University of Alabama @
(Denney Chimes, UA)
(Tom Tower, Oxford)
Welcome to the UA at Oxford Study Abroad Program and soon, we hope, to Oxford itself! Studying and living in Oxford is an incomparably stirring experience and we sincerely hope that you will enjoy the intellectual, aesthetic, and historical pleasures of residing in Worcester College, one of the loveliest of the Oxford colleges. While the UA at Oxford Study Abroad Program is an academically rigorous and intellectually intensive program, we also recognize the immense value of experiencing an ancient college town. This guidebook is intended to help ease you into Oxford life by introducing you to several basic necessities of the college and city: where to find books, food, pharmacies, and the college itself if you are arriving by train or by bus. It will also point out several interesting sights worth checking out: unique museums, parks, and pubs. Let us warn you, though, that this guide really does only mention “necessities” and a couple of oddities that might otherwise go overlooked. This is because there is simply no substitute for the excitement of wandering around and discovering Oxford on your own. Check out those colleges, find out what’s inside those walls, visit that café, sit for a second in that chapel before moving on to whatever is next on your agenda. This is what will make you part of the city and the city part of you.
Let UA at Oxford Be Your Adventure!!
(Worcester College from inside the main quad)
Table of Contents
1. General Information
2. Worcester College, Oxford
3. Travel Between London and Oxford (Railway and Bus)
4. General Shopping, Food and Drink, the Post Office
5. (Free) Museums and Parks
6. Safety Tips
7. Speak Like an Oxonian
(The Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodleian)
(Gorgas Library, UA)
GENERAL INFORMATION: The address of Worcester College, your home away from home: Your Name Worcester College Walton Street Oxford OX1 2HB
Program Director’s Oxford Telephone#: (TBD) Worcester College Telephone #: (01865) 278300 Worcester College Website
See relevant general information from Capstone International’s Study Abroad office here Apply to the UA at Oxford program here Or contact the director: [email protected]
(Worcester Quad in the Morning, picture curtesy of UA’s Allen Jones)
Worcester College: The present Worcester College was founded in 1714. Previously on this site was Gloucester College, a place of study for Benedictine monks founded in 1283. Buildings from the fourteenth century survive on the main quad today. These were “cottages” supported by various monasteries whose arms are currently still set above select doors. Apparently, Gloucester at times had something of a rowdy history before it attained the international intellectual prestige it sustains today. Charles Daniel and Wilberforce Barker related that when the warden of Canterbury College expelled the “students of Peterborough [Abbey]” in the fifteenth century due to their being a “disorderly crew,” they went to Gloucester College, imagining that they would be welcome there! (See Daniel and Barker’s history Worcester College. London: F. E. Robinson and Co, 1900. 24). After Henry VIII’s famous dissolution of England’s Catholic monasteries the Worcester grounds and buildings served several distinguished purposes, including operating as the palace of the Bishop of Oxford. Once fairly isolated from Oxford, the construction of Beaumont Street (c. 1828) linked the college more closely to the town of Oxford. Today, Worcester is part of the town proper, connected to its beautiful Jericho section. Famous notables of Worcester include the somewhat delinquent playwright Samuel Foote (1720-77), who annoyed the then Worcester Provost (head of the college), by bringing a dictionary with him whenever he was called in for a reprimand. If the Provost got too pompous with his vocabulary, Foote would stop him, pretend to look up any offending words, until the Provost got fed up and sent Foote on his way; Elena Kagan, Associate Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court; Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate; Thomas de Quincey, writer; Emma Watson, a.k.a. Hermione Granger in something called the “Harry Potter series” (an encyclopedia, I think); and you.
(Old monastic buildings, Worcester College)
(Observatory Street, Jericho, right around the way from Worcester College)
WORCESTER COLLEGE AMENITIES: —Rooms: Worcester has some of the best private, single dorm rooms available for students in Oxford. As such, each UA student will be able to have a private room with a combined bedroom/study area, small refrigerator, and bathroom. These rooms will have access to Worcester’s internet. Each hallway will have a shared kitchen and a large refrigerator. —Meals: Since Worcester is renowned for some of the best food of all the Oxford colleges, we’ll have most breakfasts and weeknight dinners in the college’s beautiful dining hall. We’ll also have two formal dinners to round out the elegant English experience. Students will have ample opportunities to enjoy Oxford’s diverse and affordable restaurants and cafés. —Laundry Machines: The college has several laundry facilities on site. We’d recommend those in the Sainsbury Building and the Linbury Building. For a refundable £5 deposit, you’ll receive a rechargeable card to use for the laundry. The program and Worcester College will provide a bed sheet, top sheet, pillow, pillow case, duvet, and towels. The necessary items will be refreshed each week. —Gym: The college has a small gym, which you must be “inducted” into. This is a twenty minute or so training by Worcester staff and can be offered at the beginning of the program. Carrying books to and from class, however, will give you a very solid workout for free. —The Gardens: You’ll have to discover these for yourselves, but Worcester College has the best gardens and landscaping of any of the Oxford colleges—hands down. —Playing Fields: Worcester is the only college to have its sports fields on its main campus.
GETTING FROM LONDON TO OXFORD AND BACK AGAIN: If you arrive and leave on the group flight, the program will have arranged a charter bus to take you to Oxford and from Oxford to London on the bookend days of the trip. Express and regular speed trains run regularly from Heathrow and Gatwick airports to London. If you come on your own or wish to make the occasional trip from London to Oxford, it’s exceptionally easy. Via Train: (subject to change at the whim of the train systems) Trains between London and Oxford run from Paddington Station. They generally run from around 5am to midnight, but these times are subject to variation, so check and double check your times for departure and arrival. The trip can take anywhere from an hour to two hours, depending upon the scheduled and unscheduled stops, so make sure that you check your options. The train that leaves the earliest might not actually arrive the earliest. The train will arrive at the Oxford railway station. Leave the station and turn left on to Hythe Bridge St passing in front of the Said Business School. Soon after you cross the small creek, take a left on to Worcester St. Walk for just a bit and Worcester College will be on your left. Via Bus: (subject to change at the whim of the bus systems) The Oxford Tube (NB: actually a bus, not the underground) leaves London for Oxford 24 hours a day from Victoria Station. The buses queue on the Buckingham Palace Rd side of the station. (http://www.oxfordtube.com/) The bus from London will eventually come to Gloucester Green bus station, the final stop in Oxford. Make sure not to get off at the Park and Ride, but rather wait until the bus makes a fairly obvious final stop with everyone getting off it. Facing the Arden News/Nero Coffee complex, turn left and head towards “The Old School Building” (currently a fairly good Chinese restaurant). When you reach this turn left and you will see Worcester Rd. Take a very short right on to Worcester Rd and you will soon see the entrance to Worcester College. The Oxford Bus Company (bus X90) also runs from London to Oxford, although they stop in the wee hours of the night, from around 2 or 2:30am until 6:30am. The X90 also leaves from Victoria Station. The buses queue on the Buckingham Palace Rd side of the station. (http://x90.oxfordbus.co.uk/) The bus from London will eventually come to Gloucester Green, the final stop in Oxford. Make sure not to get off at the Park and Ride, but rather wait until the bus makes a fairly obvious final stop with everyone getting off it. Facing the Arden News/Nero Coffee complex, turn left and head towards “The Old School Building” (currently a fairly good Chinese restaurant). When you reach this turn left and you will see Worcester Rd. Take a very short right on to Worcester Rd and you will soon see the entrance to Worcester College.
(Parliament and Big Ben, London)
(Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s, London)
WHERE TO SHOP: For General Groceries (in no particular order): —Tesco —Sainsbury’s Local Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn right on to Magdalen St. Tesco and Sainsbury’s will be on your right. —The Co-op(s) Take a left out of Worcester College on to Walton St, which will curve a bit to the left. A new Co-op will be on your right. If you keep on until you see the old church turned into a café, which will be Freud on your right, the old Co-op will soon be on your left. For Department Store Needs (towels, washcloths, etc.) —Debenhams Department Store Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn right on to Magdalen St and go past Tesco and Sainsbury’s until you get to the major intersection of Magdalen, Cornmarket, and George St. For Specialty Items (fresh cheese, meats, vegetables, cakes, flowers, the occasional hog’s head—for those extra special occasions, and excellent, cheap sandwich shops) —The Covered Market (Shop like it’s the 1770s, today! This market has been in business since at least 1774) Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn right on to Magdalen St and go past Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, and keep going straight until you come to Cornmarket, which is a pedestrian only area. Keep going on Cornmarket until you reach Market St. Turn left and go past Superdrug and Boots. The entrances to the Covered Market will be on you left. Of particular note here are Fasta Pasta [sandwiches and pastas] and Ben’s Cookies [the best, no really the best cookies], but there are many other delicious choices, too.
For Pharmacy Products (NB: if you have a medical concern, tell UA staff first as this is what we’re here for, all the time. This entry is for those needing soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotions, potions, Tylenol, Advil, make-up products [show up for class on time and you won’t need this latter], almost anything you’d get at a CVS or Walgreens back home. Grocery stores will have some of these products, too). —Boots Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn right on to Magdalen St and go past Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, and keep going straight until you come to Cornmarket, which is a pedestrian only area. Keep going on Cornmarket until you see Boots on your left. —Superdrug Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn right on to Magdalen St and go past Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, and keep going straight until you come to Cornmarket, which is a pedestrian only area. Keep going on Cornmarket until you see Superdrug on your left.
For General Technology Needs (power converters, etc.; keep in mind that you can use the computers and printers in the Nuffield Computer Room in the college) —Staples Take a right out of the Porters’ Lodge and head down Worcester St. Staying on Worcester St, cross over Hythe Bridge St /George St. Turn right on Park End St and the Staples will be on your right. —Currys PC World in the Clarendon Centre Take a right out of Worcester’s Porters’ Lodge and head down Worcester St. Take a left on George St. Take a right on New Inn Hall St and then a left on to Shoe Ln. This will lead you to the shopping venue known as the Clarendon Centre and the Currys PC World is inside. BOOKSTORES: —Blackwell’s Bookshop (make sure to check out the top floor, which has a generally excellent selection of cheap used books). Blackwell’s Bookshop is on Broad St across from the Bodleian.
—Albion Beatnik Bookstore (an eclectic selection of new and used books; if you like bookstores, this is worth checking out). Take a left out of Worcester College on to Walton St. Keep going, past Little Clarendon St and Albion will be on your left. —Waterstones (a large, very nice selection, but not quite as quaint as Blackwell’s) On Broad St across from Debenhams.
POST OFFICE: The closest Post Office to Worcester is in Jericho. Take a left out of Worcester College on to Walton St. Keep going, past Little Clarendon St. The Post Office will be on the corner of Walton St and Great Clarendon St across the road from Freud. CAFÉS and COFFEE SHOPS This is only a small selection of some of our favorites. Enjoy these and find your own favorite spots. —Freud Café (located in the de-sanctified, former church, St. Paul’s built in 1835 in the Greek Revival style. It now serves light food and coffees). Turn left out of Worcester College on to Walton St. Keep on and Freud will be on your right. —The Jericho Café (good, solid, low-key coffee house). Turn left out of Worcester College on to Walton St. Keep on, past Freud, and Jericho will be on your right. —Vaults and Garden (this is located in the old vaults in the basement of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. The gardens offer a great view of the church and of the Bodleian. Good coffees, teas, and snacks). Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn right on to Magdalen St and go past Tesco and Sainsbury’s and when you reach Debenhams take a left on to Broad St. Take a left on Broad and keep going until you reach the Bodleian. Turn right on Catte St and then right again to go between the Radcliffe Camera and the church. The café is in the bottom of the church.
PUBS OF NOTE: (These are listed for their traditional English food and historical value: please note the following regarding UA study abroad alcohol policies available here. It’s also worth noting that pubs serve fruit juices, soft drinks, and water.) —The Eagle and Child (C. S. Lewis, who wrote The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe series, amidst other works, and J. R. R. Tolkien, who was a professor of Anglo-Saxon literature, a famous philologist, and who incidentally wrote little known novels about something called “hobbits,” frequently met here as part of a literary group called the Inklings. They sometimes referred to “The Eagle and Child” as “The Bird and Baby,” but you needn’t do so yourselves.) Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn left at the next major intersection which will take you on to St. Giles’. (St. Giles was an ancient Greek saint of noble lineage). Keep on St. Giles’ and The Eagle and Child will be on your left. —The Lamb and Flag (The Inklings also met here and Thomas Hardy had Arabella work here as a barmaid in his macabre canonical novel Jude the Obscure. Nearby St. John’s College has owned the property for centuries, since when it became a tavern c. 1695. Today profits from the pub support graduate students at the college. The “Lamb” is likely the “Lamb of God” [Agnus Dei], which is occasionally depicted carrying a flag as a sign of Christian victory. In a way, this is a college bar like no other.) Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn left at the next major intersection which will take you on to St. Giles’. Turn left on St. Giles’ and cross the street at a designated point remembering to look both ways. The Lamb and Flag will be across the way from The Eagle and Child. —The Turf Tavern (This has been a malt house and cider house since the 18th century. It’s frequently called “hard to find” though more than enough people seem to manage to do so. The reason is because it’s definitely worth checking out for the fish and chips and curries). Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn right on to Magdalen St and go past Tesco and Sainsbury’s and when you reach Debenhams take a left on to Broad St. Take a left on Broad and keep going until you reach the Bodleian. Turn in to the Bodleian, which is actually much better than any pub or restaurant. Study. From here, you’ll have to find the Turf on your own for lunch—it’s more fun this way—then back to the Bodleian.
—The Bear Inn (Here or hereabouts has been a watering hole since the 13th century, although the present structure is, for Oxford, practically brand new, i.e. 17th or 18th Century.) Take a right out of Worcester College Porters’ Lodge and head down Worcester St. Take a left on George St. Take a right on New Inn Hall St. Take a left on Queen’s St and continue on until you can take a right on to St. Aldate’s [St. Aldate was likely a sixth-century bishop of Gloucester about whom not much is known, save this: he’d probably rather you were in the Bodleian than on your way to the Bear, and right he would be …]. Take a left on Blue Boar St and the pub will be on your left. Duck your head going in ….
MUSEUMS AND PARKS (All Free): —The Ashmolean (This museum holds a fantastic collection of English and continental European paintings. Check out the excellent Walter Sickert paintings and Piero di Cosimo’s “The Forest Fire” with its boar/woolf creature with a human face. Look for the smaller treasures, too, such as the “momento mori” [remember that you will die] ring with the skull on it!) Head out of Worcester College on to Beaumont. The Ashmolean will soon be on your left. —The Oxford University Museum of Natural History (In addition to the collections, the neogothic building [finished 1861] itself is worth checking out from the inside, with its iron and glass arches and incredibly detailed stonework in the shape of leaves and animals. Check out the animals carved over the entrance to the building. When funding ran low for the stone carvers O’Shea and Whelan, they offered to work for free. They got into dispute, however, with university officials and supposedly carved these officials faces into animals above the door. The heads were quickly altered and these animals remain faceless to this day. Look also for the famous “cat window” with relatively oddly shaped cats. One story has it that one day a university official walked by and found O’Shea caring monkeys in a window to illustrate Darwin’s still controversial theories. The official responded, “we can’t have monkeys climbing up the museum windows; you must have them out.” The following day, the official followed up and saw O’Shea at work on somewhat odd beasts: “what are you caving now?” he asks. “Cats, you honor,” O’Shea responded. “They are cats to-day.” For a time, it seems, these were known as “‘catamonkeys’” and “these strange attenuated beasts … may be seen to the present day, crawling round the second window of the first floor on the right of the central arch, presenting forms unknown to natural history”—cited from Acland, T. D. “The Oxford University Museum.” Contributions to Medical and Biological Research. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, 1919. 1-9.) Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn left at the next major intersection which will take you on to St. Giles’. Turn left on St. Giles’ and cross the street at a designated point remembering to look both ways. Head towards The Lamb and Flag and take the street immediately to the right of the pub called The Lamb and Flag Passage. Follow this Passage straight to Museum Road. Follow this to Parks Rd, on to which you should turn left for just a bit. The OUMNH will be on your right. —Pitt Rivers Museum (This museum is inside, more or less, the Natural History Museum. You have to go into the latter to get into the Pitt. Look for the small silver bottle with the witch stuck inside it and the card nearby warning against letting her out, as well as the other amulets and anthropological wonders.) See the above directions to the OUMNH
—University Parks (Beautiful lawns and some trees. The gem here is walking along the River Cherwell. This latter once formed a key part of the two sites “Parson’s Pleasure” and “Dame’s Delight,” which you’ll have to research on your own.) Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn left at the next major intersection which will take you on to St. Giles’. Turn left on St. Giles’ and cross the street at a designated point remembering to look both ways. Head towards The Lamb and Flag and take the street immediately to the right of the pub called The Lamb and Flag Passage. Follow this Passage straight to Museum Road. Follow this to Parks Rd, on to which you should turn left and keep on until you see the entrance to Parks on your right. Try to head straight onwards when you get in to the parks to find the river. —Magdalen College Walls (These don’t quite fall into the category of “museum,” but Magdalen has some of the best gargoyles or “hieroglyphics” [a word stemming from terms meaning “sacred” and “carving”] in Oxford. You can see many of these from the outside, but try to see if the porter will let you into the cloister to check out those on the inside, too.) Go directly out of Worcester College and head straight on to Beaumont St. Turn right on to Magdalen St and go past Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, and keep going straight until you come to Cornmarket, which is a pedestrian only area. Keep going on Cornmarket until you reach High St. Take a left on to High St and keep going past University College and Queen’s College, round a brief bend, and you’ll see Magdalen College on your left.
SAFETY TIPS (Please read and follow these): Oxford is an exceptionally safe city in which to live. As in every major city, however, it’s worth taking a couple of extra precautions: 1. When going out, especially at night, try not to go alone. Take along a friend or classmate. 2. If you leave a place, especially at night, try to leave with whom you came. Don’t leave a friend behind to make his or her way home alone. 3. If you leave Oxford for the night, you must write down in the designated office notebook where you are going (city), where you are staying (the name of the hotel or hostel, etc.), and your UK phone number, if you have one. 4. Your time abroad may not be the best time to advertise being an American or to carry around large sums of cash. Be patriotic, but be smart about it. 5. The drinking age in the UK is 18, but you will be held to UA standards of student conduct. Refresh yourself on these here. 6. The town and university have cctv cameras almost everywhere. These are managed by the Thames Valley Police, the City Council, the University, and possibly James Bond. This is good for fighting crime; it’s also a good incentive not to do anything that you wouldn’t want a judge, your parents, or Big Al to see. 7. You will have a passkey to the college. Do not let anyone you do not recognize as part of the program through college gates or doors when they are locked. If they are supposed to be in the college, the porters in the Porters’ Lodge can help them 24 hours a day.
SPEAK LIKE AN OXONIAN (a glossary and pronunciation guide): Oxonian = the adjectival form of Oxford. If you think this is odd, consider that “Cantabrigian” is the adjectival form of Cambridge Oxbridge = a portmanteau (a blend of two words into one: i.e. “smog” from “smoke” and “fog”) for Oxford and Cambridge Worcester = pronounced Wuh-ster Gloucester = Gl-ow-ster (the first two phonemes are pronounced as one syllable) Magdalen = pronounced Maud-lin Beaumont = (you live in the south, so you’ve got this one), pronounced “Beau” (like any boy who comes to visit a Tennessee William’s heroine and the French word for beautiful and handsome) and “mont” (the French word for mountain)
Michaelmas = pronounced Mickle-muss (Oxford has three terms: Michaelmas in the Fall; Hilary in the Winter, and Trinity in the Spring. The name Michaelmas stems from Michael + Mass and is the feast of Michael the Archangel, which falls in September. Hilary comes from St. Hilary, a famous fourth-century theologian whose feast day falls in January. Trinity is named after Trinity Sunday, which falls in June) Holiday = used as a general term for a vacation day or a vacation. Punting = boating in a flat bottomed, rectangular shaped boat known as a punt, which is propelled and guided by a long metal pole. This type of boating is popular in Oxford and Cambridge Queue = to line up for something, like a bus or a movie Tube = the London underground rail system or “subway”