A River Runs Through It

Running through every story on this website is a silver thread: the river which has shaped Oxford’s destiny, indeed the very reason for Oxford’s existence. The water even takes on a different name as it flows here, turning briefly from Thames to Isis … Continue readingA River Runs Through It

The Trap Grounds

As you wind across the boardwalk through the shoulder-high reeds, with a soft grey cygnet quietly lapping beside you, you might well be forgiven for thinking you are in some enchanted rainforest. It is hard to imagine that this land was once a rubbish site, covered with metal, splinters of stone and brick, plastic bags, decomposing waste, even a mouldering caravan … Continue readingThe Trap Grounds

Turl Street Kitchen

Not many loos these days are spanned by vaulted ceilings built of centuries-old stone and brick. Even rarer is it, on a call of nature, to encounter blackened mediaeval timbers and joists, let alone to discover a lavatory with a collection of logs outside, chopped and ready to take their place on an open fire … Continue readingTurl Street Kitchen

Park Town Arch

In his article on ‘The Expansion of Towns – Planned and Unplanned’ [Journal of the Town Planning Institute, 43 (1957), p.106] D.W. Riley identifies certain towns as possessing ‘an efficiency, culture, and charm which are the gradually matured expression of generations of settled living’ … Continue readingPark Town Arch

Beaumont Palace

Pull aside the Springtime foliage which will have grown over it, and there, on the corner of Beaumont Street opposite Worcester College, on a stone pillar beside the iron garden railings, you will find a plaque bearing this inscription: NEAR TO THIS SITE … Continue readingBeaumont Palace

The Norrington Room

When you cross the threshold into the Norrington Room of Blackwell’s bookshop, you are entering world record territory.

Surrounding you are nearly three miles of shelves, and on those shelves are over 150,000 books. This is officially the biggest bookselling room on the planet … Continue readingThe Norrington Room

Aristotle Bridge

There may not be a Plato Place or Socrates Street in Oxford; but how many towns outside Greece can boast an Aristotle Bridge? No one knows for sure how the name came about, but it’s not unreasonable to speculate that Philosophy dons once strolled here … Continue readingAristotle Bridge

Morris Oxford

It was hardly a surprise when, in 1892, fifteen-year-old William Morris secured his first job at a bicycle repair shop. He was a passionate cyclist who thought nothing of pedalling to Birmingham and back in a day, from the family house in 16 James Street, a round trip of over a hundred miles … Continue readingMorris Oxford