The Eagle Pub has a long and interesting history. First opened in 1667 during the era of the Great Fire of London and the Black Death, it was originally a coaching inn. During the Second World War, it was particularly popular with the airmen stationed on the airfields dotted around the city. If you take a look in the RAF bar out the back, you can still see graffiti on the ceiling, made by the RAF and US aircrews who scorched their names with candles and cigarette lighters. Today the Eagle is a popular watering hole for students and locals alike.
The reason why we are talking about The Eagle, and not one of Cambridge’s 119 other pubs, is because it stands as clear proof of Cambridge as a place of innovation. It was in this very pub, on the 28 February 1953, that Cambridge scientists James Watson and Francis Crick first announced they had ‘discovered the secret of life’ – DNA to them, Deoxyribonucleic acid to the rest of us.
The point is that discoveries are not just made in labs. Over the years many a scientific theory, literary argument or advance in medicine has been chewed over and perfected in the pubs of Cambridge. It is that sort of place.
Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and, more recently, Stephen Hawking all studied here. Astonishingly, Cambridge has produced over 80 Nobel Prize winners. And it’s not just the sciences; the list of world-class authors, politicians and academics who have been to Cambridge goes on forever. You might have heard of some of these celebs: Emma Thompson, Jeremy Paxman, Konnie Huq, David Attenborough, Rachel Weisz, and Ben Miller. They probably all had a pint in this very pub – though probably not at the same time… that would be one extraordinary party.
The Eagle Pub