Virtual Tour of Oxford Highlights of the Ancient City History of Oxford • Oxford lies in a flat fertile valley which was perfect for the large number of monasteries that sprung up 10th and 11th Century. • Part of this monastic scene was a culture of teaching and learning. Private schools were set up by wealthy foreign teachers. The only true University at the time was in Paris but in 1167 after a dispute with the French, Henry 2nd banned all students from attending this university. Many of the scholars headed to Oxford and within a few decades the city had its first colleges. • The University of Cambridge set up by Oxford scholars. • Oldest college in Oxford is University College which was founded in 1249. 1. Information Centre • Stand with your back to the Information Centre - Turn right and walk along Broad Street until you come to the Sheldonian Theatre. • Stand in front of Sheldonian Theatre which is a very impressive building. 2. Sheldonian Theatre • This was built between 1644 and 1669 and the first major building built by architect Sir Chris Wren. It was named after Archbishop Sheldon a University Chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury, who paid for the theatre to be built. • All students come here for Matriculation Ceremony when they become members of the University and then for Graduation. • To the right of the Sheldonian is the Museum of the History of Science also known as the Asmoleum Museum it was built in 1683 and was the first public museum in UK. • It holds collection of fascinating scientific instruments. It also has the black board used by Sir Albert Einstein who first lectured on the theory of relativity. 3. Junction of Broad Street and Catte Street • On right is Clarendon Building built in 1712 by Oxford University Press as its printing works. • The Clarendon Building now forms part of Bodlian library. The press is now in more modern buildings. • Make way down Catte street to front of Schools Quad. You will pass Bridge of Sighs on your left. It is the most photographed building in Oxford. Built in 1913 to link buildings together when curfew was in place as WW1approached. • Shares the same name as Bridge of Sighs in Venice. 4. Radcliffe Square and Schools Quad • The Plaza you are standing in is Radcliffe Square architecturally one of the best in Europe. Schools Quad was built between 1613 and 1624 as a way of bringing together lecture rooms, which were dotted around the city. This is open to the public, step inside and have a look. • In the 17th Century all lectures were taught in latin. As you can see the inscriptions above the door are in Latin. The building now forms part of Bodlian Library. • At one end of Schools Quad is the Divinity School which is the oldest central university building in Oxford. Main hall was used as part of the Harry Potter Film. • Inside there are 2 interesting exhibits inside that are worth a look if it is open - Drake Chair made from ship of Golden Hind which was sailed by Sir Francis Drake. • Bodleys Chest a very rich man who kept money in this chest which is made of thick iron and an elaborate locking mechanism to pay the workers who were building the Bodlian Library. 4. Radcliffe Camera • Back on Radcliffe Square the Radcliffe Camera Building dominates. • John Radcliffe was a doctor to the Royal Family. In early 1700’s when he died he left money and books. In 1737 work started on the Radcliffe Camera the first round library in Britain. The building became part of the Bodlian Library in 1860. • Head towards St Mary the Virgin Church - on your left is All Souls College look through the gate at the beautiful courtyard. • All Souls has no graduates or undergraduates just research fellows - it has the biggest and best wine collection in Oxford. • See if you can see the famous Sundial designed by Sir Christopher Wren when he was the college bursar. It is on the top of the buildings on the left of the Courtyard of All Souls College. 5. Church of St Mary the Virgin • Go through the Church or walk around to left of the Church. • Climb the tower for a small charge for the best view in Oxford. • St Mary the Virgin is the parish church of Oxford University. The oldest part are the 13th century Tower and 14th century Spire. John Wesley preached his famous sermon here in 1774. • Make your way outside of the church to High Street. 6. High Street • Turn left and continue along the left hand side of High Street heading for next point outside Queen’s College • Queens College 7. Queen’s College • Queens College is not open to the public but look through the main gate at the impressive courtyard. This college was founded in 1340. Queen’s College is Oxfords best example of classical architecture. • Many influential people have studied here – inventor of World Wide Web - Tim Berners Lee. • University College is also named Univ College. This was the first college in Oxford and founded in 1249. • To the left of Univ College is Examination Schools where oxford students have been examined. • You can see 2 sculpted panels above the entrance which show ancient process of examination. • Cross High Street to turning into Merton Street. 8. Corner of Merton Street • Walk along Merton Street for a couple of minutes until you reach entrance to Merton College. 9. Merton College • Founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton who was Bishop of Rochester in Kent He founded the college after selling a lot of his land in Surrey. • Students started studying in 1270. • The college’s Mob Quad is the oldest quadrangle in Oxford dates from 1378. • Worth a visit when college is open to visit. • 3 statues above main gate are Henry 3rd who was king when the college was founded, Walter de Merton himself and St John the Baptist with a selection of animals. • Continue along Merton bear left and then turn left into Bear Lane. Stand outside a pub called The Bear. 10. The Bear Pub • This pub dates back to 1242. In 16th Century it was one of the main coaching inns in Oxford and has 30 rooms. • Pub remains most famous in Oxford. A recent claim to fame goes back little more than 50 years, when the landlord cut off a visitors neck tie. Now a tradition anyone enters the pub with a crest and is willing to have the tie cut will get a free pint of beer. • Walk past the Bear for 50 yards and then follow a narrow alleyway on your right back to High Street. 11. High Street • To the right is Turl Street follow this back to Broad Street back to the Oxford Information Centre.