I was a student at University College between 1977 and 1980. The era of punk and new wave! I studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. The subject generally gets the blame for most things that go wrong in Britain these days, as half of our Prime Ministers did the same. Oh well, I enjoyed it and it has stood me in good stead throughout my career in the private and public sector.
When you are a student – or at least when I was a student – you have so much to keep you amused and engaged that you don’t necessarily appreciate your surroundings. Even when they are as magnificent as they are in Oxford. When I go back now, I always think, wow, what a privilege to have been at Oxford, to have been surrounded by all this beauty. Why didn’t it bowl me over at the time?
This weekend I was in Oxford, at the College, for a Gaudy. The word derives from Latin (of course) and essentially means enjoyment or merry-making, a feast. The Gaudy is a get together of a number of years of student intake, in this case people who started between 1975 and 1979. There were about 130 people there. A great opportunity to catch up with people who you may not have seen for ten or twenty, or even thirty, years. This is mostly good! We had a series of gatherings, and just ate and drank a lot, in our penguin suits.
The grouping of years meant that this was a bit of a male occasion, as the College didn’t admit women until 1979. Most Oxford colleges were single sex until then, when the majority changed their ways. Others followed a bit later. We were reminded last night that the first intake of women comprised 29 out of 300-odd undergraduates. I think it is now evenly split. Of the 29, 10 were there last night.
It was a beautiful Autumn day, crisp and sunny. I found a space around 4.30 to nip round the College and environs to take a few photos. To appreciate those surroundings that never quite made it into my consciousness, other than in a vague way, when I was studying here in the late seventies.
Not a lot has changed and here are a few of the shots I took yesterday.
The Chapel, through the Master’s garden. (The Master being the head of the College, effectively the Chairman. Currently Sir Ivor Crewe).
From the Master’s Lodgings, a view into the Radcliffe Quad.
The Radcliffe Quad.
Views through to the main Quad.
The main Quad.
View of Univ from the High Street.
Merton Street is out of the back of the College. Home to Merton College and Corpus Christi. Also where I lived in my first year – in the pink building below.
Logic Lane (sounds like something from Harry Potter, but massively predates it of course) runs through the College grounds and is a public path for most of the day. Views from both ends.
Looking into the High Street we see across to Queen’s. Always a big rival in sport. The local derby!
The Gaudy reminded me, once again, how lucky I was to be able to study at Oxford and in particular, at Univ. It has shaped my life, and I am so grateful for the learning and experience and friendships I took from those three years.