The Morris Oxford Mini-History of Oxford

The clocks have gone forward – and there’s a full moon tonight. What’s more ... The Morris Oxford Mini-History of Oxford  is published  TODAY It’s concise. It’s historical. It’s about Oxford. ‘Absolutely brilliant.’ ‘Wow! I never knew that.’ ‘Without doubt my book of the year.’ ‘Amazing value.’ Just some of the things reviewers will surely say. It’s available at Daunt ... CONTINUE READING

John Bigg’s Other Shoe

This month’s story was supposed to have been about the ruined abbey of Godstow, but the response to Bradshaw’s Hat has been so rich and so interesting that we feel compelled to postpone the Dissolution for a while. Martin Sheppard, distinguished publisher of History books, got straight to the point with a reminder of the semiotics of millinery in the ... CONTINUE READING

Bradshaw’s Hat

At two o’clock on the bitterly cold afternoon of Saturday 30 January 1649, King Charles I stepped out from the balcony of the Banqueting House, Whitehall, and onto the executioner’s scaffold … A few minutes later, the masked axeman held up his bloody trophy for all to see. In the words of one observer, there went up in ... CONTINUE READING

Swing Bridge

Once it was pivotal. Now, ivy-clad and rusting, it tells of an era long since past. Yet still it retains a grandeur and a fascination, like the mouldering carcass of some giant metal dinosaur. It’s a railway swing bridge. It dates from 1851. It was designed by none other than Robert Stephenson, son of George 'The 'Rocket'. And ... CONTINUE READING

Einstein’s Blackboard

If you like astrolabes, Oxford is the place for you. There are 170 of them in the History of Science Museum. And not just astrolabes. There are also (according to Christopher and Edward Hibbert’s magisterial Encyclopædia of Oxford) ‘armillary spheres, orreries, globes, equatoria, quadrants, sun-dials, instruments of navigation and telescopes’, plus sextants, microscopes and optical devices. Together they constitute ... CONTINUE READING