Cambridge CB2 4AG, England
When visiting Cambridge, people can take a punt along the Cam, or saunter along to the village of Grantchester (pronounced Granchester). Along with a number of beautiful buildings and a rich history, it has the curious distinction of having the highest concentration of Nobel Laureates anywhere in the world!
The footpath to Cambridge that runs beside Grantchester Meadows is nicknamed the Grantchester Grind. Grantchester Grind is the title of a 1995 comic novel written by Tom Sharpe. Further upstream is Byron’s Pool, named after Lord Byron, who is said (by Brooke, at least) to have swum there. The pool is now below a modern weir where the Bourn Brook flows into the River Cam. Byron’s Pool is a Local Nature Reserve.
Grantchester is the subject of “Grantchester Meadows” (composed and performed by Roger Waters) a song by Pink Floyd, with the village being home to band member David Gilmour. The village is also the setting for James Runcie’s sleuth novels The Grantchester Mysteries, now adapted as an ITV drama titled Grantchester shown in the UK from autumn 2014 and filmed on location in Grantchester.
Grantchester is said to have the world’s highest concentration of Nobel Prize winners, most of these presumably being current or retired academics from the nearby University of Cambridge. Students and tourists often travel from Cambridge by punt to picnic in the meadows or take tea at The Orchard. In 1897, a group of Cambridge students persuaded the owner of Orchard House to serve them tea in its apple orchard, and this became a regular practice.
Lodgers at Orchard House included the Edwardian poet Rupert Brooke, author of the 1914 poem “The Soldier” who later moved next door to the Old Vicarage. In 1912, while in Berlin, he wrote a poem of homesickness entitled “The Old Vicarage, Grantchester”. The house is currently the home of the Cambridge scientist Mary Archer and her husband, Jeffrey Archer. Grantchester has been the home since 1969 of the sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld OBE.