Thursday, March 24, 2011

Part the XX:Where Nick Studies for a week at University College in Oxford

Yes, you read right.  Since Saturday, I have been living at University College in Oxford.  Note that I say University College.  Many people, myself being on of them, think that Oxford University is a single school.  What we fail to realize is that Oxford University is the governing body of the 39 colleges that exist within the city of Oxford.  Thats right, 39.  University, is actually one of the oldest, dating back to 1249.  Only St. Edmund is older, with a founding date of 1238.  So our program in Bath allows us to spend a week at Univ (as it is known to the students) taking our classes in the college, touring local museums and historic sites, and getting to understand the culture of this great college town.

First, a little history of the town and Univ.  Oxford literally takes its name from the fact that it was once the ford in the river where farmers forded their Oxen on the way to market.  Thus, the coat of arms for the city portrays an ox crossing the river.  Univ was founded by William of Durham in 1249 (although some claim that King Alfred founded it as early as 872.  The Main Quadrangle as it appears now was built in the 17th Century.  Radcliffe Quad was finished in the 18th Century and the library in the 1860s.  The college first accepted women in 1979.  Famous alums of Univ include Prime Minister Phillip Atlee, President Bill Clinton, C.S. Lewis, Felix Yusupov (The assassin of Rasputin), and Stephen Hawking.
Inside Univ.  It is like being in a castle, as are most other colleges.  They were designed to be fortified encampments for the students.

Statue of William of Durham on the inside wall of Univ.

My room.  It used to be either a study or a library.  It has beautiful dark-wood paneled walls.

It also has this great, hand carved mantle piece that portrays Adam and Eve in Eden.

The Percy Shelley Memorial.  He went to this school until his thoughts on atheism got him kicked out.  After he became famous and drowned, the school built this for him.  While it is a moving tribute, walking past it at night on the way back to your room can be very disconcerting.

Logic Lane.  It runs through Univ.

Punting on the river, an Oxford tradition.

Our Gettysburg Crew.

One rather interesting thing about Oxford is the ring, or loop, road that runs around the outside of City Center.  All private cars must exit onto this road at the top and bottom of High Street.  The idea is to limit the carbon footprint.  Thus, in city center you will see Taxis, Buses and hundreds of bikes, but never a private car.
The Dining Hall at Christ Church College.  It was the Great Hall in the first two Harry Potter Films.

The "No Peel" door at Christ Church protesting alumni and Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel who, in 1829, argued for more rights for the Catholics. 

Hertford Bridge.  

The Ashmoleon Museum.  Here we have the cremonial outfit of T.E. Lawrence...better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

And here is the very lantern Guy Fawkes was caught holding while unloading the explosives he planned to blow up the house of parliament with on the Fifth of November.

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