In most cases, the above scarves do not belong to the College itself, but to the Amalgamated Clubs or United Clubs of the student body (exact details vary from college to college). The system of Amalgamated Clubs arose in the late 19th century or early 20th century - it permitted a student to pay a single subscription and thereby become a member of every sports club in the college. Previously, each club had required a separate subscription. At each college, some sports clubs have retained their own individual colours on scarves and ties - in most cases students are entitled to wear these only if they have been awarded colours for representing the college at that sport. It is not necessary to have been awarded colours to be able to wear the scarf or tie of the Amalgamated or United Clubs shown above - payment of the subscription is sufficient.
Historically, there has been no scarf for the University of Cambridge itself. But in the late 1990s, the University approved and licensed the production of a university scarf:
There are also scarves for various university sports clubs, and "blues" and "half-blues" scarves, awarded for representing the University against the University of Oxford in certain sports.
With acknowledgements to the archives of Ryder & Amies and Queens College, Cambridge.