In the Blue Ball pub in Grantchester, just outside Cambridge on Friday night, three university professors were, inevitably, discussing the referendum result.

"There are emails flying all over the place between the vice-chancellor, department heads, the funding bodies," said one.

"Everyone's really worried. It's disastrous. I can't believe this has happened."

Another, Professor David Berman, 42, is one of Europe's leading string theorists.

He is based at Queen Mary University in London and travels the world giving lectures, attending conferences and conducting research. "I work in areas that demand large international collaborations,” he said.

“Places like CERN [the institute that developed the Hadron Collider) are a testament to the achievements of Europeans working together. No one nation could ever fund or have the human intellectual resources to create an institute like it.

"There was no doubt for me or any of my colleagues the Remain vote was the right thing.”

He continued: "What will follow now is a potential collapse of British science with large numbers of educated people leaving. The knock-on effect to British industry could be catastrophic.This failure of democracy began when the debate was driven by fear and ignorance. The UK seems to have voted to enter a dark age of ignorance. "

Two hundred metres up the road in The Green Man pub the mood was jubilant.

Champagne was being popped at midday.

Businessman Ben Travers, 56, was telling anyone who would listen that, "Today is the best day of my life, after my wedding day and the births of my children.

"I didn't get to vote in the last referendum [in 1975] so I've never had a choice about being in the EU. Now I have. I voted leave and I'm proud of it.

"I might lose 20 per cent of my wealth because of this if the markets don't recover but I don't care. I voted Leave for my country and my children."

So what does he think of the Scots voting overwhelmingly to remain?

"I hope we ditch them from the UK. I hope they do get another independence vote and we can get rid of them. And the Welsh. Then we can just be England. That's what people wanted - England back."

It's a sentiment shared by plant supervisor Mark Hughes. "I woke up this morning and when I saw the news I was actually a bit emotional. There are all these stories about how bad it's going to be for the UK out of Europe but I don't think it's going to be like that. The EU is on the brink of collapse anyway."

Hughes moved to the south of England from his home city of Sunderland a decade ago and is fiercely proud of his northern, working class roots. Five years ago he joined the English Defence League and went on marches, although he has long since left the group. "I used to be a left-wing socialist but now I get labelled a right-wing activist because of my beliefs on immigration.”

Immigration was the main issue for him.”Europe is Europe. I don't think Croatia counts as Europe. Turkey definitely doesn't. Our schools are changing, our cities are changing because of immigration. I don't want that."

In England the referendum result has not healed the divisions over Europe but exacerbated them. The anger - from both sides - seems to have increased in the last 48 hours rather than diminished.

Families, friends, villages, are split. The city of Cambridge voted three-to-one to remain. An hour away in the town of Spalding, Lincolnshire, 73.6 per cent of residents backed the leave campaign - one of the highest ‘out’ polls in the UK. Teacher Jenny Smyth, 36, is in the minority there of people who wanted to stay in the EU.

She says: "It's just weird. People here talk about immigration as if we are being overrun but it's not my experience and I work in a school. What gets me is this older generation who voted out when it's our children who are going to have to live with it. People are driven by selfishness. It feels like we're going back in time not forwards."

Prof Berman and Mark Hughes play for the same village cricket club and are friends but yesterday engaged in a vitriolic Facebook exchange that ended in Hughes calling Berman a "privileged, middle class, left-wing, yogurt knitting, tree hugging, t**t".

Hughes home city of Sunderland, like him, voted to leave. Ben Travers's eldest daughter Claire, 26, was on the other side to him. She sent her father a text on the morning of the poll begging him not to back the leave campaign.

She is, he admits, distraught about the result. The votes may have all been counted but the true cost - in England at least - will take a long time to weight up.