The Backs is an area to the east of Queen’s Road in the city of Cambridge, England, where several colleges of the University of Cambridge back onto the River Cam, their grounds covering both banks of the river. The name “the Backs” refers to the backs of the colleges. The area, from Magdalene Streetbridge in the north to Silver Streetbridge in the south, consists of the rear grounds of the following colleges (north to south):
- Magdalene - grounds on the west bank of the river before the Magdalene Street bridge.
- St John’s - buildings on both sides of the river, spanned by the St John’s kitchen bridge and the Bridge of Sighs
- Trinity - buildings on the east bank, spanned by Trinity bridge.
- Trinity Hall - buildings on the east bank but with no rear grounds on the west bank.
- Clare - buildings on the east bank, spanned by Clare bridge.
- King’s - buildings on the east bank, spanned by King’s bridge.
- Queen’s - buildings on both sides of the river, spanned by the Mathematical Bridge.
Historically, much of the land was used by the colleges for grazing livestock or growing fruit. The river was also an important commercial thoroughfare to the mill at Silver Street.