In 1280, Hugo de Balsham, the person who created the college, was first allowed to keep some students following the same rules of Merton College, Oxford. At first, they stayed where St John's College is now. Four years later, they bought some land near the Church of St Peter in Trumpington Street, where Peterhouse is still found now. Over the years, Peterhouse has been centre of many important events. It was here that many discussions about religion and the Protestant Reformation took place. Peterhouse was also the second building in England to get electricity, after the Palace of Westminster.
Some very important people have studied here. Five of them have won Nobel Prizes:
- Max Perutz and John Kendrew - Chemistry (1962) for finding out the first atomic structures of proteins using X-ray crystallography.
- Sir Aaron Klug - Chemistry (1982) for developing crystallographic electron microscopy.
- Archer Martin - Chemistry (1952) for inventing partition chromatography.
- Michael Levitt
- "'The colleges and halls: Peterhouse', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3: The City and University of Cambridge (1959), pp. 334-340". Archived from the original on 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- "About the College". Peterhouse Website. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2011.