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Parker's Piece is a flat and very roughly square green common located near the centre of Cambridgemarker, Englandmarker. The two main walking and cycling paths across it run diagonally, and the single lamp-post at the junction is commonly known as Reality Checkpointmarker. The area is bounded by Park Terracemarker, Parksidemarker, Gonville Placemarker, and Regent Terracemarker.

The grass is well manicured and it is known today chiefly as a spot for picnics and games of football and cricket, and serves as the games field for nearby Parkside Community Collegemarker. Fairs tend to be held on the rougher ground of Midsummer Commonmarker.

The coronation feast of 1838.
In 1838, a feast for 15,000 guests was held on Parker's Piece to celebrate the coronation of Queen Victoria.


Before 1613, the site of Parker's Piece was owned by Trinity Collegemarker. In that year, the college exchanged the land — at that time located well outside the town — with the town of Cambridge for the majority of Garret Hostel Green, an island on the River Cammarker, and the site of the current Wren Library, Trinity Collegemarker. It was subsequently named after a college cook, Edward Parker, who obtained the rights to farm on it.

As a cricket ground, Parker's Piece was used for first-class matches from 1817 to 1864.

In the 19th century it was one of the principal sports grounds used by students at the University of Cambridgemarker and the site of numerous Varsity Matches against Oxfordmarker.

Parker's Piece and football

In the 19th century, football was also commonly played on this ground, as is described in the following quotation from George Corrie, Master of Jesus College (1838): "In walking with Willis we passed by Parker's Piece and there saw some forty Gownsmen playing at football. The novelty and liveliness of the scene were amusing!"

Rules of football

Main article: Cambridge rules.

Parker's Piece has a special place in the history of modern football games, as it was here that the Cambridge Rules of 1848 were first put into practice. They were very influential in the creation of the modern rules of Association Football, drawn up in Londonmarker by The Football Association in 1863. A plaque has been mounted at Parker's Piece bearing the following inscription:

Modern passing tactics

The move by the Cambridge University AFC away from Parker's Piece in 1882 coincided with the side's significant role in the development of the modern passing, combination game. In a detailed investigation in to the evolution of football tactics based upon contemporary accounts, Adrian Harvey refers to the teams responsible for the early development of the passing game (including Sheffield, The Royal Engineers and Queens Park) but comes to the following conclusion about the finished, modern team product: "Curiously, the side that was generally credited with transforming the tactics of association football and almost single-handedly inventing the modern game was not a professional team but the Cambridge University XI of 1882. Contemporaries described Cambridge as being the first "combination" team in which each player was allotted an area of the field and played as part of a team in a game that was based upon passing". In a discussion by CW Alcock on the history of a "definite scheme of attack" and "elaborate combination" in football playing style, he states in 1891: "The perfection of the system which is in vogue at the present time however is in a very great measure the creation of the last few years. The Cambridge University eleven of 1882 were the first to illustrate the full possibilities of a systematic combination giving full scope to the defence as well as the attack"


Image:ISH WC Cambridge15.jpg|Looking towards Our Lady and the English Martyrs ChurchmarkerImage:Parker's Piece toilets Cambridge 01.jpgImage:Parker's Piece toilets Cambridge 02.jpgImage:Parker's Piece toilets Cambridge 04.jpgImage:Cambridge Parkers Piece Bicycle Racks.jpgImage:Reality Checkpoint Cambridge England.jpg

See also


  1. List of first-class matches on Parker's Piece
  2. C.U.A.F.C. History
  3. BBC Cambridgeshire - Football - Cambridge Rules
  4. Association Football, chapter by CW Alcock, The English Illustrated Magazine 1891, page 287

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