In an unprecedented move, Corpus Christi College is opening its Formal Hall to bookings from the public.

Advertising a ‘Harry Potter style’ dining experience, patrons will be treated to a three course ‘deluxe supper’ in the dining hall accompanied by wine from the college cellars.

The events, managed by The Cambridge College Supper Club, will give tourists and townspeople alike the chance to dine in the candle-lit ‘inner sanctums’ of Colleges which have until now been the preserve of students and Fellows of the University.

Guests will be taken to the reception rooms, courtyards and then to the main hall allowing them to soak up the atmosphere that makes College life so special for many of the students.

The dinners will start on October 21st and on Thursdays throughout the year with bookings currently being taken as far ahead as April.

Still, with tickets costing a minimum of £57.75 per person, almost seven times the cost of a standard guest Formal ticket at Corpus, it’s a price that will put off many.

The organisers may be hoping to capitalise on the parallels often drawn between the architecture and atmosphere of Cambridge and the incredibly successful Harry Potter franchise, and on the unusual nature of the events to attract diners.

Neal Robbins, one of the organisers, is keen to highlight that "Never before has any ancient College given individuals among the general public regular weekly opportunities to dine in hall seated at feast tables".

The move to open up dining has come in the wake of severe threats to Cambridge’s government funding, Corpus student Pierre Novellie feels that "it’s a good source of income" and its impact on life in College for students will be minimal.

However, with recent figures listing Cambridge as the wealthiest university in Britain and with Corpus rumoured to be amongst the best-off Colleges some feel that financial incentives are not enough to justify the undermining of traditions.

Current student Sam Gilbert said, "This is yet another example of the Colleges’ mercenary attitude towards their reputations."

However the success of the Cambridge Supper Club will ultimately lie with the public response and ticket sales.

It seems appropriate that Corpus is the first to open the doors to townsfolk and the many tourists who travel to visit the College, since throughout its history, the College has long played a part in city life.

Corpus Christi is notable for being the only College in Cambridge or Oxford founded by townsfolk. It was established by members of two Cambridge guilds – the Guild of Corpus Christi and the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary – primarily to train priests.

In 1381, during the time of the Peasant’s Revolt, Corpus became the focus of town discontent against the payment of "candle rents". An angry mob, led by Cambridge major, stormed the College in protest.

Later in the College’s history, however, Corpus has played a more conciliatory role in relations between town and gown. Between 1919 and 1939 two Corpus alumni went on to become majors of Cambridge, proving that there does not always have to be division and distrust between College students and Cambridge residents.