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The front door of the Hawks' Club at 18 Portugal Place, Cambridge

The Hawks' Club is a members-only social club for sportsmen at the University of Cambridgemarker. It was founded in 1872.


Eligibility criteria

Application for membership is open to any man who is either a member of any college at the University of Cambridgemarker or who has been admitted ad eundem to the University. He must have spent at least one term in residence, and must have earned a Full Blue, Half Blue or Second Team Colours (in a full blue sport) by representing the University against Oxfordmarker in a Varsity match.

Election process

Prospective members are elected in the style of a traditional English gentlemen's club. Two "no" votes will reject an applicant, and he may not be proposed again at a later date.

Members are admitted for life. The number of Hawks-in-residence at the University is limited to 230, not including MAs; there are several thousand members worldwide.

Honorary Hawks

Occasionally, individuals are admitted as an Honorary Hawk without fulfilling the above criteria (for example HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who did not study at Cambridge).

Dining Rights Club

Since 1993 individuals have also been elected to the Hawks Dining Rights Club. Members may use the clubhouse but do not become Hawks. Neither the Cambridge-only nor the men-only restrictions apply in this case, and the majority of members of this type are local business people and professionals. There are slightly fewer dining rights members than Hawks-in-residence, and the number peaked at 160 in 1998.


The Club colours are maroon and gold; members may wear the Club tie. Honorary members and Dining rights members wear a plain tie with a gold Hawk.


The Junior Committee consists of a President, Honorary Secretary and eight ordinary members, and is elected each academic year by the Hawks-in-residence. The 2008-2009 Junior Committee are: Mike Collins (President), Andy Owen (Secretary), Humphrey Waddington, Danny Ryan, Benoit Ramsay, David Saunders, Ryan Harper, Dan O'Shaughnessy, Russ Glenn and Scott MacLennan. A Senior Committee exists of old Hawks who guide the Club's development, and includes the President and Honorary Secretary of the Junior Committee.


The Hawks' Club was formed in 1872 when a proposal to allow members of other colleges into the St John's College Eagles club was rejected. This led to the Hawks' being set up as an equivalent club university-wide. In its early history it was primarily a cricket club but by the turn of the century other sports were well-represented.

As is common with student-run organisations, records are patchy in places and old lists of presidents and members have long been lost. The record is better for the period 1889-1963, as during this time a picture of each year's president was added to a display in the clubhouse, and these have survived to the present day. During the 1950s a number of subsequently notable sportsmen were presidents, and several are listed below.

It is not known whether a Blue was originally a prerequisite for membership; some early presidents do not appear to have competed against Oxford in any sport. However, the personal 'suitability' of candidates for membership does not appear to have changed since the Club was founded. The Club website states that "Candidates have to be clubbable" (i.e. "clubbable" in the sense of a traditional gentlemen's club) and "the Hawks' Club remains unashamedly elite", claiming to include only "the top one per cent" of University sportsmen.


The dining room laid for lunch

The clubhouse was originally on Trinity Streetmarker, but by the 1890s it had moved to a St John's Collegemarker property in All Saints' Passage. It remained there until 1966 when financial troubles meant the property had to be sold, despite surviving through both world wars, during which the Club was closed. After this it briefly occupied the same premises as the Pitt Club, until conflicts of interest regarding the differing objectives of the two clubs made this no longer possible.

There was no clubhouse until 1986, when a four-storey building at 18 Portugal Place became available. This property was bought by a group of members, who restored it from its previous existence as a dilapidated hotel staff hostel. The restored clubhouse was opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in October 1992. It consists of a bar, members' lounge, dining room space for some 25-30 people, and the Club steward's flat on the top floor.


Hawks' Charitable Trust

The Club actively supports students who have financial difficulties keeping up their sport. Each year the Club awards a number of bursaries to members of the University under the auspices of the Hawks' Charitable Trust. These awards are equally available to both men and women, and total several thousand pounds each year.


The Club sponsors Rumboogie, an event each Wednesday evening at the Cambridge nightclub Ballare (more commonly known as Cindie's to the student population). The Club also sponsors "Resurrection", an event each Sunday evening at "The Place" (otherwise known as "Life"). At the end of each Michaelmas term it hosts a dinner in London for its members, usually at one of the large hotels, the night before the Varsity Rugby Match. It also hosts an event each June during May Week in the style of a Cambridge May Ball - "the Hawks' Event", at Fenner's Cricket Ground, which is organised and run by the Committee. In recent years, a "Hawks' Charity Dinner" has been held in Lent term, supporting various local charities. This year's dinner is being held in King's College Great Hall and is supporting 'Campus Children's Holidays' and 'Jimmy's Night Shelter' - two Cambridge based charities with many University student volunteers.

Club Awards

In 2004 two Club awards were introduced: Hawk of the year and Team of the year:

The Hawk magazine

An old boys magazine called The Hawk is published aperiodically. The most recent issue is No. 9, published in October 2005. The magazine includes, among other things, news of current University teams and results, obituaries of notable members, and Club notices.

Reciprocal clubs

Members have various reciprocal rights with a number of similar clubs around the world.

  • Cardiff and County Club, Cardiff, UK
  • City University Club, London, UK
  • Durban Club, Durban, South Africa
  • Embassy Club, Iowa, USA
  • The Graduate Club, New Haven, USA
  • Leander Clubmarker, Henley-on-Thamesmarker, UK
  • Melbourne Savage Club, Melbourne, Australia
  • Nottingham Club, Nottingham, UK
  • Oxford and Cambridge Clubmarker, London, UK
  • Pretoria Country Club, Waterkloof, South Africa
  • The Princeton Club, New York, USA
  • Rand Club, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • University Club of Rochester, New York, USA
  • University Club of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • Vincent’s Club, Oxford, UK

Notable members

Looking down the staircase at the Club's premises on Portugal Place

See also

External links


  • The Hawk, editors Kolbert, C. and Hyde, A., No. 9 (October 2005), published by The Hawks Club.
  • Rules of the Hawks' Club (May 2003)


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