The Wren Library

The Wren Library is located at the grounds of the Trinity College, which is one of Cambridge’s wealthiest colleges.

The building was designed by Christopher Wren in 1676 and was completed in 1695. The library is famous from its exceptional and incredibly valuable books stored, for example, the first ever copy of Isaac Newton’s text, the Principia Mathematica and two of the oldest folios of Shakespeare’s plays.

Interesting stories

There are no books on the ground floor of the Wren Library in order to resist flooding. During the past decades, the water has risen extremely high and many of the books are completely irreplaceable.

Trinity was the college of Isaac Newton. However, according to the other fellows, he was a notoriously boring man. Newton used to send his students to sleep in their droves with his lectures. It got so bad at one point that students started boycotting his lectures entirely. They said they were too boring, they couldn’t bear to sit through them, it was a breach of their human rights to have to sit through such awful lectures. However, Newton didn’t mind a bit. He was not what you’d call a people-person, and in fact, he preferred mathematics to other humans. As a result, Newton would lecture to empty rooms all by himself and that was how he preferred it. The college tolerated this eccentricity because he would occasionally discover gravity, or another law of thermodynamics, so he was a handy guy to have knocking about the place. So, they still have Newton’s brain preserved in a glass jar here at the library. They’ve written “yes” on one end and “no” on the other. When they’ve got an important decision to make they just shake the jar and see which end the brain floats to.

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