Local traditions and culture in Oxfordshire

  • Medieval Haphazardry on Market Street
    Medieval Haphazardry on Market Street
    by johngayton
  • Intrigueing
    Intrigueing
    by johngayton
  • A Slightly Chipped Chippy Town Hall
    A Slightly Chipped Chippy Town Hall
    by johngayton

Most Viewed Local Customs in Oxfordshire

  • aaaarrgh's Profile Photo

    Oxfam - the charity that began in Oxford

    by aaaarrgh Written Jan 2, 2005

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    The international charity Oxfam, originated in 1942 as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. Its office, in Broad Street, Oxford, became the world’s first ever permanent charity shop. Opened in 1948 it is still there today.

    The Oxford Committee began as a means to help civilians blockaded by the Nazi’s. They then extended their brief to ‘the relief of suffering in consequence of the war’. These days they are engaged in all forms of projects, including (at the time this tip is written) relief from the Indian Ocean tsunami in Sri Lanka.

    I am a big fan because Oxfam uses local workers to run its projects. It works towards a sustainable support which can lead to permanent solutions. They are specialists in water supplies and sanitation facilities.

    Visit their Oxford shop at 17, Broad Street or make a donation online.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Surfing
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    The Full English Breakfast

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Mar 7, 2004

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    At all of our B&Bs and the guest house too, we had the option of having a full English Breakfast as part of our accommodation costs. There were many variations on this theme, but it always involved tea or coffee with toast, bacon, sausage and egg! Usually there were delicious fried tomatoes and mushrooms thrown in as well. The beans in this case, at Prospect House, were an extra! In my case, a start like this usually allowed for a light snack and a beer during our lunchtime stop before we got into a serious meal after we had come to rest for the day!

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel

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  • In the summer (June) is when...

    by JennyLuker Updated Aug 26, 2002

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    In the summer (June) is when the Finalists sit exams. Unlike many other UK universities, Oxford tends to give degrees primarily based on one set of Exams (as opposed to modular courses). If you hang around Exam Schools (large building at the Magdalen Bridge end of the High Street) at around 12:30 and 5:30, then you are likely to see students coming out of their exams. Those with a white carnation have just sat there 1st exam, those with a red carnation have finished their final paper (and some even wear pink for the in between exams). There used to be a tradition of “flouring” (throwing eggs and flour) those who had finished, but the Proctors – Uni police, the ones in the bowler hats – now police the gates to ensure this no longer happens!

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    There are two worlds in...

    by Tara2001 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    There are two worlds in Oxford. The Oxford residents and the students. They don't tend to mix, and people seem to have the idea that everyone in Oxford is clever and posh. Well thats rubbish, its a totally normal city with a good and bad side to everything!

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    There is a river/canal...

    by Plendil Written Aug 25, 2002

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    There is a river/canal etiquette and certain procedures to follow when faced with a queue at a lock. Make sure you know the right thing to do and more importantly for anxious boaters is.....patience please and wait your turn. A copy of the Waterways Code can be downloaded for free from

    http://www.britishwaterways.org/default.asp?E0

    or just go the britishwaterways website, there's plenty of good information to be found on this site.

    As water is a precious commodity on the canals it makes sense to fill the lock with 2, or 4 boats depending on the lock size, before ascending or descending and vice versa. So you may have to wait for other boats to accompany you. As you should only travel at a maximum speed of 3mph you won't be going anywhere fast! It is supposed to be a leisurely pasttime and the canal is certainly not a place for anyone in a great hurry. Take the opportunity of chatting to other boaters; you will easily meet and make friends with new people this way. You never know, you may need their assistance or knowledge!

    The pictures here show how much hard work goes into maintaining a boat. We had a complete refit and repainted underneath at our earliest chance. Not a cheap hobby or holiday. But it does show how much stress you put a boat through!

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  • I'm not saying the Cotswolds...

    by WorldXplorer Written Aug 25, 2002

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    I'm not saying the Cotswolds is not 'touristy', that'd be a lie! But it seems like a real little old English village probably like they used to be goodness knows when. So it's I think like seeing a little bit of original English culture before modernisation.

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    Oxford students don't mix...

    by Jaybers Updated Aug 24, 2002

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    Oxford students don't mix terribly much with the 'townies' - ie the people who live in Oxford. However both get hacked off with tourists in the Summer (when you have to fight your way to lectures through the crowds). Hence there are a couple of pranks that are commonly played on the unsuspecting tourist: 1) THERE IS NO UNIVERSITY. Oxford university is collegiate which means that there is no one university building, only the academic faculties and the various colleges. Asking directions to the university is likely to get you a response like 'keep going up Banbury Road until you can't go any further' - Banbury road leads out of Oxford. 2) Recommendations to see the sunken cathedral of St Giles. St Giles street features a steeple like monument in the centre of the road. Underneath it are public toilets (at least one of which is a regular cottaging ground). This is a total fib and exists purely so we can laugh at tourists thinking a toilet is a sunken crypt. Some bits of student lingo: entz=disco type event, collection=a college exam, finals, mods and prelims are all university level exams, subfusc=formal wear for official events and exams (involves a cap and gown), chunder=vomit, scouts=cleaners.

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  • SMeeds's Profile Photo

    Do not do what one Japanese...

    by SMeeds Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Do not do what one Japanese tourist did to me. He stopped his car in the centre of Oxford and asked me where the University was. Not being a local I paused a moment, and gestured in each possible direction in turn, saying 'Over there', then I gave up, held up my hands, and said 'Everywhere!'. The colleges and other facilities of the University are scattered throughout the city centre.

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Oxfordshire Local Customs

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