Now that I work in the centre of Oxford again I can pick up my project to photograph every Oxford college again. This is Trinity College, visitors to Oxford might know it from the beautiful view you get from Parks Road. I’ve let my work have the use of some of these pictures too so they might show up elsewhere. Trinity has fantastic wide flower borders and I’m glad I managed to be there when the rhododendrons were in flower. An attractive place. There is a small fee (£2?) for visitors. Continue reading…
As it’s Spring it seems about time I resumed my aim to have visit every Oxford college. On Saturday I was at Christ Church College anyway to go to an Oxford Literary Festival event in the library and as we were early we had a wander around. Christ Church College is one of the few (only?) colleges that charges visitors a larger fee so if you can come here anyway for an event or something at the Cathedral that would be a bonus. The top three pictures are from the Cathedral.
Christ Church College
Open: Mon-Sat 09:00-17:00 Sun 14:00-17:00
I’ve definitely been to Lady Margaret Hall before but I think it was when I was a kid. We used to live around the corner so I was always aware of this college and passed it on the short walk to the park. Having visited several colleges with the purpose of exploring and taking pictures I’m starting to appreciate quite how different they all are and also quite how different the attitude can be to visitors. Here there was no obvious sign as to if they allow visitors or not so I asked permission first at the porter’s lodge, they were very nice and friendly and said yes of course I could visit (for free), and directed me to the gardens.
The buildings with their white trim and geometric shapes are pleasingly distinct. The entrance to the gardens is tucked away off the first quad, again I was surprised by how big they were. There are quirky touches such as driftwood (what is the story behind that I wonder, we are very far from the sea), and benches tucked away in secret nooks and crannies, these are gardens that you really can explore.
While the evidence of other people was tangible in the presence of abandoned tools and hearing the occasional sounds floating out of open windows, I had the whole of these large gardens completely to myself even though it is term time. I didn’t see another person until I was returning back to the main quad. As you might see from the pictures it was beautiful weather, very sunny but also cold. Really the best kind of autumn weather you can get.
Lady Margaret Hall
Open: daily 10:00-17:00
A friend used to work here so I’ve been to Merton College several times and been shown around. I had forgotten that the main garden isn’t open to the public unless you are with a member of the college. I’d just remembered that the garden has a great view over Christ Church Meadow so had been saving going to this for last and therefore was rather crushed by the big sign that said not to enter in several languages. Ah well.
All over Oxford it seems like often little doors lead to big things and big doors lead to small things, this seems equally true here, the entrance to the chapel is a little door tucked away around the edge and it leads to the large splendid chapel with a beautiful ceiling. The college buildings seem to be from a mix of eras so it’s interesting to see how they have managed to fit everything together, you could have a comedy of errors with people popping in and out of different doors and archways, going in circles trying to find each other.
Open: Mon-Fri 14:00-17:00 or dusk, Sat-Sun 10:00-17:00 or dusk
(I don’t actually pay to get into Oxford colleges as I have a Bodleian Readers Card aka. a University Card so I’m usually allowed in for free. I am putting the price here for anyone else was thinking of going and also I think it’s interesting what the different colleges charge. If anyone IS thinking of going then the opening times are worth phoning up and checking as the colleges can and often do close early or shut for all sorts of reasons.)
Worcester College was a revelation to me, I LOVED it. I kept turning corners and saying ‘wow!’. I don’t think I had ever visited it before as I don’t think I ever knew anyone studying there. I was very much surprised quite how splendid the planting in the gardens is, they have these mixed borders that you could dive into head first and be hidden by a huge mass of green and flowers. I also was impressed at how much water there was, it really lowers the blood pressure to wander around such beautiful grounds. You’d never guess that this college is right in the centre of town very near the train station. The place was pretty much deserted when I was there, as you can see the weather was pretty gloomy and there was a light rain at times. The last picture shows the front of the college that faces the street, that clock is often very handy when hurrying to the station.
Partly what prompted me to go there is that I’ve long thought it might be fun to try to visit all the Oxford Colleges and take some pictures. I’ve already been into plenty of them but I’m going to start a proper list now. It might be a long-term project as some are harder to visit than others as either they aren’t open to the public or have difficult opening times but I reckon I will hopefully know someone at the college. Time was I’d know people who were students there but now my generation are either grad students or actually teaching things, so grown up!
Open: daily 14:00-17:00
On my way home from work yesterday I stopped off on my journey for a spontaneous mini adventure as I was passing New College. I don’t think I have been in there before. I’ve been in a majority of the colleges and I have a vague idea to visit every college and take pictures, but as they all have varying times they are open to visitors I’m taking that plan slowly. Note for visitors to Oxford if you want to visit colleges some of them charge a fee. I don’t have to pay as I have a Bodleian card. I noticed that they were charging ¬£1.50 as the chapel was closed and it is normally ¬£2. That seems reasonable, think how nice it would be to have a picnic in there.
That huge wall in the garden is interesting, apparently it’s the old city wall. According to wikipedia they have the largest herbaceous border in the country. There was a chef setting up a BBQ, he’s the tiny figure in picture 8. The grass was looking rather brown and frazzled I presume from all the recent sun. Thumbs up if it’s brown because they aren’t using sprinklers, so much water must get used by colleges trying to maintain their lawns and green quads. I got the feeling that this college garden would be brilliant to visit in the autumn as they have lots of lovely trees and nice benches to sit on.
The second to last picture shows my bike (hello trusty steed!), and the last picture shows the lane I was cycling on when I got the idea to jump off my bike and go and investigate.