Hughes Hall is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. It is one of four Cambridge colleges which admit only mature students. The majority of Hughes Hall students are postgraduate, although nearly one-fifth of the student population comprises individuals aged 21 and above who are studying undergraduate degree courses at the University.
Hughes Hall is the oldest of the Cambridge colleges which admit only mature students. It was originally founded in 1885 as the Cambridge Training College (CTC) for women, and its first principal was Miss Elizabeth Phillips Hughes. It began with 14 students in a small house in Newnham called Croft Cottage. One of the first matriculants, Molly Thomas, recounted the experience of the first class of students in A London Girl of the 1880s (published under her married name, M.V. Hughes). By 1895 the college moved to its present site, which was designed by the Cambridge architect William Fawcett. Expanding slowly over the next 40 years, the college finally became part of the University in 1949 and was renamed Hughes Hall in honour of its first principal. Hughes Hall became an Approved Foundation of the University in 1985 and achieved full College status in 2006.
The College's first male students arrived in 1973, and students began to arrive to study a wider range of affiliated post-graduate degrees. Student numbers have gradually risen over the eighties and nineties. Today, Hughes Hall has approximately 500 graduate and affiliated and mature (aged over 21) students, of both sexes, studying a wide range of subjects. The college is one of the most international Cambridge colleges, with its students representing over 60 nationalities.
The majority of the Fellows of the college are academics engaged in teaching and research in the various departments and faculties of the University. They come from diverse backgrounds and work in many fields. Students and Fellows mix freely in all aspects of college life. Unusually, Hughes has no special provisions for Fellows at meals or in the use of the college's recreational facilities. All members have many opportunities to share interests and learn from one another in the interdisciplinary environment of the College.
In 2005 Hughes opened a new residential, dining, and meeting building, the Fenners Building, which overlooks the University cricket grounds, also named Fenners. A new Learning Resources Centre, which includes a new library and computer room, was completed in the summer of 2009.
Hughes has many specialities, including students in professional disciplines such as medicine, law, business, and post-graduate studies in education, as well as a disproportionately high number of Cambridge 'Blues' - sports men and women who have excelled in fields including rugby, rowing, cricket, swimming, chess and others.