Clare College Cambridge

October 2011 - 100 year old freshers

October heralds the start of the new academic year and the end of the summer, but for many school leavers it represents the chance to make new friends, explore new places and the chance to live away from home for the first time. During the first week of university, thousands of 'Freshers' will be attending endless gatherings and parties, signing up to all sorts of weird and wonderful university and college societies at the Freshers' Fair and partaking in all the necessary events to assert their position at their new place of study. One such event is the annual taking of the matriculation photograph which shows all new undergraduates of a College together.

However, despite Clare's age, the earliest matriculation photograph that is held in the College archives only dates to 1911. It is likely though that the practice of taking matriculation photographs at Clare began much earlier if it is taken in to account that some of the other student group photographs in the College archives date back to the 1860's.  

Below is a copy of the 1911 matriculation photograph held in the Clare College archives and it is instantly apparent how greatly the appearance of these undergraduates differs to today's undergraduates. Apart from the obvious and often amusing changes in hair styles and fashion that can be seen in the College's matriculation photographs, more significant differences can also be noted. Freshers stopped wearing mortarboards in matriculation photographs during the 1930's, matriculation photographs began to be taken in colour in the early 1980's and of course the admission of women to the College in 1972 have all led to some of the greatest differences in appearance of matriculation photographs.