Oxford University & Colleges, Oxford
Favorite thing: Walking around Oxford, it is worth paying attention to minute details and you may find some wonderful surprises. This beautiful sculpture of a cherub was pointed out to me by Barbara, or I would have missed it. It can be found on the wall of the Bodleian Library just opposite the entrance to Hertford College. I cannot be sure if it is the guardian angel, but if so, he/she has done his/her job extremely well - the Library has flourished for centuries! If you are visiting Oxford with children, they would be certain to notice many such details, provided of course that they don't walk around playing with their gameboys or mobiles. Take your binoculars with you - the gargoyles on many buildings are simply fantastic but placed too high to be clearly visible. If I ever get the chance of a leisurely walk around Oxford again, I am sure I could still be in for many such surprises.
Many tourists visit Oxford, yet never see some of the beautiful colleges. This is not entirely their fault, as the colleges can have strange opening hours, charge admission fees, or not admit visitors at all. (There are ways around this - see my warning tip on how to get admission to practically all colleges for free at any time!)
One of my favourite things about these colleges is their layouts. The colleges, particularly the elder ones, are composed of one or more quads A quad typically contains a 'don't-walk-on-the-grass' front lawn, surrounded by a mixture of student's residences, a chapel, dining hall, college offices, Junior Common Room, Senior Common Room and student bar.
So which is better ? Oxford or Cambridge.
When it comes to academic rating, Cambridge battles it out on the world stage with Harvard, but Oxford struggles to make the top ten. So a clear win there.
But what of other measures ? Oxford can claim to have produced 25 British prime minsters, against 13 from Cambridge. In sport, Oxford has an impressive 74 wins in the 'Boat race' - until you realise that Cambridge can muster 79. Eighty nobel prizes have been awarded to Cambridge men, but only (!) 47 to Oxford.
So, Oxford has the reputation in politics and the arts, but Cambridge wins hands down at Science (or proper subjects)
What really decides it is the list of alumni from the two places : Cambridge has produced Francis Bacon, Charles Darwin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lord Byron and Isacc Newton. Meanwhile Oxford (to pick four at random) has given the world Magaret Thatcher, Rupert Murdoch, Hugh Grant and Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson).
Here are some of the most famous students of Christ Church College in Oxford - probably the most visited by tourists:
W. H. Auden
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley
Francis Godolphin Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds
George Cornewall Lewis
A L Rowse
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne
Matthew Gregory Lewis
The celebrities who went to the Brasenose college include:
William Webb Ellis
J. G. Farrell
F. E. Weatherly
During the years, Corpus Christi College has had its full quota of famous alumni. Here's the list including just some of them:
Although the most famous alumni is J.R.R. Tolkien, Exeter College has a list that would be the envy of many an educational establishment:
Rev. E. E. Bradford
Sir John Eliot
James Anthony Froude
Francis Turner Palgrave
J. R. R. Tolkien
The historic heart of the University lies on Catte Street - which links High Street to Broad Street - and Radcliffe Square. This is my favourite part of Oxford and the walk along Catte Street takes you past the Bridge of Sighs, Hertford College, the Radcliffe Camera (pictured), the Bodleian library, All Souls College and the Sheldonian Theatre.
With so much on offer here, Radcliffe Square, not surprisingly, is often busy with tourists and tour groups. To really appreciate the atmosphere here, I would advise visiting in the early evening or early on a Sunday morning.
Oxford is renowned as one of England's two great university towns (the other town being CAMBRIDGE, in case you're wondering...), steeped in history and tradition.
The University is NOT a campus but a collection of 36 colleges and 5 halls scattered around the city center.... alongside the many shops and buildings. I hadn't realized this until we toured around Oxford!
Today, Oxford University accounts for almost 15,000 of the City's total population of 115,000 people! :-)
MERTON is one of the smaller Oxford colleges here and claims to be the oldest of them all. Hm... Founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton, the then-Bishop of Rochester, it has a reputation for high academic achievement, having come top of the (now unofficial) Norrington Table many times in recent years.
On a lighter note, Merton College also has a reputation for good food... which is generally considered to be true! Hey, that's what my guide-book stated. Any ex-Merton college grads out there in cyberspace?
Their Address: Merton Street.
Open: Monday to Friday 2PM - 4PM.
Saturday and Sunday 10AM - 4PM.
Fondest memory: College days! I missed those days! There's something to be said when one is hopeful about the world & feeling invincible. Within the gates or compounds of the university, one tends to feel aspiring & all dreams abound. Try to go back to the university once in a while & you'll know what I mean.
3 important colleges in Oxford University are:
1) Christ Church College: Grandest of all Oxford colleges. Founded by Cardinal Wolsey & refounded by Henry VIII in 1546. If you've spare time, check out England's smallest catheral, the Christ Church Cathedral, from the cloisters.
2) Merton College: 250 undergraduates & 140 postgraduate members. It claims to be the oldest of the Oxford colleges (founded in AD1264 by Walter de Merton, Bishop of Rochester). It has a reputation for high academic achievement. Notable Mertonians from the past include William Harvey (discoverer of the circulation of blood) and in recent years, Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan.
3) Magdalen College: One of the richest colleges in Oxford with the most extensive & beautiful grounds. Founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, the Bishop of Winchester. One interesting tradition still practised today is that the college choir ushers in May Day with a hymn at 6 am! Former students include Oscar Wilde & Dudley Moore.
To read more about Christ Church College, please proceed to Chch.ox.ac.uk.
To read more about Merton College, please proceed to Merton.ox.ac.uk.
To read more about Magdalen College, please proceed to Magd.ox.ac.uk.
There are 127 steps to go up the tower of St. Mary's Church.
From the top, we can see excellent views over the city of Oxford !
These are my photos, my own views from my camera, through my eyes to the top; on the tower & descending down...
This view is showing rooftops over Oxford & 2 main towers :
Left, Christ Church Tom Tower;
Right, All Saints Church Tower.
In the distance, we can see Boar's Hill...
visit Trinity College, Oxford University.
Fondest memory: You can find Trinity College at Broad Street.
Open: 10.30AM - 12 Noon; 2PM - 4PM daily.
Favorite thing: No trip to Oxford would be complete without touring some of the colleges. Each college is a self-sustaining unit, I believe, and each has a particular history associated with it. If I were really cool, I'd know more about the histories, but I can tell you this much: What you see here is Christ Church College, established in the 16th century under Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII. Among its more famous alumni is Lewis Carroll, he of Alice in Wonderland fame. That's one thing that Oxford has supplied in rather large quantity: fantasy authors. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien also studied and taught at Oxford. There's something about these hallowed halls that make professors think of other worlds...