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Oxford, England

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Oxford, England

This article is about the city of Oxford in England. For other cities and other meanings, see Oxford (disambiguation).

Oxford
City of Oxford
City & Non-metropolitan district

From top left to bottom right: Oxford skyline panorama from St Mary's Church; Radcliffe Camera; High Street from above looking east; University College; High Street by night; Natural History Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum.

Coat of arms of Oxford City Council
Nickname(s): "the City of Dreaming Spires"
Motto: "Fortis est veritas" "The truth is strong"
Oxfordshire

Coordinates: 51°45′7″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W / 51.75194; -1.25778

Sovereign state  United Kingdom
Constituent country  England
Region South East England
Ceremonial county  Oxfordshire
Admin HQ Oxford City Centre
Founded 8th century
City status 1542
Government
 • Type City
 • Governing body Oxford City Council
 • Lord Mayor Cllr Delia Sinclair[1] (2013–2014) (Lab)
 • Sheriff of Oxford Mohammed Abbasi (Lab)
 • Executive Council Leader Labour
Cllr Bob Price
 • MPs Nicola Blackwood (C)
Andrew Smith (L)
Area
 • City & Non-metropolitan district 45.59 km2 (17.60 sq mi)
Population ()
 • City & Non-metropolitan district 150,200 (ranked 122nd of 326)
 • Density 3,270/km2 (8,500/sq mi)
 • Urban 171,380[2]
 • Metro 244,000
 • Ethnicity[3] 72.4% White British
6.7% Other White
8.5% South Asian
3.7% Black
4.3% Chinese
3.0% Mixed Race
2.5% Other
1.4% White Irish
Demonym Oxonian
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcode OX1 • OX2 • OX3 • OX4
Area code(s) 01865
ISO 3166-2 GB-OXF
ONS code 38UC (ONS)
E07000178 (GSS)
OS grid reference SP513061
Website www.oxford.gov.uk

Oxford /ˈɒksfərd/[4][5] is a city in central southern England. It is the county town of Oxfordshire and forms a district within the county. It has a population of 150,200, and lies within the Oxford metropolitan area with a population of 244,000.[6] Oxford is one of the UK's fastest growing cities, in terms of population.[7]

Oxford has a diverse economic base. Its industries include motor manufacturing, education, publishing and a large number of information technology and science-based businesses.

The city is known worldwide as a university town and home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the country and in the English-speaking world.[8]

Buildings in Oxford demonstrate examples of every English architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the iconic, mid-18th-century Radcliffe Camera. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in his poem Thyrsis, referring to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings.

History

Main article: History of Oxford

Medieval

Oxford was first settled in Saxon times and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Oxen"; fords were more common than bridges at that time.[9] It began with the foundation of an oxen crossing in the early 900 AD period. In the 10th century, Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes.

Oxford was heavily damaged during the Norman Invasion of 1066. Following the conquest, the town was assigned to a governor, Robert D'Oyly, who ordered the construction of Oxford Castle to confirm Norman authority over the area. The castle has never been used for military purposes[dubious ] and its remains survive to this day. D'Oyly set up a monastic community in the castle consisting of a chapel and living quarters for monks (St George in the Castle). The community never grew large but it earned its place in history as one of the oldest places of formal education in Oxford. It is there that in 1139 Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his History of the Kings of Britain, a compilation of Arthurian legends.[10]

In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin,[11]

"Be it known to all those present and future that we, the citizens of Oxford of the Commune of the City and of the Merchant Guild have given, and by this, our present charter, confirm the donation of the island of Midney with all those things pertaining to it, to the Church of St. Mary at Oseney and to the canons serving God in that place.

"Since, every year, at Michaelmas the said canons render half a mark of silver for their tenure at the time when we have ordered it as witnesses the legal deed of our ancestors which they made concerning the gift of this same island; and besides, because we have undertaken on our own part and on behalf of our heirs to guarantee the aforesaid island to the same canons wheresoever and against all men; they themselves, by this guarantee, will pay to us and our heirs each year at Easter another half mark which we have demanded; and we and our heirs faithfully will guarantee the aforesaid tenement to them for the service of the aforesaid mark annually for all matters and all services.

"We have made this concession and confirmation in the Common council of the City and we have confirmed it with our common seal. These are those who have made this concession and confirmation."

(There follows a list of witnesses, ending with the phrase, "... and all the Commune of the City of Oxford.")

Oxford's prestige was enhanced by its charter granted by King Henry II, granting its citizens the same privileges and exemptions as those enjoyed by the capital of the kingdom; and various important religious houses were founded in or near the city. A grandson of King John established Rewley Abbey for the Cistercian Order; and friars of various orders (Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and Trinitarians), all had houses at Oxford of varying importance. Parliaments were often held in the city during the 13th century. The Provisions of Oxford were instigated by a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort; these documents are often regarded as England's first written constitution.

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th-century records. As the University took shape, tension between the hundreds of students living where and how they pleased led to a decree that all undergraduates would have to reside in approved halls. Of the hundreds of Aularian houses that sprang up across the city, only St Edmund Hall (c. 1225) remains. What put an end to the halls was the emergence of colleges. Oxford's earliest colleges were University College (1249), Balliol (1263) and Merton (1264). These colleges were established at a time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology, inspiring scientific discoveries and advancements in the arts, as society began to see itself in a new way. These colleges at Oxford were supported by the Church in the hope of reconciling Greek philosophy and Christian theology. The relationship between "town and gown" has often been uneasy – as many as 93 students and townspeople were killed in the St Scholastica Day Riot of 1355.

The sweating sickness epidemic in 1517 was particularly devastating to Oxford and Cambridge where it killed half of both cities' populations, including many students and dons.[12]

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford is unique in combining a college chapel and a cathedral in one foundation. Originally the Priory Church of St Frideswide, the building was extended and incorporated into the structure of the Cardinal's College shortly before its refounding as Christ Church in 1546, since when it has functioned as the cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford.

The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake, on what is now Broad Street, for their religious beliefs and teachings. The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, and the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The Martyrs' Memorial stands nearby, round the corner to the North on St. Giles.

Early Modern

English Civil War

During the English Civil War, Oxford housed the court of Charles I in 1642, after the king was expelled from London, although there was strong support in the town for the Parliamentarian cause. The town yielded to Parliamentarian forces under General Fairfax in the Siege of Oxford of 1646. It later housed the court of Charles II during the Great Plague of London in 1665–66. Although reluctant to do so, he was forced to evacuate when the plague got too close. The city suffered two serious fires in 1644 and 1671.[13]

Late Modern

In 1790, the Oxford Canal connected the city with Coventry. The Duke's Cut was completed by the Duke of Marlborough in 1789 to link the new canal with the River Thames; and, in 1796, the Oxford Canal company built its own link to the Thames, at Isis Lock. In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London via Didcot and Reading,[14][15] and other rail routes soon followed.

In the 19th century, the controversy surrounding the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church drew attention to the city as a focus of theological thought.

Oxford Town Hall was built by Henry T. Hare; the foundation stone was laid on 6 July 1893 and opened by the future King Edward VII on 12 May 1897. The site has been the seat of local government since the Guild Hall of 1292 and though Oxford is a city and a Lord Mayoralty, the building is still called by its traditional name of "Town Hall".

20th and 21st centuries

By the early 20th century, Oxford was experiencing rapid industrial and population growth, with the printing and publishing industries becoming well established by the 1920s. Also during that decade, the economy and society of Oxford underwent a huge transformation as William Morris established Morris Motors Limited to mass produce cars in Cowley, on the south-eastern edge of the city. By the early 1970s over 20,000 people worked in Cowley at the huge Morris Motors and Pressed Steel Fisher plants. By this time, Oxford was a city of two halves; the university city to the west of Magdalen Bridge and the car town to the east. This led to the witticism that "Oxford is the left bank of Cowley". Cowley suffered major job losses in the 1980s and 1990s during the decline of British Leyland, but is now producing the successful Mini for BMW on a smaller site. A large area of the original car manufacturing facility at Cowley was demolished in the 1990s and is now the site of the Oxford Business Park.[16]

During World War II, Oxford was largely ignored by the Germans during the Blitz due to the lack of heavy industry such as steelworks or shipbuilding that would have made it a target, although it was still affected by the rationing and influx of refugees fleeing London and other cities.[17] It has been claimed that Adolf Hitler gave instructions that Oxford should not be bombed as he was impressed by its architecture and had plans for it to be his capital should Germany win World War II.[18] The University's colleges served as temporary military barracks and training areas for soldiers before deployment.[19]

The influx of migrant labour to the car plants and hospitals, recent immigration from south Asia, and a large student population, have given Oxford a notably cosmopolitan character, especially in the Headington and Cowley Road areas with their many bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs, ethnic shops and fast food outlets, and the annual Cowley Road Carnival. Oxford is one of the most diverse small cities in Britain with the most recent population estimates for 2005.[20] showing that 27% of the population were from ethnic minority groups, including 16.2% from non-white ethnic minority ethnic groups (ONS). These figures do not take into account more recent international migration into the city, with over 10,000 people from overseas registering for National Insurance Numbers in Oxford in 2005/06 and 2006/07.[21]

On 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old medical student, ran the first authenticated four-minute mile at the Iffley Road running track in Oxford. Although he had previously studied at Oxford University, Bannister was studying at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London at the time.

Oxford's second university, Oxford Brookes University, formerly the Oxford School of Art, then Oxford Polytechnic, based at Headington Hill, was given its charter in 1991 and has been voted for the last ten years the best new university in the UK.[22] It was named to honour the school's founding principal, John Henry Brookes.

Geography

Location

Oxford's latitude and longitude are Carfax Tower, which is usually considered the centre).

Oxford is 24 miles (39 km) north-west of Reading, 26 miles (42 km) north-east of Swindon, 36 miles (58 km) east of Cheltenham and 43 miles (69 km) east of Gloucester, 30 miles (48 km) south-west of Milton Keynes, 38 miles (61 km) south-east of Evesham, 43 miles (69 km) south of Rugby and 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames (also sometimes known as the Isis locally from the Latinised name Thamesis) run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre.

Climate

Oxford has a maritime temperate climate ("Cfb" by the Köppen system). Precipitation is uniformly distributed throughout the year and is provided mostly by weather systems that arrive from the Atlantic. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Oxford was −16.6 °C (2.1 °F) in January 1982. The highest temperature ever recorded in Oxford is 35.6 °C (96 °F) in August 2003 during the 2003 European heat wave.

The average conditions below are from the Radcliffe Meteorological Station. It boasts the longest series of temperature and rainfall records for one site in Britain. These records are continuous from January, 1815. Irregular observations of rainfall, cloud and temperature exist from 1767.[23]

Climate data for Oxford, UK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.7
(58.5)
18.5
(65.3)
22.1
(71.8)
27.1
(80.8)
30.6
(87.1)
34.3
(93.7)
33.9
(93)
35.6
(96.1)
33.5
(92.3)
27.3
(81.1)
19.0
(66.2)
15.2
(59.4)
35.6
(96.1)
Average high °C (°F) 6.8
(44.2)
7.4
(45.3)
10.1
(50.2)
13.0
(55.4)
16.7
(62.1)
19.8
(67.6)
21.7
(71.1)
21.2
(70.2)
18.5
(65.3)
14.2
(57.6)
9.8
(49.6)
7.4
(45.3)
13.9
(57)
Average low °C (°F) 1.4
(34.5)
1.4
(34.5)
2.5
(36.5)
4.3
(39.7)
7.2
(45)
10.2
(50.4)
12.2
(54)
11.9
(53.4)
9.8
(49.6)
6.8
(44.2)
3.8
(38.8)
2.1
(35.8)
6.1
(43)
Record low °C (°F) −16.6
(2.1)
−16.2
(2.8)
−10.9
(12.4)
−4.8
(23.4)
−1.8
(28.8)
1.3
(34.3)
4.4
(39.9)
3.5
(38.3)
−0.6
(30.9)
−5.1
(22.8)
−8.8
(16.2)
−16.1
(3)
−16.6
(2.1)
Precipitation mm (inches) 52.6
(2.071)
41.0
(1.614)
41.1
(1.618)
43.9
(1.728)
50.6
(1.992)
53.3
(2.098)
59.5
(2.343)
58.3
(2.295)
60.3
(2.374)
65.3
(2.571)
61.8
(2.433)
55.8
(2.197)
643.5
(25.335)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 54.3 70.3 113.3 151.8 191.8 196.9 191.6 180.3 138.3 102.8 64.4 48.8 1,504.3
Source: Radcliffe Meteorological Station (NB: Data from the period 1881–2004)[24]

Economy

Oxford has a diverse economy, which includes manufacturing, publishing and science-based industries as well as education, research and tourism.[25]

Carmaking

Oxford has been an important centre of motor manufacturing since Morris Motors was established in the city in 1910. The principal production site for Mini cars, now owned by BMW, is in the Oxford suburb of Cowley.

Publishing

Oxford University Press, a department of the University of Oxford, is based in the city, although it no longer operates its own paper mill and printing house. The city is also home to the UK operations of Wiley-Blackwell, and several smaller publishing houses.

Science and technology

The presence of the university has given rise to many science and technology based businesses, including Oxford Instruments, Research Machines and Sophos. The university established Isis Innovation in 1987 to promote technology transfer. The Oxford Science Park was established in 1990, and the Begbroke Science Park, owned by the university, lies north of the city.

Brewing

There is a long history of brewing in Oxford. Several of the colleges had private breweries, one of which, at Brasenose, survived until 1889. In the 16th century brewing and malting appear to have been the most popular trades in the city. There were breweries in Brewer Street and Paradise Street, near the Castle Mill Stream.

The rapid expansion of Oxford and the development of its railway links after the 1840s facilitated expansion of the brewing trade.[26] As well as expanding the market for Oxford's brewers, railways enabled brewers further from the city to compete for a share of its market.[26] By 1874 there were nine breweries in Oxford and 13 brewers' agents in Oxford shipping beer in from elsewhere.[26] The nine breweries were: Flowers & Co in Cowley Road, Hall's St Giles Brewery, Hall's Swan Brewery (see below), Hanley's City Brewery in Queen Street, Le Mills's Brewery in St. Ebbes, Morrell's Lion Brewery in St Thomas Street (see below), Simonds's Brewery in Queen Street, Weaving's Eagle Brewery (by 1869 the Eagle Steam Brewery) in Park End Street and Wootten and Cole's St. Clement's Brewery.[26]

The Swan's Nest Brewery, later the Swan Brewery, was established by the early 18th century in Paradise Street, and in 1795 was acquired by William Hall.[27] The brewery became known as Hall's Oxford Brewery, which acquired other local breweries. Hall's Brewery was acquired by Samuel Allsopp & Sons in 1926, after which it ceased brewing in Oxford.[28]

Morrell's, the Oxford based regional brewery was founded in 1743 by Richard Tawney. He formed a partnership in 1782 with Mark and James Morrell, who eventually became the owners.[29] After an acrimonious family dispute this much-loved brewery was closed in 1998,[30] the beer brand names being taken over by the Thomas Hardy Burtonwood brewery,[31] while the 132 tied pubs were bought by Michael Cannon, owner of the American hamburger chain Fuddruckers, through a new company, Morrells of Oxford.[32] The new owners sold most of the pubs on to Greene King in 2002.[33] The Lion Brewery was converted into luxury apartments in 2002.[34]

Bellfounding

The Taylor family of Loughborough had a bell-foundry in Oxford between 1786 and 1854.[35]

Shopping

Outside the City Centre:

Landmarks

Tom Tower on the right)

Oxford has numerous major tourist attractions, many belonging to the university and colleges. As well as several famous institutions, the town centre is home to Carfax Tower and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, both of which offer views over the spires of the city. Many tourists shop at the historic Covered Market. In the summer punting on the Thames/Isis and the Cherwell is popular.





The University of Oxford

Main article: University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English speaking world[36] and one of the most famous and prestigious higher education institutions of the world, averaging five applications to every available place, and attracting 40% of its academic staff and 15% of undergraduates from overseas.[37] It is currently ranked as fifth-best university in the world, according to QS World Rankings,[38] behind its main UK rival, Cambridge, in first place.

Oxford is renowned for its tutorial-based method of teaching, with students attending an average of one one-hour tutorial a week.[37]

The city centre

As well as being a major draw for tourists (9.1 million in 2008, similar in 2009),[39] Oxford city centre has many shops, several theatres, and an ice rink. The historic buildings make this location a popular target for film and TV crews.

The city centre is relatively small, and is centred on Carfax, a cross-roads which forms the junction of Cornmarket Street (pedestrianised), Queen Street (semi-pedestrianised), St Aldate's and The High. Cornmarket Street and Queen Street are home to Oxford's various chain stores, as well as a small number of independent retailers, one of the longest established of which is Boswells, which was founded in 1738.[40] St Aldate's has few shops but has several local government buildings, including the Town Hall, the city police station and local council offices. The High (the word street is traditionally omitted) is the longest of the four streets and has a number of independent and high-end chain stores, but mostly University and College buildings.

There are two small shopping centres in the city centre: The Clarendon Centre[41] and The Westgate Centre.[42] The Westgate Centre is named for the original West Gate in the city wall, and is located at the west end of Queen Street. It is quite small and contains a number of chain stores and a supermarket. The Westgate Shopping Centre is to undergo a large and controversial refurbishment; the plans involve tripling the size of the centre to 750,000 sq ft (70,000 m2), a new 1,335 space underground car park and 90 new shops and bars, including a 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) John Lewis department store. There is to be a new and improved transport system, a complete refurbishment of the existing centre and the surrounding Bonn Square area. The development plans include a number of new homes, and completion is expected in 2011, although this is being delayed due to the current financial climate.

Blackwell's Bookshop is a large bookshop which claims the largest single room devoted to book sales in the whole of Europe, the cavernous Norrington Room (10,000 sq ft).

Other attractions

Parks and nature walks

Oxford is a very green city, with several parks and nature walks within the ring road, as well as several sites just outside the ring road. In total, 28 Nature Reserves exist within or just outside of Oxford ring road, including:

Urban redevelopment

The Westgate redevelopment is just part of a wider scheme proposed by the city council. This scheme includes a total redesign of the centre of Oxford to "pedestrianise" the city. The scheme, entitled Transform Oxford, is only a blueprint for public consultation at this stage, but county council officials are confident it will go ahead.

One of the key elements is the pedestrianisation of Queen Street, with bus stops removed next summer to make way for the eventual complete removal of buses from the street.

Pedestrianisation schemes in George Street and Magdalen Street should follow in the summer of 2010, with the removal of traffic from Broad Street the same year a possibility.

In 2011, highways engineers plan to remodel the Frideswide Square junctions near the railway station, removing traffic lights and introducing roundabouts to improve the traffic flow.

Transport

Air

In addition to the larger airports in the region, Oxford is served by nearby London Oxford Airport, in Kidlington. The airport is also home to Oxford Aviation Academy, an airline pilot flight training centre, and several private jet companies.

Buses

The bus services are mainly provided by the Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach Oxfordshire. Other operators include Thames Travel, Arriva Shires & Essex and several smaller companies.


Oxford has 5 park and ride sites with bus links to the city centre:

  • Pear Tree (bus 300)
  • Redbridge (bus 300)
  • Seacourt (bus 400)
  • Thornhill (bus 400)
  • Water Eaton (bus 500)

There are also bus services to the John Radcliffe Hospital (from Thornhill/Water Eaton) and to the Churchill and Nuffield Hospitals (from Thornhill).

Hybrid buses, which use battery power with a small diesel generator, began to be used in Oxford on 15 July 2010, on Stagecoach Oxfordshire's Route 1 (Cowley, Blackbird Leys), followed by other routes.[43]

Coach

The Oxford to London coach route offers a frequent coach service to London. The X90 (formerly the Oxford Espress [sic]) is operated by the Oxford Bus Company. The Oxford Tube is operated by Stagecoach Oxfordshire. The Oxford Bus Company also runs the Airline services to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

There is a bus station at Gloucester Green, used mainly by the London and airport buses, National Express coaches, and other long-distance buses including route X5 to Milton Keynes and Cambridge.

Rail

In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London (Paddington) via Didcot and Reading;[14][15] in 1851, the London and North Western Railway opened its own route from Oxford to London (Euston), via Bicester, Bletchley and Watford;[44] and in 1864 a third route, also to Paddington, running via Thame, High Wycombe and Maidenhead, was provided;[45] this was shortened in 1906 by the opening of a direct route between High Wycombe and London (Paddington) by way of Denham.[46] The distance from Oxford to London was 78 miles (125.5 km) via Bletchley; 63.5 miles (102.2 km) via Didcot and Reading; 63.25 miles (101.8 km) via Thame and Maidenhead;[47] and 55.75 miles (89.7 km) via Denham.[46] Only the original (Didcot) route is still in use for its full length, portions of the others remain.

There were also routes to the north and west. The line to Banbury was opened in 1850,[48] and was extended to Birmingham in 1852;[49] a route to Worcester opened in 1853.[50] A branch to Witney was opened in 1862,[51] which was extended to Fairford in 1873.[52] The line to Witney and Fairford closed in 1962, but the others remain open.

Oxford has had three main railway stations. The first was opened at Grandpont in 1844,[53] but this was a terminus, inconvenient for routes to the north;[48] it was replaced by the present station on Park End Street in 1852 with the opening of the Birmingham route.[49] Another terminus, at Rewley Road, was opened in 1851 to serve the Bletchley route;[54] this station closed in 1951.[55] There have also been a number of local railway stations, all of which are now closed.

Oxford railway station is half a mile (about 1 km) west of the city centre. The station is served by numerous routes, including CrossCountry services to as far away as Manchester and Edinburgh, First Great Western (who operate the station) services to London Paddington and other destinations such as Worcester and occasional Chiltern Railways services to Birmingham. The present station opened in 1852. Oxford is the junction for a short branch line to Bicester, which is being extended to form the East-West Rail Link to Milton Keynes, providing a passenger route avoiding London. The Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge is planned to link Bedford with a short gap to be reconstructed to Sandy then a rail link between the two cities will be restored via Hitchin.

River and canal

Oxford was historically an important port on the River Thames, with this section of the river being called The Isis; the Oxford-Burcot Commission in the 17th century attempted to improve navigation to Oxford.[56] Iffley Lock and Osney Lock lie within the bounds of the city. In the 18th century the Oxford Canal was built to connect Oxford with the Midlands.[57]

Commercial traffic has given way to recreational use of the river and canal. Oxford was the original base of Salters Steamers and there is a regular service from Folly Bridge downstream to Abingdon and beyond.

Roads

Oxford's central location on several transport routes means that it has long been a crossroads city with many coaching inns.

The Oxford Ring Road surrounds the city centre and close suburbs Marston, Iffley, Cowley and Headington; it consists of the A34 to the west, a 300m section of the A44, the A40 north and north-east, A4142/A423 to the east. It is a dual carriageway, except for a 300m section of the A40 where two residential service roads adjoin, and was completed in 1966.

A roads

The main roads to/from Oxford are:


Motorway

The city is served by the M40 motorway, which connects London to Birmingham. The M40 approached Oxford in 1974 leading from London to Waterstock where the A40 continued to Oxford. When the M40 extension to Birmingham was completed in January 1991, it curved sharply north and a mile of the old motorway became a spur. The M40 comes no closer than 10 miles (16 km) away from the city centre, curving to the east of Otmoor. The M40 meets the A34 to the north of Oxford.

Education

Schools

Oxford is home to wide range of schools many of which receive pupils from around the world. There are two University choral foundation schools, Christ Church Cathedral School and New College School, established to educate the boy choristers of the chapel choirs, and have kept the tradition of single sex education. Magdalen College School still educates the boy choristers for Magdalen College, Oxford, but later became a grammar school and is now an independent school for ages 7–18. St Edward's is another leading independent HMC member school and is the one of the few fully co-educational public schools in the county. Other independent schools in Oxford include Oxford High School, Rye St Antony School and Headington School, Wychwood School (all girls only), St. Clare's, Oxford (co-ed, international school), Greene's Tutorial College (post-GCSE) and two prep schools, Dragon School and Emmanuel Christian School.

Examination results in state-run Oxford schools are consistently below the national average and regional average. However, results in the city are improving with 44% of pupils gaining 5 grades A*-C in 2006.[58] The city and its suburbs are served by six secondary schools.

Tertiary

There are two universities in Oxford, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, as well as the further education institution Ruskin College. The Islamic Azad University also has a campus near Oxford.

Media

As well as the BBC national radio stations, Oxford and the surrounding area has several local stations, including BBC Oxford, Heart Thames Valley, OX105FM, Jack FM and Jack FM 2 along with Oxide: Oxford Student Radio[59] (which went on terrestrial radio at 87.7 MHz FM in late May 2005). A local TV station, Six TV: The Oxford Channel was also available but closed in April 2009.[60] The city is home to a BBC TV newsroom which produces an opt-out from the main South Today programme broadcast from Southampton.

Popular local papers include The Oxford Times (compact; weekly), its sister papers The Oxford Mail (tabloid; daily) and The Oxford Star (tabloid; free and delivered), and Oxford Journal (tabloid; weekly free pick-up). Oxford is also home to several advertising agencies.

Daily Information (known locally as Daily Info) is an events and advertising news sheet which has been published since 1964 and now provides a connected website.

Nightshift is a monthly local free magazine that has covered the Oxford music scene since 1991.[61]

In 2003 DIY grassroots non-corporate media has begun to spread.[62] Independent and community newspapers include the Jericho Echo[63] and Oxford Prospect.[64]

Culture

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"Dreaming spires" of Oxford University viewed from South Park in the snow.

Theatres and cinemas

Literature and film

Main articles: Literature in Oxford and List of films shot in Oxford

Well-known Oxford-based authors include:

Oxford appears in the following works:

Music

Oxford, and its surrounding towns and villages, have produced many successful bands and musicians. The most notable Oxford act is Radiohead, who hail from nearby Abingdon, though other well known local bands include Supergrass, Ride, Swervedriver, Talulah Gosh and more recently, Young Knives, Foals and Stornoway. These and many other bands from over 30 years of the Oxford music scene's history feature in the documentary film Anyone Can Play Guitar.

In 1997, Oxford played host to Radio 1's Sound City, with acts such as Bentley Rhythm Ace, Embrace, Spiritualized and DJ Shadow playing in various venues around the city.[66]

Sport

The town's leading football club, Oxford United, are currently in League Two, the fourth tier of league football, though they enjoyed some success in the past in the upper reaches of the league. They were elected to the Football League in 1962, reached the Third Division after three years and the Second Division after six, and most notably reached the First Division in 1985 – a mere 23 years after joining the Football League. They spent three seasons in the top flight, winning the Football League Cup a year after promotion. The 18 years that followed relegation in 1988 saw their fortunes decline gradually, though a brief respite in 1996 saw them win promotion to the new (post Premier League) Division One in 1996 and stay there for three years. They were relegated to the Football Conference in 2006, staying there for four seasons before returning to the Football League in 2010. They play at the Kassam Stadium (named after former chairman Firoz Kassam), which is situated near the Blackbird Leys housing estate and has been their home since relocation from the Manor Ground in 2001. The club's notable former managers include Ian Greaves, Jim Smith, Maurice Evans, Brian Horton and Denis Smith. Notable former players include John Aldridge, Ray Houghton, Tommy Caton, Matt Elliott, Nigel Jemson and Dean Whitehead.

Oxford City F.C. is a semi-professional football club, separate from Oxford United. It plays in the Conference North, the sixth tier, and two levels on the pyramid below the Football League. Oxford City Nomads F.C. are another semi-professional football club, who ground share with Oxford City F.C. and play in the Hellenic league. A.F.C. Hinksey also play in Oxford.

In 2013, Oxford RLFC entered Rugby League's semi-professional Championship 1, the third tier of British Rugby League.

Oxford Harlequins RFC is the city's main Rugby Union team and currently plays in the National League 3 South West.

Following their promotion from The Championship after the 2011/2012 season, London Welsh RFC moved to the Kassam Stadium to fulfil the Premiership entry criteria regarding stadium capacity. In January 2013, the club stated its intention to continue their tenancy of the Kassam Stadium beyond the 2012/2013 season.

Oxford Cheetahs motorcycle speedway team has raced at Cowley Stadium on and off since 1939. The Cheetahs competed in the Elite League and then the Conference League until 2007, when stadium landlords Greyhound Racing Association apparently doubled the rent. Speedway is not currently running in Oxford.

There are several field hockey clubs based in Oxford. The Oxford Hockey Club (formed after a merger of City of Oxford HC and Rover Oxford HC in 2011) plays most of its home games on the pitch at Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, and also uses the pitches at Headington Girls' School and Iffley Road. Oxford Hawks has two astroturf pitches at Banbury Road North, by Cutteslowe Park to the north of the city.

Oxford City Stars is the local Ice Hockey Team which plays at Oxford Ice Rink. There is a senior/adults’ team[67] and a junior/children’s team.[68]

Oxford is also home to the Oxford City Rowing Club which is situated near Donnington Bridge.

International relations

Oxford is twinned with:[69]

See also

England portal

Gallery

References

Notes

Bibliography
Further reading

External links

  • 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
  • History of Oxford by Stephanie Jenkins
  • Oxford City Council official website
  • Thames Valley Guide – Oxford
  • Oxford Internet Institute
  • Oxford From Above BBC program
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