. It was impossible to keep the water in the bath clean, of course, and a painting of the 1840s shows aquatic plants growing in its midst. The bath was completely re-bricked in 1855, and filtration machinery was installed in 1960. The little Georgian bath house was demolished at an unknown date (probably the 1850s) and replaced with the thatched building that can be seen today.

The game of Bowls has been played at Emmanuel since the earliest days of the college. John Aubrey, the famous seventeenth-century antiquary, relates how the 'zealous preachers' of Emmanuel were caught in the act of playing bowls in the Fellows' Garden on the Sabbath. A small wooden cupboard houses a collection of bowls of varying shapes and sizes, some dating from the late eighteenth century; two are inscribed with the name of 'Samuel Blackall', a graduate and Fellow of Emmanuel, who has a minor claim to fame as a would-be suitor of Jane Austen.

Forming part of the boundary between the Fellows' Garden and the Paddock is the remaining part (roughly one-third) of the Jacobean walled Tennis Court, the only survivor of the nine college tennis courts known to have existed in Cambridge in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The building now houses a table-tennis room and a garden store.

New Court and Herb Garden

New Court, like Front Court, contains buildings erected at different dates which nevertheless harmonise well. The range on the northern side of the quadrangle, New Court (which gives its name to the entire court), was built in 1824 to provide residential accommodation. It is constructed of brick rendered to look like stone, and is an attractive example of late-Georgian Gothic Revival architecture. The architect was Charles Humfrey, a flamboyant local character, who later became Mayor of Cambridge but died bankrupt in 1848. The exterior of the building was filmed in October 1979 for the Dr Who episode 'Shada', which remained uncompleted and unbroadcast for many years, but has since been released on various media.

On the western side of New Court is a facade dating from the Founder's time, behind which lie the college Kitchens with (above) an upper dining hall. Apart from this preserved frontage the Elizabethan kitchens, which had been largely rebuilt in 1828 to Arthur Brown's designs, were demolished in 1958, and replaced with a modern range. The doorway to the kitchens in the north-west corner of the court is the only remaining fragment of Brown's building.

On the southern side of New Court is the dining Hall, the interior of which is described more fully elsewhere. Although the Hall was given a new roof when the college was founded in 1584, the walls are medieval, dating from the time when the building was used as the Dominicans' church, and the two supporting buttresses are also of that date. The bay window at the east end of the Hall, by Sir Arthur Blomfield, was added in 1876. The building that forms the eastern side of the court, the Old Library, is described separately.

The court's Herb Garden, complete with asymmetrical cobbled paving, was designed by John Codrington in 1960.

Old Library and Ante-Room

The Old Library forms the eastern side of New Court. Although this lofty building is predominantly Elizabethan in date it is likely to be an adaptation of a Dominican building, for the lower levels of the walls appear to incorporate thirteenth-century masonry. The ground-floor room was originally fitted up as the college chapel, despite (or, more likely, because of) the fact that its north-south orientation was in defiance of orthodoxy. After the consecration of Wren's chapel in 1677, the original chapel was converted into a library, and served that function for more than 250 years. When its contents were moved to the current library in 1930, the Old Library underwent a thorough restoration, which saw the addition of panelling and the discovery, following the removal of plaster, of a fine Elizabethan oak screen at the southern end of the room. The Old Library is now used for lectures, dramatic and musical performances, and social events. The pictures on display include a full-length portrait of the Founder, Sir Walter Mildmay, that was painted for the college in 1588, a year before his death.

The Ante-Room, lying beyond the oak screen, once served as a lobby for the original chapel. It contains an ancient wooden carving representing God the Father flanked by angels, which was formerly the console of an oriel window in a student hostel named God's House, opposite King's College. When the hostel was demolished in 1787 the console was salvaged and brought to Emmanuel by the Master, Richard Farmer, who was a keen antiquarian.

Paddock

This extensive open area is of exceptional historical importance, preserving as it does the footprint of the Dominican precinct, which was established in the 1230s. Although much has changed since that time, the Paddock has has retained its spacious feel, any new buildings having been confined to its perimeter. It was probably used by the Dominicans for grazing livestock, for it is styled 'the Great Close' in the earliest college records. Abutting the eastern boundary, where the Hostel and Emmanuel House now stand, were formerly a stable block and brewhouse. The latter was managed by tenants, who were contracted to supply the college with 'good and wholesome beer, fit for man's body'. These buildings survived until the nineteenth century.

The large Pond was once the Dominicans' fishpond and it still contains a surprising variety of fish, although the most noticeable are the large carp that converge on anyone who approaches the edge of the water. The original oblong shape of the pond was altered to its more attractive curving outline in the mid-1960s, to designs by John Codrington, and the island was created at the same time.

The ducks of Emmanuel are a well-known feature of the college, the annual arrival of ducklings being eagerly awaited by the students. The soft quacking at dusk as the ducks settle to sleep near the pond is often cited by alumni as one of their most nostalgic memories. According to tradition, the polymath Thomas Young, was inspired to postulate the wave-theory of light after observing the criss-cross patterns of ripples created on the surface of the pond by the resident swans.

Close to the entrance to the Paddock from the Chapel cloisters can be seen two unusual chimeric (not hybrid) trees given by a college Fellow. Near the boundary with the Fellows' Garden is a bronze sculpture entitled Jester; both witty and beautiful, it is the work of Wendy Taylor, and was acquired with the help of generous benefactors in 1994.

The Paddock is confined on its southern boundary by a substantial stretch of the original Boundary Wall of the Dominican priory; shorter stretches survive in other parts of the college precinct. The wall, which is noticeably thicker at the base than the top, consists of a core of clunch (the local chalk stone) within a brick casing.

Emmanuel House, the Hostel, the Squash Court and East Court

The Hostel, designed by William Fawcett, was built in 1886-88 to provide affordable accommodation for less well-off students. This scheme was an immediate success and in 1894 the building was doubled in size to designs by John Loughborough Pearson, well known as the architect of Truro Cathedral. His decorative gauged brickwork and brick globes on the Parker Street entrance gates are notable features.

Pearson was also the architect of the adjacent Emmanuel House, which was constructed at the same time as the Hostel extensions. Originally built as lodgings for the Senior Tutor, the house now provides studies for Fellows. The two buildings are pleasing examples of late Victorian red-brick architecture.

To the south-east of the Hostel is another red-brick building, the Squash Court. Replacing an Eton Fives Court of 1875, the Squash Court was designed in 1933 by Alan Munby. It originally consisted of one central squash court flanked by an Eton Fives court and a Rugby Fives court. The latter survives as a store-room, but the Eton court was converted to a second squash court in the 1970s.

A passage was created between the redundant Rugby Fives court and the Squash Court in 1980, to afford access to the newly-acquired East Court. Comprising three nineteenth-century terraced houses (with an extension of 1986 by Nicholas Hare on the site of some stabling and outhouses), East Court forms a peaceful and charming corner of the college precinct.

Park Lodge

At the eastern end of Park Terrace stands a handsome detached house, Park Lodge, which forms the southern side of East Court. Built in about 1840, it is a typical Cambridge villa of its period, being constructed of bricks made from the local gault clay, which typically combines a mixture of yellow and blue-grey tints.

West Front: the Essex Building, Front Slips and New Kitchens

The main entrance to the college, on St Andrew's Street, is situated in the central section of a handsome, pedimented, Georgian building known as the Essex Building. Prior to the 1770s the principal college entrance was via an ornate archway in Emmanuel Street, long since demolished. The buildings that formerly stretched along St Andrew's Street were a hodge-podge of medieval and Elizabethan tenements and courtyards, screened at street level by a high wall. In the mid eighteenth century the decision was taken to demolish these buildings and replace them with a fashionable edifice in the classical style, to help assure parents of all ranks that even a nobleman's son would find the place congenial. The new range was completed in 1775 and is named after its architect, James Essex. As well as raising the profile of the college - unlike Emmanuel Street, St Andrew's Street was a busy thoroughfare, and one of the principal routes into the town - the rebuilding was an aesthetic improvement in one respect at least, because the new entrance was positioned directly opposite Wren's chapel, thus affording a dramatic view of the college's finest building.

Created at the same time at the Essex Building, the Front Slips provide an attractive green barrier between the college and the street, an unusual feature among the older Cambridge colleges. The original railings surrounding the Slips were removed in 1940 for the war effort and not replaced until the mid-1990s. Until a few years ago the Slips contained a variety of mature trees, but an outbreak of honey fungus necessitated their removal, and the opportunity was then taken to completely re-design the garden in a more formal style, with geometric lawns, beds and yew topiary.

Adjoining the Essex Building to the north can be seen the New Kitchens of 1959, designed in a Scottish Lowlands vernacular style by Robert Hurd, who had worked with great success on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The new building was erected at the expense of the Gothic kitchen block of 1828, which had largely replaced an Elizabethan range of buildings. The New Kitchens were consequently a target of the national 'Anti-Ugly Action' group, who protested outside the building. This proved to be the only demonstration they ever staged in Cambridge, despite the fact that many far less attractive buildings were subsequently erected in the town.

Master's Lodge

Designed by Tom Hancock (who went on to design Emmanuel's South Court) and completed in 1964, this Modernist building replaced Arthur Blomfield's red-brick Lodge of the 1870s. Some of the rubble from the demolished Victorian building was use to form a platform, which Hancock made use of in his split-level design.

Hall and Parlour

The impressive dining Hall, flooded with light from its many clear-paned windows, lies on the North side of Front Court. It is one of the oldest surviving parts of the college, and originally served as the church of the Dominican priory that occupied the site from the 1230s. Today the room is arranged after the fashion of a medieval hall, with a 'High Table' for the senior members - the Master and Fellows - on a dais, with benches for the students arranged at right angles to it. The Fellows' dining table was acquired in 1694 and is described in an old inventory as 'all made of English oaken Plank of one entire length except the middle of it which is of Norway plank divided in the middle'. Its purchase was made possible by the generosity of several old members, including the Restoration diplomat, essayist and horticulturalist, Sir William Temple. Their donations provided not only the Fellows' table, but also new wainscotting, glazing, and other furniture, much of which survives to this day.

The interior of the Hall underwent thorough modernisation between 1760 and 1764. This included the construction of the elegantly moulded plaster ceiling which conceals the Elizabethan oak roof trusses. Also of the 1760s are the fine wrought-iron doors from the screens passage, bearing the coats of arms of Hobart and Maynard (presumably the donors). The exterior southern facade of the Hall was also renovated in the 1760s, being faced with ashlar in order to harmonise with other buildings in Front Court.

The room's striking decorative theme, consisting of blue panelling and white plasterwork, picked out with gilding in key areas, was introduced in 1993 under the Mastership of Lord St John of Fawsley. In the mid eighteenth century the Hall was painted in 'chocolate culler', which was replaced by 'Green Olive' in the 1780s. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this was soon replaced by a neutral stone tint. In the twentieth century, eau de nil and heron-grey colour-schemes were tried, but the current shade of blue is adjudged to be more successful.

The two bay windows either side of High Table contain heraldic glass panels of exceptionally fine craftsmanship; those in the lower part of the southern window are late-Elizabethan in date and were acquired by the college in 1781 from Pishiobury Park, Hertfordshire, a former seat of the Mildmay family. They show, from left to right, the arms of families with whom the Mildmays had intermarried: Ratcliffe, Gunston, Waldegrave and Walsingham. The heraldic panels above, and all of those in the northern window, were commissioned in the 1870s and display the arms of early college benefactors.

Adjacent to the Hall, and accessed by a door behind the High Table, is the Parlour. The pictures include a portrait of Richard Farmer by George Romney; Farmer was Master here in the latter part of the eighteenth century, when Emmanuel was the most socially fashionable college in Cambridge. The five stained glass heraldic panels in the northern bay window were set there in 1973. The centre light contains mid-sixteenth-century glass showing the arms of William, Lord Windsor, and was given by an old member of the college. The extreme left-hand light, reportedly rescued from a rubbish heap in Brancepeth church, Durham, in about 1867, was also the gift of an old member. It depicts John of Gaunt's coat of arms and must date between 1372 and 1387, as it displays the arms of the kingdom of Castile and Leon, a title to which Gaunt was laying claim during those years. Of the other stained glass panels, one shows an unidentified coat of arms, and the other two merchants' marks surrounded by fragments of religious texts. All three were acquired by Richard Farmer, who had also been responsible for saving the four Pishiobury glass panels described above, and bringing them to Emmanuel.

Westmorland Building

The range on the south side of Front Court is of early Georgian date in appearance. Although it is sometimes described as having replaced the building known as the Founder's Range, erected by Ralph Simons in the 1580s, it is evident from the partition walls visible through some of the windows that the earlier building, known to have been built by Simons to a high standard, was largely retained. The range was given a new stone facade to match the adjoining chapel, and an additional block was constructed to the rear to provide two small rooms opening off each existing large chamber. The building works were begun in 1719 and finally completed five years later, the resulting 'new' range being named the Westmorland Building in honour of Thomas Fane, 6th Earl of Westmorland, a direct descendant of the Founder and a major contributor (along with his brother John, later 7th Earl) to the building's cost. The Earl is also thought to have contributed the services, as architect, of John Lumley, his overseer at the family's country seat in Northamptonshire. The Westmorland coat of arms, which can be seen above the central doorway, was carved by John Woodward, who charged the college £15. A serious fire damaged the building in 1811, and although it was carefully restored, the stonework of the facade deteriorated over time, some sections having to be replaced in the 1960s.

Chapman's Garden

This attractive garden is named after the Reverend Arthur Chapman, college Fellow and Hebrew scholar, who for more than 50 years had the whole garden to himself, as it could only be reached via his set of rooms (he was, however, a convivial type who welcomed visitors, as witnessed by mid-Victorian photographs showing students sitting in the garden). After Chapman's death in 1913 a passage was created between Front Court and the garden, making it accessible to all.

The broad stream which adds so much to the tranquil atmosphere of the garden, was originally an arrow-straight watercourse constructed in 1631 as a branch channel leading off Hobson's Conduit, the aqueduct that still brings fresh water into the town from the Gog Magog hills. The stream was widened and given a slightly curved shape before the mid-eighteenth century, and this was accentuated in the following century. The water flows through a culvert beneath the red brick building of Old Court into the pond in the Paddock, and on into Christ's Master's Garden, eventually joining the river Cam.

Specimen trees in Chapman's Garden include a fine example of a Metasequoia glyptostroboides, a species at first known only in fossil form, but discovered growing in China towards the end of the Second World War. Emmanuel's tree was germinated from a batch of seeds sent to Professor Frederick Brooks, the college's botany Fellow, in 1948. The celebrated Metasequoia growing in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden came from the same batch of seeds. Another 'fossil' tree, Gingko biloba (Maidenhair Tree) can be seen near the stream.

Old Court

For many years after its construction in 1634, this 'court' was known for many years as the 'Brick Building'. It was built to meet the growing accommodation needs of the college, and its appearance has changed little since then, apart from the removal of decorative gablets from below the dormer windows, and the renewal of a few stretches of brickwork. Although the original builders were competent (the bricklayer, or mason, John Westley, built the East Range at Clare College a few years later, and the carpenter, Henry Man, had designed the Late Gothic Library at St John's) a few corners may have been cut in the construction of Old Court. The builders were authorised to incorporate rubble from an old garden wall, as well as lathes and timber removed from the college tennis court, and 150 years later the building was scathingly described by one of the Fellows as being 'in a tottering state', held together only by its chimneys. The structure was put into good repair and continues to provide student accommodation to this day.

A suite of rooms at the southern end of Old Court has since 1924 housed the annual visiting scholar from Harvard University. John Harvard, de facto founder of the famous Massachusetts university that bears his name, was a graduate of Emmanuel, and while there is no reason to believe that he ever occupied a room in Old Court, he was certainly resident in college during the period of its construction. With its mellow brickwork and low, beamed ceilings, original panelling and mullioned windows, Old Court richly symbolises the college's continuity with its past.

South Court

Designed by Tom Hancock and completed in 1966 (with an extension of 2014), this building contains student accommodation and also houses the single-storey Junior Common Room that links the two wings of the building. Hancock had recently designed the new Master's Lodge at Emmanuel, and South Court was built in a similar Modernist style. In both buildings the external use of concrete was avoided and South Court's low elevation allows it to harmonise successfully with surrounding older buildings. The Clipsham stone string courses and the striking bronze shutters add notes of distinction. Internally the building is arranged by staircases in the traditional fashion of Cambridge colleges, thus avoiding the institutional atmosphere that would have been introduced by the use of corridors.

Park Terrace

This line of fourteen gault-brick, slate-roofed houses, furnished for most of its length with an elegant first-floor wrought-iron balcony, is one of the finest Regency terraces in Cambridge. It was built over a period of several years in the 1830s, although under a single scheme. The entire terrace had been completed before 1838, as it is shown on an engraving of that date depicting the celebrations that took place on Parker's Piece for the coronation of Queen Victoria. Emmanuel purchased Park Terrace from Jesus College in 1982-83 and has gradually converted the properties to students' and Fellows' use, while preserving the individual characteristics of each house and garden. Two detached houses, Park Lodge and Camden House, stand at either end of the terrace, and formed part of the same purchase. Built shortly after the terrace, and using the same building materials, they blend well with, and complement, the row of houses that lies between them.

Library

Designed by the well-known Edwardian architect Leonard Stokes, this handsome building, completed in 1909, was known for more than two decades as the 'New Lecture Rooms', for it was at that time customary for colleges to provide their own lectures, to which junior members of other colleges were invited. When the building was converted to library use in 1930 its length was increased by one-third, which entailed the central turret being moved and enlarged. Stokes had died in 1925, but the extension was designed by his former partner, George Drysdale, who matched the appearance of the original building so exactly that it is impossible to detect the join. The building is a fine example of Stokes's trademark amalgam of Arts & Crafts and other styles, in this case neo-Classical (the lantern) and neo-Tudor (the upper windows). The ground floor window hoods contain delightful decorative stone carvings representing the months of the year: the western windows show the signs of the zodiac, while the eastern windows, added by Drysdale in 1930, display the heads of twelve Roman deities and emperors surrounded by appropriate motifs, such as ears of corn, holly and mistletoe. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, an admirer of Stokes, drew attention to the vivacious parapet. The Library was extended in 1974, but the extra space thus provided eventually became inadequate and a new extension was constructed in 2010. Designed by Kilburn Nightingale, it offers individual study places, meeting rooms, and up-to-date research facilities.

55 St Andrew's Street

In 1899 the college acquired a detached house adjoining the southern boundary of the college, but separated from it by its high garden wall.

In the mid 1960s, when the South Court site was being developed, this wall was demolished, and 55 St Andrew's Street was integrated into the college precinct. The house, which has a frontage on St Andrew's Street, mainly dates from the early 1820s (with some later sympathetic alterations that included the demolition of an ugly office extension), but it has a much older rear wing that cannot be later than the seventeenth century, and may be earlier, for it matches the footprint of the house as marked on John Hamond's 1592 map of Cambridge.

Queen's Building

This striking stone building, rectangular in shape with semi-circular ends, was designed by Sir Michael and Lady (Patty) Hopkins, and was opened and named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in April 1995. It had been commissioned in 1992 by the Master, Lord St John of Fawsley, the foundation stone being laid by HRH The Princess of Wales on 11 November 1993. Lord St John described the building as 'a splendid counterpoint to the Chapel. It is built of load-bearing Ketton stone mined from the same quarry as the stone which Wren used so skilfully'. The building's construction features 28 compressed, preloaded stone columns, each with a pre-stressed stainless steel rod passing through it to counteract stress. The rods can be seen in the 'portholes' or 'eyelets' on the outside, and can be removed by disconnecting them in sections, if replacements become necessary. The stone panels between the columns are thinner, being non-structural.

The Queen's Building was designed to provide facilities for the public side of college life, and contains seminar rooms, music practice rooms, and a 150-seat raked auditorium equipped for lectures, conferences, music and drama. Besides serving the college's needs, various rooms in the building can be hired for corporate and private events.

Chapel, Cloisters and Gallery

To pass through the wrought-iron entrance gates adjoining the Porters' Lodge on St Andrew's Street is to be instantly transported from a busy twenty-first-century urban scene to the timeless tranquillity of Emmanuel's Front Court. Although the initial impression of the court is that the buildings are all part of a unified scheme, this is a deliberately created illusion wrought mainly by the use of the same building material, for the four sides of the court date from quite different periods. The Medieval Hall, on the north side of the court, and the Westmorland Building on the south, an early-eighteenth-century re-working of an Elizabethan building, are described elsewhere, as is the Essex Building of the 1780s, on the western side of the court. All three of these ranges were built, or re-faced, with Ketton stone in the eighteenth century, in order to harmonise with the college chapel, which forms the fourth side of the court.

Usually referred to for convenience simply as 'the Chapel', the range of buildings on the east side of Front Court comprises not only the Chapel proper, but also a stretch of Cloisters, above which is a Long Gallery. Designed by Christopher Wren, this suite of buildings is without question Emmanuel's architectural jewel, and has become the classic image of the college.

The chapel is an early work of Wren's. His services as architect were secured by William Sancroft, Master of Emmanuel from 1662 to 1665, who became Dean of St Paul's Cathedral not long before it burned down in the Great Fire of London. Sancroft had become acquainted with Wren even before the Great Fire, and of course, worked closely with him afterwards on the new cathedral. Having been invited to design Emmanuel's new chapel, Wren sent the college a wooden model of the proposed building (which has not survived), and presumably he also submitted drawings, one of which, showing the proposed front elevation, survives in the possession of All Souls' College, Oxford. Wren, busy in London after the Great Fire, was not able to personally supervise the building works at Emmanuel, although he did visit the college in October 1668, in the early stages of the construction. His design was departed from in some respects, the most noticeable change being the building material, for Wren envisaged only the central section of the range being of stone, the rest of the building being constructed of red brick, with stone detailing. In the event, the college decided to use the more expensive material throughout. The windows in Wren's design were narrower and more elegant than those actually built, and while the central arch in the cloisters was originally constructed to Wren's design (i.e. uniform in size with the flanking arches), it was significantly widened in 1677, to give it more prominence. The construction of the whole length of the Gallery across the front of the Chapel, masking it, yet appearing to present its facade in the centre, is characteristic of Wren's ambiguity. The fine stone used to build the chapel came from the quarry at Ketton, in Rutland; it has an attractive pink tinge, particularly noticeable in rain.

The exterior of the chapel range was completed in 1673, as attested by the datestone above the clock, but the chapel itself was not ready for use until 1677, when a consecration ceremony was held. Even then, work on the interior fixtures and fittings took several more years to complete. Christopher Wren did not, so far as we know, have a hand in the design of the superb decorative plaster ceiling by John Grove, (completed in 1672) but he may have chosen Messrs Peirce and Oliver of London to design the stalls and panelling, for he worked with them on several other buildings; their designs for Emmanuel's chapel were skilfully executed by Cornelius Austin, of Cambridge, in 1678. The reredos and handsome carved altar-rail were completed in 1687 and their style and quality suggest that they may also be the work of Edward Pierce.

The large oil-painting showing the Return of the Prodigal Son (an unusual choice of subject for an altar-piece) is by Pietro Amigoni, and was given by Christopher Nevile, a fellow-commoner student, in 1734. Another member of the college, Robert Trefusis, gave in 1764 the tall altar candlesticks, made by Frederick Kandler of St James's, London. The silver altar cross, which follows their design, is by Howard Brown of Norwich, and was commissioned as a memorial to the Emmanuel men who died in the Second World War. The glass chandelier was presented in 1732 by Sir Edward Hulse, Physician-in-Ordinary to George II. Both he and his father had been educated at Emmanuel, and Sir Edward's son had also recently been admitted to the college. It was probably around this time that the foliated ornament around the central ceiling-boss was added, for it is in a later style than the rest.

The stained glass windows, by Heaton Butler & Bayne of Covent Garden, one of the leading manufacturers of Gothic Revival stained glass, were installed in 1884; prior to this the windows had contain clear glass. The themes - the continuity of the Christian church and the part played in its history by Emmanuel men - were chosen by the Revd Fenton Hort, Emmanuel Fellow, Hulsean Professor of Divinity and renowned New Testament scholar. The two windows on each side, nearest the altar, represent Early Fathers and notable Reformation scholars and martyrs: St Anselm and St Augustine, Origen and Eriugena, John Fisher and Thomas Cranmer, John Colet and William Tyndale. The remaining windows depict distinguished Emmanuel theologians: Laurence Chaderton, the first Master of Emmanuel, and John Harvard, one of its best-known early alumni; Cambridge Platonists Benjamin Whichcote, Peter Sterry and John Smith; and prominent senior churchmen William Bedell, William Sancroft and William Law.

The Cloister beneath the Gallery lends a monastic air; not inappropriately, since there may have been a cloister in the area of Front Court when the site was occupied by the Dominicans. Within the cloister, memorial stones to several Masters, Fellows and undergraduates of the college can be seen on the walls and in the paving. At the southern end of the cloister is the War Memorial. Sculpted by Ernest Gillick, it consists of a Purbeck Marble slab on which are incised the college coat of arms and the names of the Emmanuel men who died in the First World War.

The Gallery is one of Emmanuel's most beautiful rooms. It extends above the whole length of the cloister and was formerly considered part of the Master's Lodgings. The appearance of the panelling has undergone many changes; painted a bright olive green in the eighteenth century, the woodwork was stripped in the nineteenth and not repainted until the middle of the twentieth, when it was decided to restore the olive tint. This colour proved universally unpopular, and was replaced with a more attractive shade of green by instruction of the Master (Lord St John of Fawsley) in the 1990s.The Gallery is used for college functions and meetings of the Governing Body. The walls are hung with fine examples of late-sixteenth and seventeenth-century portraits of college members and benefactors.