( ) is a city
, and the county town
, in South East England
. The city has a
population of just under 165,000, with 151,000 living within the
district boundary. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through Oxford and meet south of the
city centre. For a distance of some along the river, in
the vicinity of Oxford, the Thames is known as The Isis.
Oxford is the oldest university
in the English-speaking
in Oxford demonstrate an example of every British architectural
period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the iconic,
mid-18th century Radcliffe
Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming
spires", a term coined by poet Matthew
in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's
Oxford was first occupied in Saxon
times, and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford
of the Ox
being very important before the days of bridges. It began with the
foundation of St
in the 8th century, and was first
mentioned in written records in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
for the year
the 10th century Oxford became an important military frontier town
between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on
several occasions raided by Danes. St Frideswide
is the patron saint of both the
city and university.
In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin
The prestige of Oxford is seen in the fact that it received a
charter from King Henry II
granting its citizens the same privileges and exemptions as those
enjoyed by the capital of the kingdom; and various important
religious houses were founded in or near the city. A grandson of
King John established Rewley Abbey for the Cistercian
Order; and friars of various orders
, and Trinitarian
), all had houses at Oxford of
varying importance. Parliaments were often held in the city during
the thirteenth century. The Provisions of Oxford
were installed by
a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort
these documents are often regarded as England's first written
The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th century
records. As the University took shape, friction between the
hundreds of students living where and how they pleased led to a
decree that all undergraduates would have to reside in approved
halls . Of the hundreds of Aularian houses that sprang up across
the city, only St Edmund Hall
1225) remains. What put an end to the halls was the emergence of
colleges. Oxford's earliest colleges were University College (1249), Balliol (1263) and Merton (1264).
These colleges were established at a
time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of
Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology –
inspiring scientific discoveries and advancements in the arts – as
society began seeing itself in a new way. These colleges at Oxford
were supported by the Church in hopes to reconcile Greek Philosophy
and Christian Theology
. The relationship
between "town and gown
" has often been
uneasy — as many as 93 students and townspeople were killed in the
St Scholastica Day Riot
sweating sickness epidemic in 1517
was particularly devastating to Oxford and Cambridge where it killed half of both cities' populations,
including many students and dons.
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
The Sheldonian Theatre in 2009
unique as a college chapel and cathedral in one foundation.
Originally the Priory Church of St Frideswide, the building was
extended and incorporated into the structure of the Cardinal's
College shortly before its refounding as Christ Church in 1546,
since which time it has functioned as the cathedral of the Diocese
The Oxford Martyrs
were tried for
heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake, on what is now
Broad Street, for their religious beliefs and teachings. The three
martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer
and Nicholas Ridley
the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer
Memorial stands nearby, round the corner to the North on St.
During the English Civil War
Oxford housed the court of Charles
in 1642, after the king was expelled from London, although
there was strong support in the town for the Parliamentarian
cause. The town yielded to
Parliamentarian forces under General Fairfax
in the Siege of
Oxford of 1646.
It later housed the court of
during the Great Plague of London
Although reluctant to do so, he was forced to evacuate when the
plague got too close.
Canal connected the city with Coventry.
The Duke's Cut was completed by the
in 1789 to link the new canal with the River
Thames; and in 1796 the Oxford Canal company built their own link
to the Thames, at Isis Lock. In 1844, the Great Western Railway
with London via Didcot and Reading; in 1851, the London and North Western
opened their own route from Oxford to London, via
Bicester, Bletchley and Watford; and in 1864 a third route to the
capital, running via Thame and High Wycombe, was provided.
In the 19th century, the controversy surrounding the Oxford Movement
in the Anglican
Church drew attention to the city as a
focus of theological thought.
Hall was built by Henry
Map of Oxford (1904).
, the foundation
stone was laid on 6 July 1893 and opened by the future King Edward VII
on 12 May
1897. The site has been the seat of local government
since the Guild Hall of
1292 and though Oxford is a city and a Lord
, it is still called by its traditional name of
By the early 20th century, Oxford was experiencing rapid industrial
and population growth, with the printing and publishing industries
becoming well established by the 1920s. Also during that
decade, the economy and society of Oxford underwent a huge
transformation as William Morris
established the Morris Motor
Company to mass produce cars in Cowley, on the
south-eastern edge of the city.
By the early 1970s over
20,000 people worked in Cowley at the huge Morris Motors and
Pressed Steel Fisher
time Oxford was a city of two halves: the university city to the
west of Magdalen
Bridge and the car town to the east.
This led to
the witticism that "Oxford is the left bank of Cowley". Cowley
suffered major job losses in the 1980s and 1990s during the decline
of British Leyland
, but is now
producing the successful New MINI
on a smaller site. A large area of the
original car manufacturing facility at Cowley was demolished in the
1990s and is now the site of the Oxford Business Park.
influx of migrant labour to the car plants and hospitals, recent
immigration from south-east Asia, and a large student population,
have given Oxford a notable cosmopolitan character, especially in
the Headington and Cowley Road areas
with their many bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs, ethnic shops and
fast food outlets.
Oxford is one of the most diverse small
cities in Britain with the most recent population estimates for
2005. showing that 27% of the population were from an ethnic
minority group, including 16.2% from a non-white ethnic minority
ethnic group (ONS). These figures do not take into account more
recent international migration into the city, with over 10,000
people from overseas registering for National Insurance Numbers in
Oxford between 2005/06 and 2006/07.
On 6 May
1954, Roger Bannister, as a 25 year
old medical student, ran the first authenticated four-minute mile at the Iffley Road running track in Oxford.
Although he had
previously studied at Oxford University, Bannister was actually
studying at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London at the
second university, Oxford Brookes University, formerly the Oxford School of Art, then Oxford
Polytechnic, based on Headington Hill, was given its charter in
1991 and has been voted for the last five years the best new
university in the UK.
Oxford's latitude and longitude are or (at Carfax Tower
, which is usually considered the
Oxford has a Maritime Temperate climate ("Cfb" by Köppen classification
Precipitation is uniformly
distributed throughout the year and is provided mostly by weather
systems that arrive from the Atlantic.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in
Oxford was -16.6 °C (2 °F) in January 1982. The highest temperature
ever recorded in Oxford is 35.6 °C (96 °F) in August 2003 during
the 2003 European heat
There is a field of thought that due to Climate change
are increasing in Oxford,
precipitation is decreasing in summer and increasing in winter
The average conditions below are from the Radcliffe Meteorological
Station. It boasts the longest series of temperature and rainfall
records for one site in Britain. These records are continuous from
January, 1815. Irregular observations of rainfall, cloud and
temperature exist from 1767.
The Oxford suburb of Cowley has a long history of carmaking and now
produces the BMW MINI
Morrells, the Oxford based regional
was founded in 1743 by Richard Tawney. He formed a
partnership in 1782 with Mark and James Morrell, who eventually
became the owners. The brewery building, known as the "Lion
Brewery", was located in St Thomas Street, the brewery was well
known for drinks such as "Sambuca". After an acrimonious family
dispute this much-loved brewery was closed in 1998, the beer
names being taken over by the Thomas
Hardy Burtonwood brewery, while the 132 tied pubs were bought by
"Morrells of Oxford", who sold the bulk of them on to Greene King
in 2002. The Lion Brewery was
converted into luxury apartments in 2002.
Outside the City Centre:
- Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford
- Botley Road, Oxford
- Cowley Retail Park, Cowley, Oxford
- Cowley Road, Oxford
- Iffley Road, Oxford
- London Road, Headington, Oxford
- North Parade, Oxford
- St. Clements, Oxford
- Templars Square Shopping Centre,
- Walton Street, Jericho, Oxford
Theatres and cinemas
- Burton Taylor Theatre, Worcester Street
- New Theatre, George Street
- Odeon Cinema, George Street
- Old Fire Station Theatre, George Street
- Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont
- Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road
- O'Reilly Theatre, Blackhall Road
- Phoenix Picturehouse, Walton Street
- Ultimate Picture Palace, Cowley Road
- Vue Cinema, Grenoble Road
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 the University Church of St Mary the
Virgin, both of which offer views over the spires of the
city. Many tourists shop at the historic Covered
In the summer punting
on the Thames/Isis and the Cherwell is
The University of Oxford
Oxford is one of the most famous universities in the
world, and leading academics come to Oxford from all over the
The City Centre
Aerial view of Oxford city
As well as being an extraordinary sight for tourists (3.5 million
per annum ), Oxford City Centre is a very attractive location for
the consumer to visit, as well as being a good location for
socialising. The historical buildings make this location a popular
target for film and TV crews.
The city centre is relatively small, and is centred on Carfax, Oxford
, a cross-roads on which a
clocktower stands, and which forms the junction of Cornmarket
Street (pedestrianised), Queen Street (semi-pedestrianised), St
Aldate's and The High. Cornmarket Street and Queen Street are home
to Oxford's various chain stores, as well as a small number of
independent retailers, one of the longest established of which is
Boswells, which was founded in 1738. St Aldate's has few shops but
is the location of a number of local-government buildings,
including the Town Hall, the city police station and local council
offices. The High (the word street
is not part of the name
of this road) has a number of independent and high-end chain
There are two small shopping centres in the city centre: The
Clarendon Centre and The Westgate Centre. The Westgate Centre is
named for the original West Gate in the city wall, and is located
at the west end of Queen Street. It is quite small and contains a
number of chain stores and a supermarket. The Westgate Shopping
Centre is to undergo a massive but controversial refurbishment; its
plans involve tripling the size of the centre to , building a brand
new 1,335 space underground car park and 90 new shops and bars,
including a John Lewis
department store. There will be a new and improved transport
system, a complete refurbishment of the existing centre and the
surrounding Bonn Square area. The development plans include a
number of new homes, and completion is expected in 2011.
Blackwell Bookshop is a very popular tourist attraction in Oxford.
Blackwell Books claims the largest single room devoted to book
sales in the whole of Europe, the cavernous Norrington Room (10,000
Oxford's alternative transport
The Westgate redevelopment is just part of a wider scheme proposed
by the city council. This scheme includes a total redesign of the
centre of Oxford to "pedestrianise" the city.
The scheme, entitled Transform Oxford, is only a blueprint for
public consultation at this stage, but county council officials are
confident it will go ahead.
One of the key elements is the pedestrianisation of Queen Street,
with bus stops removed next summer to make way for the eventual
complete removal of buses from the street.
Pedestrianisation schemes in George Street and Magdalen Street
should follow in the summer of 2010, with the removal of traffic
from Broad Street the same year a possibility.
In 2011, highways engineers plan to remodel the Frideswide Square
junctions near the railway station, removing traffic lights and
introducing roundabouts to improve traffic flow.
The bus services are mainly provided by the Oxford Bus Company
and Stagecoach Oxfordshire
companies also operate regular services to London
Oxford Bus Company also runs the Airlink services to Heathrow and Gatwick.
Other operators include Thames Travel
Arriva Shires & Essex
and several smaller companies.
a bus station at Gloucester Green, used mainly by the London and airport services,
and National Express coach
Oxford has 5 park and ride
service the city centre;
- Pear Tree (Link to city centre with bus 300)
- Redbridge (Link to city centre with bus 300)
- Seacourt (Link to city centre with bus 400)
- Thornhill (Link to city centre with bus 400)
- Water Eaton (Link to city centre with bus 500)
A service also runs to The John Radcliffe Hospital (from
Thornhill/Water Eaton) as well as the Churchill and Nuffield
Hospitals (from Thornhill).
railway station is half a mile west of the city centre.
station is served by numerous routes, including CrossCountry services as far afield as Manchester and Edinburgh, First Great
Western (who operate the station) services to London and other
destinations and occasional Chiltern
Railways services to Birmingham.
The present station opened in 1952. Oxford
is the junction for a short branch line to Bicester, which is being
extended to form the East-West Rail Link to Milton Keynes,
providing a passenger route avoiding London.
The city has a ring road
consists of the A34
, the A40
. It is mostly dual carriageway and
was completed in 1966.
The main roads that lead out of Oxford are:
The city is served by the M40 motorway, which connects London to
Birmingham. The original M40 opened in 1974 went from
London to Waterstock where the A40 continued to Oxford.
when the M40 was extended to Birmingham in 1991, a mile of the old
motorway became a spur and the new section bent away sharply north.
Now the M40 does a large arc around Oxford (staying around away
from the centre) due to the woodland that the motorway had to
avoid. The M40 meets the A34 a junction later, the latter now being
in two parts, the A34 restarting in Birmingham.
largest airport in Oxford is London Oxford Airport (EGTK) outside Kidlington.
It mainly serves business jets and general
aviation traffic. It is the home to Oxford Aviation Academy
- one of the
world's best airline pilot training schools and Hangar 8
- a private jet company.
There are two universities in Oxford; the University of Oxford and
Oxford Brookes University as well as Ruskin College
Oxford is home to wide range of schools many of which receive
pupils from around the world. Three are University choral
foundations, established to educate the boy choristers of the
chapel choirs, and have kept the tradition of single sex education.
Examination results in state-run Oxford schools are consistently
below the national average and regional average. However, results
in the city are improving with 44% of pupils gaining 5 grades A*-C
As well as the BBC
national radio stations,
Oxford and the surrounding area has several local stations,
including BBC Oxford
, Oxford's FM 107.9
, and JACK fm
on 106.8 along with Oxide: Oxford Student
Radio (which went on terrestrial radio at 87.7 MHz FM in late
May 2005). A local TV station, Six TV
Oxford Channel was also available but closed in April 2009.
is home to a BBC TV newsroom which produces an opt-out from the
main South Today programme
broadcast from Southampton.
Popular local papers include The
(compact; weekly), its sister papers The
(tabloid; daily) and The Oxford Star
(tabloid; free and delivered), and Oxford Journal
(tabloid; weekly free
pick-up). Oxford is also home to several advertising
locally as Daily Info) is an events and advertising news sheet
which has been published since 1964 and now provides a connected
Recently (2003) DIY grassroots non-corporate media has begun to
spread. Independent and community newspapers include the
and Oxford Prospect
Literature and film
Well-known Oxford-based authors include:
- Oscar Wilde a nineteenth century
poet and author who attended Oxford from 1874 to 1878.
- John Buchan, 1st
Baron Tweedsmuir attended Brasenose College. Best known for his
The Thirty-nine Steps, authored 32 novels and many more
volumes of history, poetry and essays.
- Susan Cooper who is best known for
her The Dark Is Rising
- Lewis Carroll
(real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), Student and
Mathematical Lecturer of Christ Church.
- Colin Dexter who wrote and set his
Inspector Morse detective novels in Oxford. Colin Dexter
still lives in Oxford.
- John Donaldson (d.1989),
a poet resident in Oxford in later life.
- Siobhan Dowd
Oxford resident; who was an undergraduate at Lady
Margaret Hall, Oxford.
Grahame educated at St. Edward's School, Oxford
- Michael Innes (J. I. M.
Stewart), of Christ Church.
- P. D.
James who lives part-time in
- T. E. Lawrence,
"Lawrence of Arabia", Oxford resident, undergraduate at Jesus, postgraduate at Magdalen.
- C. S.
Lewis, Fellow of Magdalen.
- Ian McEwan, formerly an Oxford
resident for many years.
- Iris Murdoch,
Fellow of St Anne's.
- Iain Pears,
undergraduate at Wadham
College and Oxford resident, whose novel An Instance of the
Fingerpost is set in the city.
- Philip Pullman
who was an undergraduate at Exeter.
- Dorothy L. Sayers who was an undergraduate at
- J. R. R.
Tolkien, undergraduate at Exeter
and later professor of English at Merton.
- Charles Williams, editor at
Oxford appears in the following works:
Oxford, and its surrounding towns and villages, have produced many
successful bands and musicians. The most notable Oxford act is
Radiohead, though other well known local bands include Supergrass,
Ride, Swervedriver, Talulah Gosh and more recently, The Young
Knives and Foals. The city also has a vibrant underground music
scene which has seen acts such as Youthmovies, The Rock of
Travolta, Goldrush, Jonquil and Stornoway achieve critical acclaim
on a small scale.
, are currently in
the Conference National
highest tier of non-league football, but have enjoyed greater
success in the past. They were elected to the Football League
reached the Third
after three years and the Second Division
and most notably reached the First Division
- a mere 23 years after joining the Football
League. They spent three seasons in the top flight, winning the
Football League Cup
a year after
promotion. The next 18 years saw them decline gradually (though a
brief respite in 1996 saw them win promotion to the new (post
) Division One in 1996
and stay there for three years) until they suffered relegation to
the Conference. They play at the Kassam Stadium (named after former chairman Firoz Kassam), which is situated near the
Leys housing estate and has been their home since
relocation from the Manor Ground in
F.C. is an amateur football club, separate from Oxford
It plays in the Southern Football
League Premier Division
Oxford Cheetahs motorcycle speedway
team has raced at
Cowley Stadium on and off since 1939. The Cheetahs competed in the
Speedway Elite League
the Speedway Conference
until 2007, when stadium landlords Greyhound Racing Association
apparently doubled the rent. Speedway is not currently running in
Oxford. Details of the 1949 and 1950 seasons at Cowley can be seen
Oxford City Stars is the local Ice Hockey
Team which plays at Oxford Ice Rink.
The senior/adults team website can be found
the junior/children's team website is HERE
Twin towns — Sister cities
Oxford is twinned
- History, learning, beauty reign over
Oxford, Anne Gordon, The
Boston Globe, June 22, 2008
- Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey, James Attlee,
2007. ISBN 978-0226030937
- Oxford, Jan Morris, 2001.
- The Erosion of Oxford, James Stevens Curl, 1977. ISBN
- A Handy Guide to Oxford, ch. 2
- whatdotheyknow.com: Oxford charter 1191
- The Sweating Sickness. Story of
- Oxford City Council.
ONS Population Estimates 2005
- Department for Work and Pensions
- History of Headington, Oxford
- Morrells Brewery up for sale
- Morrells Brewery Ltd
- Jericho Echo
- BBC NEWS | England | Brewer buys pub chain for
- Brewery site plan nears final hurdle
- Source: DfES Pupil Annual School Level Census 2006 see
Neighbourhood Renewal Unit floor target results
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- Milestone Group
- UK Indymedia - Oxford indymedia
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