Cambridge's Best Doors


“As one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” This phrase is attributed to Alexander Graham Bell, and provides insight into such vast and complex themes as life, opportunities, and doors.

I’d like to focus on this last one, because I often think to myself what a poor description Bell gave of how doors tend to work. Don’t get me wrong - as you close one door another may very well happen to open, but I think expecting this to always occur is frankly not a reasonable way to look at doors.

Therefore, through a poorly-designed segue, I’ll be using this article to shine a light on Cambridge’s doors and which I deem to be the very best using my arbitrary scale. You’ve had bridges and clocks, and now it’s time for a review of Cambridge’s best doors – as you can see, it’s a tightly logical sequence. But before I start, you may well be expecting some puns (the key ingredient of any review) and don’t worry I can handle the situation, but we must remember that this doesn’t mean an article’s worth should hinge on its puns alone.

Up first is this Trinity door which has a lovely semi-circular set of steps

before it, two fine-looking pillars on either side and an ornate decoration above. There’s also a roomy alcove before the door and while alcoves are not everyone’s cup of tea, I think they can be a nice feature.

Now I know what you’re thinking: that’s all very well and good Andrew, but what about the door? What about the door indeed, for I’m afraid to report that it’s hardly a beautiful specimen. Lurking in the shadows is a rather old, shabby and just unremarkable door. One wonders whether the vast array of decoration is simply a form of distraction.

5.92 / Over-compensating decoration

This door in Peterhouse does a pretty good job at being a door, with a neat symmetry and elegance. One thing I would like to briefly discuss is the keyhole. I understand that this particular design of keyhole may not appeal to everyone but overall, I’d say I’m in favour of it. I think it’s a nice, eye-catching feature and has a nice impact.

Although some may still say that the door is a bit plain and dull, I’d like to point out the caution sign which warns of changing floor levels. If changing floor levels doesn’t say danger and excitement, then I don’t know what does.

7.8 / Keyhole controversy

And here is a door that I found in Gonville and Caius on Google Street View (as a serious journalist, I decided to write a review of places in Cambridge while not myself being in those places).

At this point you probably think I’m starting to scrape the barrel - but just you wait until I review barrels. I’m not quite sure what’s behind this door, but I think that just adds to the mystery. Because, yes ‘F’ could just refer to an alphabetical labelling system but it could also refer to many other things, like ‘Fiefdom’, ‘Fishery’ or ‘Folklore’.

8.? / The unknowable nature of doors, ourselves and the universe

While there are, indeed, many more doors that I would adoor to review, I feel that’s probably enough for one article – there is, after all, only so much time I can justifiably spend reviewing doors. So did we find the best door in Cambridge, or did we maybe find ourselves along the way?

Maybe we found neither of the above things, but there were at least some puns involved. With that, I also draw to a close the trilogy of these strange Cambridge reviews. “Trilogy?” you ask with a furrowed brow (and if you’re not asking that because you don’t care, humour me). I suppose you’ll just have to read the next issue to find out whether there is another review, because who knows what will happen. I certainly don’t…