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Disability Resource Centre


Contact Details

Silver Street,
Cambridge, CB3 9EU
01223 335 675
01223 335 667

Access Issues


Dr Sara Baker (Deputy Dean) via the Deanery (details as above)


Location, Services and Transport

Just outside city centre, near the Backs. Approximately five minutes walk to city centre and Sidgwick Site, ten minutes walk to the Downing Site and New Museums Site, and ten minutes walk to the University Library.


Traffic is restricted along Silver Street. From 6am–10am inbound traffic only is allowed, and 4pm to midnight outbound traffic only. Otherwise the road is closed to most traffic. Service vehicles, taxis, buses and disabled drivers can obtain permits to lower the barriers.

Services and shops

City centre. There are various shops, restaurants, snack bars and pubs, as well as the University Centre, in nearby Mill Lane and on Newnham Corner, within a few minutes walking distance.


Parking is extremely limited on College sites. There is some parking near a hostel on Newnham Road. Parking permits for disabled students are negotiable.

Other transport options

The Uni 4 and Citi 4 bus stops outside the College in Silver Street.

General Information

Student population is 672 postgraduates. A postgraduate College for men and women, located near the city centre, the river, and large parks. Extensive building work to improve disabled access and facilities is ongoing.


No smoking in public areas, student rooms or hostels. Smoking is allowed in designated and signed parts of the grounds only.

Medical facilities

Darwin students can access the Queens’ College nurse. First aiders available.

Emergency procedures

Advise porters' lodge if you will need help evacuating in an emergency. There is an evacuation chair.

Accommodation and Catering

Wheelchair-accessible rooms

Some accessible accommodation in nearby hostels, and more will shortly be available on the main site. Discuss any adaptations you may need well in advance.

Other rooms

Most rooms for disabled students are en suite. There are several ground floor rooms in hostels.

Live-in assistants and assistance dogs

Live-in assistants and dogs can be accommodated, but discuss your needs well in advance.

Early induction and vacation stays

As a graduate College, length of occupation is flexible. Early induction and staying over vacation is negotiable.

Catering arrangements

Cafeteria serves breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, and brunch at weekends in the dining hall. Payment is made on a monthly bill. Every set of accommodation has a good kitchen, and full self-catering is certainly possible.

Special diets

Some special diets can be accommodated, with notice. Speak to the Executive Chef. Foods potentially affecting nut allergies are highlighted.


Physical Access

College grounds in general

Main (front) entrance, leading to most public areas, has four steps up with handrail. A wheelchair lift is being installed currently at the garden entrance. Level access through gate on Newnham Road (hall and garden) and at the side entrance on Silver Street (library/study centre and garden).

College buildings in general

Main public areas are off one corridor in the main building, which has four steps up from ground level. Access is possible via a service lift to the main and upper levels, and shortly via the lift at the garden entrance to the main level. There is a separate library and study centre, which has level access from the garden.


Level access from main corridor. Smooth and spacious inside, with a fairly low bar counter. Low tables and moveable chairs and stools. New disabled toilet near bar and main entrances.


Located next to dining hall. Service lift from outside, but arrange this with the porters in advance. Room for a wheelchair, and staff will help.


No chapel.

College offices

Tutorial offices (in Darwin this is known as The Deanery) are on the first floor, but staff can easily arrange meetings elsewhere in the College as necessary. Most other College offices are on the ground floor off the main corridor.

Common rooms

Games room next to bar, with level access from main corridor. TV room accessible from garden bridge entrance with assistance, or else is four steps down from main corridor. The parlour, old library and reading room have level access from main corridor, and are spacious inside.

Computer facilities

These are spacious inside.

Dining hall

On first floor, up a flight of carpeted stairs with handrail. Service lift from outside, but arrange this with the porters in advance. Large, smooth and spacious, with moveable furniture.

Fellows' areas

Fellows' study on first floor, with stair access only.


Level access from main gate or side entrance. Uneven slabbed paving. Bridge over river (with steps only) to islands. There are proposals for a second wheelchair-friendly bridge to the islands.


Accessible from garden bridge entrance or down four steps from main corridor. Separate laundries in hostels.


Level access from garden. Two levels, with stairs only to upper level. Steps to higher bookshelves. One accessible work table area downstairs. Only staffed for six hours each week, so call in advance to arrange an assisted visit if necessary. Disabled toilet.

Porters' Lodge and post room

Level access from main corridor. Undergoing major refurbishment to improve access and security.

Sport facilities

Fitness room accessible from garden bridge entrance or down four steps from main corridor. Keypad access. No college-owned sports fields, but there are arrangement to share tennis courts and sports facilities with other Colleges, including boathouse for rowing. The College has a Punt Club operating five punts, and some canoes and kayaks, from the main domus.


Disabled toilet on main corridor, and another in library and study centre.


  • The Reading Room has level access from main corridor. Low tables and most seats have armrests.
  • The Old Library, used for meetings, has level access from main corridor.
  • The Old Bursary and Hermitage seminar rooms are used for supervisions and have level access from main corridor.
  • No 1 Newnham Terrace seminar rooms are accessible up two steps from the garden and a short flight (six steps) of stairs.

Visual Impairments

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs welcome.

Computer facilities

Special hardware or software for visually impaired users is acquired as necessary.

Large print, Braille and audio

Large print letters and information on request. The College are improving signage to include tactile signing.

Library and magnification equipment

No special facilities for text enlargement. Very good lighting, with large windows. Photocopiers are located in the main building.

Signs and wayfinding

Some directional signposting. This is being improved and augmented. The College is small and constructed around a single main corridor spine, so wayfinding is not a problem.


  • Excellent lighting in hall, library and main public areas.
  • No barriers or warnings around river access points, so care essential especially at night.
  • Glass doors between garden and main building are currently being automated but beware as they are sometimes hard to see.

Hearing Impairments

Induction loops

Induction loop being installed in the porters' lodge. Portable induction loop for use in Old Library and supervision rooms being acquired.


Visual or sensory alarms have been used previously and are moved and installed as required.


  • There is some traffic noise from Silver Street, and in summer the commercial punts outside on the river can be very noisy, though for a short duration.
  • The reading room is a designated quiet area (no mobile phones or laptops).

Specific Learning Difficulties and Mental Health Issues

Arrangements for students with Specific Learning Difficulties are on an individual basis, in conjunction with the Disability Resource Centre. Discuss your needs with the Deanery or appointed Dean (tutor).

Planned Access Improvements

Major building work currently underway to improve access to the main building, including installing a wheelchair lift, further induction loops and improved signage.

The information on this page is the responsibility of Darwin College. The DRC updates information as it is received from the college, this document was last updated on 27th June 2018. To ensure the information contained here is current, please check with Darwin College.