Gibbs Building marks 300th anniversary


On 25 March the iconic Gibbs Building at the heart of King’s College will be 300 years old. Over the coming year the College will celebrate three centuries of Gibbs, and the men and women who have lived and worked in the building.

Of great historic, architectural and cultural significance, Gibbs is the second-oldest building in King’s and a Grade I listed world-class heritage asset. With the Chapel it creates one of Cambridge’s best-known views, recognised by millions around the world.

The foundation stone was laid on 25 March 1724 and marked the continuation of the original vision of Henry VI, the College’s founder. The first occupants of the building - named after the architect James Gibbs who designed it - moved in in 1732, and ever since it has been central to the College’s academic and cultural life.

Over the years notable occupants have included the poet Rupert Brooke, ghost story writer MR James, painter, critic and member of the Bloomsbury Group Roger Fry, and Dean Eric Milner-White who devised the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The infamous incident when Karl Wittgenstein threatened Karl Popper with a poker took place during a heated philosophical debate in Gibbs in 1946.

The building has also been the venue for countless student supervisions and nerve-wracking admissions interviews, and continues to be where many King’s Fellows research and teach, in their own rooms and in shared space for supervisions and larger groups.

The Gibbs Building underwent external renovation in 2016, but the interior is now in urgent need of repair and restoration and to be made more energy efficient. A fundraising appeal, the Gibbs 300th Anniversary Challenge, is being launched by King’s to mark the anniversary.

Read more about the Gibbs Building, its extraordinary history and the role it plays today here; and about the events of 25 March 1724 in a piece by the College Librarian, Gibbs, Groats and Gowns: Celebrating the Tercentenary of the Gibb’s Building, here


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