The world of Tom Wilde

Thomas Wilde, usually known as Tom, is a history professor at Cambridge University. He has rooms in college, but he also has a small house to the north-east of the city, next door to the rather grander property of his good friend Lydia Morris.

He rides a 500cc Rudge Special motorbike, a fabulous machine capable of 100mph.

His great passion is the spy network of Queen Elizabeth I's Principal Secretary Sir Francis Walsingham. He also has an abiding interest in 20th century intelligence gathering and espionage. 

When not delving into archives or supervising undergraduates, he enjoys boxing, Scotch whisky, listening to jazz and bird-watching.

Tom's mother is Irish, born in Galway but now living in Boston, Massachussetts. His father, long dead, was American. Tom Wilde, however, endured the English public school system and considers himself a man without borders.

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Cambridge University life as it was in the 1930s

In the 1930s there was a huge imbalance in the sexes at Cambridge University - 5,000 male students compared to 500 women - a discrepancy which is shown clearly in these pictures. Above left: Hall dinner with dons at high table at King's. Below left: students in their rooms at Queen's. Above: Student cyclists in their famous gowns. Above right: Supervision by a don, and two 'bedders' gossiping at King's. Below right: The porters at King's.

Cambridge as it is today

LIFE AFLOAT - the river by Queen's College with the Mathematical Bridge, a half-sunken punt and a lazy day in Grantchester Meadow

FOUR COLLEGES - Pembroke College's ancient gatehouse, King's College Chapel, the Trinity College Great Gate and  St John's from the Backs

Words of advice for Cambridge undergraduates

ON THE LEFT, a page from the 1920  Guide To Cambridge University Life, which can be seen in the wonderful Museum of Cambridge, on the corner of Castle Street and Northampton Street. If you take the author's advice and pass your exams you will be awarded your degree at the Senate House, pictured above

All new pictures copyright Rory Clements

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Rory Clements is married to the artist Naomi Clements-Wright. To see more of her work, visit her website...