The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies about 50 miles (80 km) north-northeast of London and is surrounded by a number of smaller towns and villages. It is also at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen.
Cambridge is best known for the University of Cambridge, which includes the renowned Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two, along with the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital in the far south of the city and St John's College Chapel tower in the north. The city's name is pronounced [keɪmbrɪdZ], as opposed to another Cambridge in Gloucestershire, England, which is pronounced [kæmbrɪdZ].
According to the 2001 United Kingdom census, the City's population was 108,863 (including 22,153 students), and the population of the urban area (which includes parts of South Cambridgeshire district) is estimated to be 130,000.
In 1209, students escaping from hostile townspeople in Oxford fled to Cambridge and formed a university there. The oldest college that still exists, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284. One of the most impressive buildings in Cambridge, King's College Chapel, was begun in 1446 by King Henry VI. The project was completed in 1515 during the reign of King Henry VIII.
Cambridge University Press originated with a printing license issued in 1534. Hobson's Conduit, the first project to bring clean drinking water to the town centre, was built in 1610 (by the Hobson of Hobson's choice). Parts of it survive today. Addenbrooke's Hospital was founded in 1766. The railway and station were built in 1845. According to legend, the University dictated their location: well away from the centre of town, so that the possibility of quick access to London would not distract students from their work. However, there is no basis for this in written record.
Despite having a university, Cambridge was not granted its city charter until 1951. Cambridge does not have a cathedral, which was traditionally a pre-requisite for city status.
Cambridge is now one of East Anglia's major settlements, along with Norwich, Ipswich and Peterborough. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the size of the city was greatly increased by several large council estates planned to hold London's overspill. The biggest impact has been on the area north of the river, which is now home to the estates of Arbury, East Chesterton and King's Hedges, whilst there are many smaller estates to the south of the city.
Drawing on its links with the University, the Cambridge area today is sometimes referred to as Silicon Fen, due to the growth of high tech businesses and technology incubators that have sprung up in the series of science parks and other developments in and around the city. Such companies include CSR, world leader in Bluetooth chips, Acorn Computers (now ARM) and Sinclair. Cambridge was also the home of Pye Limited famous in the last century for early wireless and TV sets. In later years Pye evolved into several other companies including Pye Telecommunications (now Sepura, famous for TETRA radio equipment). Another major business is Marshall Aerospace located on the eastern edge of the city. Such businesses and their early stage precursors are well networked within the Cambridge Network.
The University was joined by the larger part of Anglia Ruskin University, and the educational reputation has led to other bodies (such as the Open University in East Anglia) basing themselves in the city.