Oxford, England, Photo Tour
Arguably the world’s most famous university town, Oxford is graced by superb college architecture and oozes questing youthfulness, scholarship and bizarre high jinks. The views across the meadows to the city’s golden spires are guaranteed to appear in three out of 10 English period dramas, but they manage to remain one of the most beautiful and inspiring of sights.
Back in the real world, Oxford is not just the turf of toffs and boffs, it was a major car-manufacturing centre until the terminal decline of the British car industry and is now a thriving centre of service industries. The pick of the colleges are Christ Church, Merton and Magdalen, but nearly all the colleges are drenched in atmosphere, history, privilege and tradition. Don’t kid yourself you would have studied any harder in such august surroundings.
Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). It is home to the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
It is known as the “city of dreaming spires”, a term coined by Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of the university buildings. The River Thames runs through Oxford, where for a distance of some 10 miles it is known as the Isis.
The Oxford suburb of Cowley has a long history of car making and now produces the BMW MINI.
Oxford has numerous major tourist attractions, many belonging to the university and colleges. As well as several famous institutions, the town centre is home to Carfax Tower and a historical themed ride, The Oxford Story. Many tourists shop at the historic Covered Market. In the summer, punting on the Thames/Isis and the Cherwell is popular.
Museums and galleries
Oxford University Museum of Natural History University of Oxford:
Ashmolean Museum, Britain’s oldest museum
Pitt Rivers Museum
Museum of Natural History, home of (the remains of) the Oxford Dodo
Museum of the History of Science, in Britain’s oldest purpose-built museum building
Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, St Aldate’s
Museum of Oxford
Museum of Modern Art
Oxford University Press Other than the colleges)
The Bodleian Library
The Clarendon Building (often used as a set for film and television)
The Radcliffe Camera (one of several institutions named after John Radcliffe)
The Sheldonian Theatre
Literature in Oxford
Well-known Oxford-based authors include:
Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson), Student of Christ Church.
Colin Dexter who wrote and set his Inspector Morse mystery novels in Oxford. Colin Dexter still lives in Oxford, Wolvercote
Michael Innes (J. I. M. Stewart), of Christ Church.
T. E. Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia”, Oxford resident, undergraduate at Jesus, postgraduate at Magdalen.
C. S. Lewis, Fellow of Magdalen.
Iris Murdoch, Fellow of St Anne’s
Philip Pullman who was an undergraduate at Exeter.
J. R. R. Tolkien, Professor of English at Merton, and undergraduate at Exeter.
Ian McEwan, formerly an Oxford resident for many years.
Many English novels have been set partly or wholly in Oxford. They include:
Jude the Obscure (1895) by Thomas Hardy (in which Oxford is thinly disguised as “Christminster”).
Zuleika Dobson (1911) by Max Beerbohm (Merton).
Gaudy Night (1935) by Dorothy L. Sayers (Somerville).
Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh (Hertford).
His Dark Materials (1995 onwards) by Philip Pullman
Other notable Oxonians
Noel Godfrey Chavasse, twice awarded the Victoria Cross
Mike Hailwood, motor cycle world champion
Tim Henman, tennis player
John Kendrew, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1962
Martin Keown, footballer
Martha Lane Fox, internet entrepreneur
Hugh Laurie, English actor, comedian and writer
Jane Morris née Burden, Pre-Raphaelite muse
Robbie Mustoe, footballer
Garry Parker, footballer
John Sergeant, journalist
Emma Watson, “Harry Potter” film actress
Mark Wright, footballer and manager
The Oxford University Press
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