Oxford

Oxford (/ˈɒksfərd/ OKS-fərd)[5][6] is a university city in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 155,000.[7][8][9][10] It is 51 miles (82 km) northwest of London, 57 miles (92 km) from Birmingham and 30 miles (48 km) from Reading.

The city is home to the University of Oxford, the oldest in the English-speaking world,[11] and has buildings in every style of English architecture from late Anglo-Saxon. Oxford's industries include motor manufacturing, education, publishing, information technology and science.

Oxford
From top left to bottom right: Oxford skyline panorama from St Mary's Church; Radcliffe Camera; High Street from above looking east; University College, main quadrangle; High Street by night; Natural History Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum
From top left to bottom right: Oxford skyline panorama from St Mary's Church; Radcliffe Camera; High Street from above looking east; University College, main quadrangle; High Street by night; Natural History Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum
Nickname(s): 
"the City of Dreaming Spires"
Motto(s): 
"Fortis est veritas" "The truth is strong"
Shown within Oxfordshire
Shown within Oxfordshire
Oxford is located in England
Oxford
Oxford
Location within England
Oxford is located in the United Kingdom
Oxford
Oxford
Location within the United Kingdom
Oxford is located in Europe
Oxford
Oxford
Location within Europe
Coordinates: 51°45′7″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East England
Ceremonial countyOxfordshire
Admin HQOxford City Centre
Founded8th century
City status1542
Government
 • TypeCity
 • Governing bodyOxford City Council
 • Lord MayorCllr Colin Cook[2] (2018–2019)
 • Sheriff of OxfordCllr Craig Simmons[2]
 • Executive Council LeaderLabour
Cllr Susan Brown[3]
 • Council Deputy LeaderLabour
Cllr Linda Smith
Cllr Ed Turner[3]
Area
 • City and non-metropolitan district17.60 sq mi (45.59 km2)
Population
 (2017)
 • City and non-metropolitan district154,600[1]
 • Density8,500/sq mi (3,270/km2)
 • Metro
244,000
 • Ethnicity (2011)[4]
63.6% White British
1.6% White Irish
12.5% Other White
12.5% British Asian
4.0% Mixed Race
4.6% Black
1.4% Other
Demonym(s)Oxonian
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
Postcode
Area code(s)01865
ISO 3166-2GB-OXF
ONS code38UC (ONS)
E07000178 (GSS)
OS grid referenceSP513061
Websitewww.oxford.gov.uk

History

Medieval

Oxford was first settled by the Anglo-Saxons and was initially known as Oxenaforda, meaning "ford of the oxen",[12] as referenced in Florence of Worcester's Chronicon ex chronicis.[13] A river crossing for oxen began around AD 900.

In the 10th century, Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was raided by Danes. In 1002, many Danes were killed in Oxford during the St. Brice's Day massacre ordered by Æthelred the Unready.[14] The skeletons of more than thirty suspected victims were unearthed in 2008 during the course of building work at St John's College.[15] The ‘massacre’ was a contributing factor to King Sweyn I of Denmark’s invasion of England in 1003 and the sacking of Oxford by the Danes in 1004.[16]

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 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 Britain's oldest places of formal education. It was there that in 1139 Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his History of the Kings of Britain, a compilation of Arthurian legends.[17] Additionally, there is evidence of Jews living in the city as early as 1141, and during the 12th century the Jewish community is estimated to have numbered about 80–100.[18] The city was besieged during The Anarchy in 1142.[19]

In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin,[20]

"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. Oxford's status as a liberty obtained from this period until the 19th century.[21] 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 of varying importance at Oxford. 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.

Richard I of England (reigned 6 July 1189 – 6 April 1199) and John, King of England (reigned 6 April 1199 – 19 October 1216) the sons of Henry II of England, were both born at Beaumont Palace in Oxford, on 8 September 1157 and 24 December 1166 respectively. A plaque in Beaumont Street commemorates these events.[22]

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th-century records. 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.[23]

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.[24] 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. 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.[25]

Late modern

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford - Oct 2006
The Radcliffe Camera, completed in 1748

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,[26][27] 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.

A permanent military presence was established in the city with the completion of Cowley Barracks in 1876.[28]

Local government in Oxford was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and the boundaries of the borough were extended to include a small area east of the River Cherwell. The boundaries were further extended in 1889 to add the areas of Grandpont and New Hinksey, south of the Thames, which were transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire. At the same time Summertown and the western part of Cowley were also added to the borough. In 1890 Oxford became a county borough.[21]

Oxford Lord Mayoralty letters patent
Royal proclamation granting Lord Mayoralty to Oxford.
High Street, Oxford, England, 1890s
Photochrom of the High Street, 1890–1900

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

Oxford City Birdseye
Aerial view of Oxford city centre

During the First World War, the population of Oxford changed. The number of University members was significantly reduced as students, fellows and staff enlisted. Some of their places in college accommodation were taken by soldiers in training. Another reminder of the ongoing war was found in the influx of wounded and disabled soldiers, who were treated in new hospitals housed in University buildings including the Examination School, Town Hall and Somerville College.[29]

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. In 1929 the boundaries of the city were extended to include the suburbs of Headington, Cowley and Iffley to the east, and Wolvercote to the north.[21]

Also during the 1920s, 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.[30]

During the Second World War, Oxford was largely ignored by the German air raids during the Blitz, perhaps 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.[31] The university's colleges served as temporary military barracks and training areas for soldiers before deployment.[32]

On 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old medical student, ran the first authenticated sub-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.[33] He later returned to Oxford University and became Master of Pembroke College.

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 for ten years has been voted the best new university in the UK.[34] It was named to honour the school's founding principal, John Henry Brookes.

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, Asian shops and fast food outlets and the annual Cowley Road Carnival. Oxford is one of the most diverse small cities in Britain: the most recent population estimates for 2005[35] showed 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; more than 10,000 people from overseas have registered for National Insurance Numbers in Oxford in 2005/06 and 2006/07.[36]

Geography

Physical

Location

Oxford's latitude and longitude are 51°45′07″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°WCoordinates: 51°45′07″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W or grid reference SP513061 (at 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, 29 miles (47 km) south-west of Milton Keynes, 38 miles (61 km) south-east of Evesham, 43 miles (69 km) south of Rugby and 51 miles (82 km) west-north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames (also sometimes known as the Isis locally from the Latinized name Thamesis) run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre.

Climate

Oxford has a maritime temperate climate (Köppen: Cfb). 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. Oxford's climate is similar to that of Pershore, Worcestershire.[37]

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.[38]

The driest year on record was 1788, with 336.7 mm (13.26 in) of rainfall. Whereas, the wettest year was 1960, with 964.7 mm (37.98 in).[39] The wettest month on record was September 1774.[40]

  1. ^ Weather station is located 0.7 miles (1.1 km) from the Oxford city centre.

Human

Twenty-two percent of the population come from black or ethnic minority (BME) groups.[43]

Suburbs

Location map United Kingdom Oxford

Aside from the city centre, there are several suburbs and neighbourhoods within the borders of city of Oxford, including:

Suburbs and neighbourhoods outside the city boundaries include:

Green belt

Oxford is at the centre of the Oxford Green Belt, which is an environmental and planning policy that regulates the rural space in Oxfordshire surrounding the city which aims to prevent urban sprawl and minimize convergence with nearby settlements.[44] The policy has been blamed for the large rise in house prices in Oxford, making it the least affordable city in the UK outside London, with estate agents calling for brownfield land inside the green belt to be released for new housing.[45][46][47] The vast majority of area covered is outside the city, but there are some green spaces within that are covered by the designation such as much of the Thames and Cherwell river flood-meadows, and the village of Binsey, along with several smaller portions on the fringes. Other landscape features and places of interest covered include Cutteslowe Park and the mini railway attraction, the University Parks, Hogacre Common Eco Park, numerous sports grounds, Aston's Eyot, St Margaret's Church and well, and Wolvercote Common and community orchard.[48]

Economy

Oxford's economy includes manufacturing, publishing and science-based industries as well as education, research and tourism.

Car production

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, owned by BMW since 2000, is in the Oxford suburb of Cowley. The plant, which survived the threat of closure in the early 1990s, also produced cars under the Austin and Rover brands following the demise of the Morris brand in 1984, although the last Morris-badged car was produced there in 1982.

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, Elsevier 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.

Oxford increasingly has a reputation for being a centre of digital innovation, as epitomized by Digital Oxford.[49] Several startups including Passle,[50] Brainomix,[51] Labstep,[52] and more, are based in Oxford.

Education

The presence of the university has also led to Oxford becoming a centre for the education industry. Companies often draw their teaching staff from the pool of Oxford University students and graduates, and, especially for EFL education, use their Oxford location as a selling point.[53]

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.[54] 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.[54] By 1874 there were nine breweries in Oxford and 13 brewers' agents in Oxford shipping beer in from elsewhere.[54] 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.[54]

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.[55] 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.[56]

Morrell's was founded in 1743 by Richard Tawney. He formed a partnership in 1782 with Mark and James Morrell, who eventually became the owners.[57] After an acrimonious family dispute this much-loved brewery was closed in 1998,[58] the beer brand names being taken over by the Thomas Hardy Burtonwood brewery,[59] while the 132 tied pubs were bought by Michael Cannon, owner of the American hamburger chain Fuddruckers, through a new company, Morrells of Oxford.[60] The new owners sold most of the pubs on to Greene King in 2002.[61] The Lion Brewery was converted into luxury apartments in 2002.[62]

Bellfounding

The Taylor family of Loughborough had a bell-foundry in Oxford between 1786 and 1854.[63]

Shopping

Outside the city centre:

Landmarks

The spires of Oxford facing Christ Church to the south (Christ Church Cathedral on the left and Tom Tower on the right)
The spires of Oxford facing Christ Church to the south (Christ Church Cathedral on the left and 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.

Somerville College, Oxford UK - Darbishire quad
Darbishire quad, Somerville College
1 view from carfax tower oxford 2012
View from Carfax Tower
Norrington Room, Blackwell's Bookshop, Oxford
Blackwell's Bookshop
Divinity School Interior 2, Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK - Diliff
The Divinity School at the Bodleian Library
Natural History Museum and Pitt River Museum
Oxford University Museum of Natural History

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world[64] and one of the most famous and prestigious higher education institutions of the world, averaging nine applications to every available place, and attracting 40% of its academic staff and 17% of undergraduates from overseas.[65] It is currently ranked as the world's number one university, according to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[66]

Oxford is renowned for its tutorial-based method of teaching, with students attending an average of one one-hour tutorial a week.[65]

The city centre

As well as being a major draw for tourists (9.1 million in 2008, similar in 2009),[67] 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 (pedestrianized), Queen Street (semi-pedestrianized), 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 Boswell's, founded in 1738.[68] St Aldate's has few shops but 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 malls in the city centre: The Clarendon Centre[69] and the Westgate Centre.[70] The Westgate Centre is named for the original West Gate in the city wall, and is at the west end of Queen Street. A major redevelopment and expansion to 750,000 sq ft (70,000 m2), with a new 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) John Lewis department store and a number of new homes, was completed in October 2017.

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).[71]

The Bodleian Library

The University of Oxford maintains the largest university library system in the UK,[72] and, with over 11 million volumes housed on 120 miles (190 km) of shelving, the Bodleian group is the second-largest library in the UK, after the British Library. The Bodleian is a legal deposit library, which means that it is entitled to request a free copy of every book published in the UK. As such, its collection is growing at a rate of over three miles (five kilometres) of shelving every year.[73]

Visitors can take a guided tour of the Old Bodleian Library to see inside its historic rooms, including the 15th-century Divinity School, medieval Duke Humfrey's Library, and the Radcliffe Camera. The Weston Library was redeveloped and reopened in 2015, with a new shop, café and exhibition galleries for visitors.[74]

Museums and galleries

Oxford is home to many museums, galleries, and collections, most of which are free of admission charges and are major tourist attractions. The majority are departments of the University of Oxford.

The first of these to be established was the Ashmolean Museum, the world's first university museum,[75] and the oldest museum in the UK.[76] Its first building was erected in 1678–1683 to house a cabinet of curiosities given to the University of Oxford in 1677. The museum reopened in 2009 after a major redevelopment. It holds significant collections of art and archaeology, including works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, and Picasso, as well as treasures such as the Scorpion Macehead, the Parian Marble and the Alfred Jewel. It also contains "The Messiah", a pristine Stradivarius violin, regarded by some as one of the finest examples in existence.[77]

The University Museum of Natural History holds the University's zoological, entomological and geological specimens. It is housed in a large neo-Gothic building on Parks Road, in the University's Science Area.[78][79] Among its collection are the skeletons of a Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops, and the most complete remains of a dodo found anywhere in the world. It also hosts the Simonyi Professorship of the Public Understanding of Science, currently held by Marcus du Sautoy.

Adjoining the Museum of Natural History is the Pitt Rivers Museum, founded in 1884, which displays the University's archaeological and anthropological collections, currently holding over 500,000 items. It recently built a new research annexe; its staff have been involved with the teaching of anthropology at Oxford since its foundation, when as part of his donation General Augustus Pitt Rivers stipulated that the University establish a lectureship in anthropology.[80]

The Museum of the History of Science is housed on Broad St in the world's oldest-surviving purpose-built museum building.[81] It contains 15,000 artefacts, from antiquity to the 20th century, representing almost all aspects of the history of science.

In the University's Faculty of Music on St Aldate's is the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, a collection mostly of instruments from Western classical music, from the medieval period onwards. Christ Church Picture Gallery holds a collection of over 200 old master paintings. The University also has an archive at the Oxford University Press Museum.[82]

Other museums and galleries in Oxford include Modern Art Oxford, the Museum of Oxford, the Oxford Castle, and The Story Museum.[83]

Dinosaurs on display at the natural history museum

Galleries at the Museum of Natural History

Old Ashmolean 2006

Museum of the History of Science

Oxford - Pitt Rivers Museum - 0269

The Pitt Rivers Museum

Other attractions

St Mary's Church, Radcliffe Sq, Oxford, UK - Diliff

The University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Oxford Malmaison Hotel

Oxford Malmaison Hotel

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 Oxford ring road, including:

Transport

Air

In addition to the larger airports in the region, Oxford is served by nearby 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

Bus services in Oxford and its suburbs are run by the Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach Oxfordshire as well as other operators including Arriva Shires & Essex and Thames Travel.

Arriva Shires & Essex operates Sapphire route 280 to Aylesbury via Wheatley, Thame and Haddenham seven days a week, at a frequency of up to every 20 minutes.[84] The new Sapphire buses have three-pin power sockets, leather seats and free, onboard Wi-Fi.[85]

Oxford has five park and ride car parks with frequent bus links to the city centre:

There are also bus services to the John Radcliffe Hospital (from Thornhill and Water Eaton/Oxford Parkway) and to the Churchill and Nuffield Hospitals (from Thornhill). As of 2015, Oxford has one of the largest urban park and ride networks in the UK. Its five sites have a combined capacity of 4,930 car parking spaces,[86] served by 20 Oxford Bus Company double deck buses with a combined capacity of 1,695 seats.[87] By comparison, York park and ride has six sites with a combined total of 4,970 parking spaces[88] served by 35 First York buses, but they are single deckers with a combined capacity of 1,548 seats.[89]

Oxford Bus Company 604 on Route U1, Oxford Station (14966079163)
Oxford Bus Company flywheel energy storage bus on a BrookesBus service

More than 58% of Oxford Bus Company customers use the ITSO Ltd smartcard.[90]

In November 2014 all Oxford Bus Company buses within the Oxford SmartZone area have free WiFi installed.[91][92][93]

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 (City centre – Cowley – Blackbird Leys). Both Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company now operate numerous hybrid buses in the city.[94] In 2014 Oxford Bus introduced a fleet of 20 new buses with flywheel energy storage (FES) on the services it operates under contract for Brookes University.[95] Whereas electric hybrids use battery storage and an electric motor to save fuel, FES uses a high-speed flywheel.

Coach

The Oxford to London coach route offers a frequent coach service to London. The X90 Oxford-London service is operated by the Oxford Bus Company, whilst 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 and Stagecoach Gold routes S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S8 and S9.

Cycling

Among UK cities, Oxford has the second highest percentage of people cycling to work.[96]

Rail

In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London Paddington via Didcot and Reading;[26][27] in 1851, the London and North Western Railway opened its own route from Oxford to London Euston, via Bicester, Bletchley and Watford;[97] and in 1864 a third route, also to Paddington, running via Thame, High Wycombe and Maidenhead, was provided;[98] this was shortened in 1906 by the opening of a direct route between High Wycombe and London Paddington by way of Denham.[99] 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;[100] and 55.75 miles (89.7 km) via Denham.[99] 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,[101] and was extended to Birmingham Snow Hill in 1852;[102] a route to Worcester opened in 1853.[103] A branch to Witney was opened in 1862,[104] which was extended to Fairford in 1873.[105] 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,[106] but this was a terminus, inconvenient for routes to the north;[101] it was replaced by the present station on Park End Street in 1852 with the opening of the Birmingham route.[102] Another terminus, at Rewley Road, was opened in 1851 to serve the Bletchley route;[107] this station closed in 1951.[108] There have also been a number of local railway stations, all of which are now closed. A fourth station, Oxford Parkway, is just outside the city, at the park and ride site near Kidlington.

Oxford railway station is half a mile (about 1 km) west of the city centre. The station is served by CrossCountry services to Bouremouth, Manchester Piccadilly and Newcastle, Great Western Railway (who manage the station) services to London Paddington, Banbury and Hereford and Chiltern Railways services to London Marylebone.

The present railway station opened in 1852. Oxford is the junction for a short branch line to Bicester, which was upgraded to 100 mph (161 km/h) during an 18-month closure in 2014/2015 – and is anticipated to be extended to form the planned East West Rail line to Cambridge.[109] Chiltern Railways now connects Oxford to London Marylebone via Bicester Village, having sponsored the building of about 400 metres of new track between Bicester Village and the Chiltern Main Line southwards in 2014. The route serves High Wycombe and London Marylebone, avoiding London Paddington and Didcot Parkway. East West Rail is proposed to continue through Bletchley (for Milton Keynes Central) to Bedford,[110] Cambridge,[111] and ultimately Ipswich and Norwich,[112] thus providing alternative route to East Anglia without needing to travel via, and connect between, the London mainline terminals.

Rail–airport links

From Oxford station direct trains run to Hayes & Harlington where interchange with the Heathrow Connect train links with Heathrow Airport. Passengers can change at Reading for connecting trains to Gatwick Airport. Some CrossCountry trains run direct services to Birmingham International as well as further afield Southampton Airport Parkway.

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.[113] 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.[114]

Commercial traffic has given way to recreational use of the river and canal. Oxford was the original base of Salters Steamers (founded in 1858), which was a leading racing-boat-builder that played an important role in popularising pleasure boating on the Upper Thames. The firm runs 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, although road traffic is now strongly discouraged from using the city centre. From 2020, a new Zero Emission Zone will mean any vehicles which are not zero-emission will be banned from the city centre during certain hours.[115]

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 330-yard section of the A44, the A40 north and north-east, A4142/A423 to the east. It is a dual carriageway, except for a 330-yard section of the A40 where two residential service roads adjoin, and was completed in 1966.

A roads

The main roads to/from Oxford are:

M40 in Warwickshire Crop
The M40 extension

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 6 miles (9.7 km) away from the city centre, curving to the east of Otmoor. The M40 meets the A34 to the north of Oxford.

Education

Universities and colleges

There are two universities in Oxford, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, as well as the specialist further and higher education institution Ruskin College that is an Affiliate of the University of Oxford. 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, Destiny 105, Jack FM and Jack FM 2 along with Oxide: Oxford Student Radio[116] (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[117] but closed in April 2009; a service operated by That's TV, originally called That's Oxford (now That's Oxfordshire), took to the airwaves in 2015.[118][119] 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.[120]

In 2003 DIY grassroots non-corporate media has begun to spread.[121] Independent and community newspapers include the Jericho Echo[122] and Oxford Prospect.[123]

Culture

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

{{{annotations}}}

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

Theatres and cinemas

Literature and film

Well-known Oxford-based authors include:

Oxford appears in the following works:

Music

Holywell Music Room is said to be the oldest purpose-built music room in Europe, and hence Britain's first concert hall.[125] Tradition has it that George Frideric Handel performed there, though there is little evidence.[126] Joseph Haydn was awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford University in 1791, an event commemorated by three concerts of his music at the Sheldonian Theatre, directed by the composer and from which his Symphony No. 92 earned the nickname of the "Oxford" Symphony.[127] Victorian composer Sir John Stainer was organist at Magdalen College and later Professor of Music at the university, and is buried in Holywell Cemetery.[128]

Oxford, and its surrounding towns and villages, have produced many successful bands and musicians in the field of popular music. The most notable Oxford act is Radiohead, who all met at nearby Abingdon School, though other well known local bands include Supergrass, Ride, Swervedriver, Lab 4, Talulah Gosh, the Candyskins, Medal, the Egg, Unbelievable Truth, Hurricane No. 1, Crackout, Goldrush and more recently, Young Knives, Foals, Glass Animals, Dive Dive 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 Travis, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Embrace, Spiritualized and DJ Shadow playing in various venues around the city including Oxford Brookes University.[129]

It is also home to several brass bands, notably the City of Oxford Silver Band, founded in 1887.

Sport

Football

The city's leading football club, Oxford United, are currently in League One, the third 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 – 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 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, Ramon Diaz and Denis Smith. Notable former players include John Aldridge, Ray Houghton, Tommy Caton, Matt Elliott, Dean Saunders and Dean Whitehead.

Oxford City FC is a semi-professional football club, separate from Oxford United. It plays in the Conference South, the sixth tier, two levels below the Football League in the pyramid. Oxford City Nomads FC are a semi-professional football club who ground-share with Oxford City and play in the Hellenic league.

Rugby league

In 2013, Oxford Rugby League entered rugby league's semi-professional Championship 1, the third tier of British rugby league. Oxford Cavaliers, who were formed in 1996, compete at the next level, the Conference League South. Oxford University (The Blues)[130] and Oxford Brookes University (The Bulls)[131] both compete in the rugby league BUCS university League.

Rugby union

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

Oxford R.F.C is the oldest city team and currently plays in the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Championship. Their most famous player was arguably Michael James Parsons known as Jim Parsons who was capped by England.[132]

Oxford University RFC are the most famous club with more than 300 Oxford players gaining International honours; including Phil de Glanville, Joe Roff, Tyrone Howe, Anton Oliver, Simon Halliday, David Kirk and Rob Egerton.[133]

London Welsh RFC moved to the Kassam Stadium in 2012 to fulfil their Premiership entry criteria regarding stadium capacity. At the end of the 2015 season, following relegation, the club left Oxford.[134]

Speedway and greyhound racing

Oxford Cheetahs motorcycle speedway team has raced at Oxford Stadium in Cowley on and off since 1939. The Cheetahs competed in the Elite League and then the Conference League until 2007. They were Britain's most successful club in the late 1980s, becoming British League champions in 1985, 1986 and 1989. Four-times world champion Hans Nielsen was the club's most successful rider.

Greyhound racing took place at the Oxford Stadium from 1939 until 2012 and hosted some of the sport's leading events such as the Pall Mall Stakes, The Cesarewitch and Trafalgar Cup. The stadium remains intact but unused after closing in 2012.

Hockey

There are several 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.

Ice hockey

Oxford City Stars is the local Ice Hockey Team which plays at Oxford Ice Rink. There is a senior/adults’ team[135] and a junior/children's team.[136] The Oxford University Ice Hockey Club was formed as an official University sports club in 1921, and traces its history back to a match played against Cambridge in St Moritz, Switzerland in 1885.[137] The club currently competes in Checking Division 1 of the British Universities Ice Hockey Association.[138]

American football

Oxford Saints is Oxford's senior American Football team. One of the longest running American football clubs in the UK, the Saints were founded in 1983 and have competed for over 30 years against other British teams across the country.

Cricket

Oxford University Cricket Club is Oxford's most famous club with more than 300 Oxford players gaining international honours, including Colin Cowdrey, Douglas Jardine and Imran Khan.[139]

Oxfordshire County Cricket Club play in the Minor Counties League.

Rowing

Oxford University Boat Club compete in the world-famous Boat Race. Since 2007 the club has been based at a training facility and boathouse in Wallingford,[140] south of Oxford, after the original boathouse burnt down in 1999. Oxford is also home to the City of Oxford Rowing Club, based near Donnington Bridge.

Other sports

Headington Road Runners based at the OXSRAD sports facility in Marsh Lane (next to Oxford City F.C.) is Oxford's only road running club with an average annual membership exceeding 300. It was the club at which double Olympian Mara Yamauchi started her running career.

Twin towns

Oxford is twinned with:

Gallery

Somerville College

Somerville College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford

Keble College Chapel - Oct 2006

Keble College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford

High Street in Oxford by Night 2009 LL

Night view of High Street with Christmas lights - one of Oxford's main streets

Oxford 0

Floral display in Oxford city centre in 2001

High Street Oxford looking east in landscape view

All Souls' College looking east up the High Street from St Mary's Church

Bridge of Sighs and Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

The Bridge of Sighs links sections of Hertford College: as seen from New College Lane with the Sheldonian Theatre in the background.

Radcliffe Square towards church of St Mary the Virgin

University Church of St Mary the Virgin as seen from Radcliffe Square.

Broad St Oxford 011007

Broad Street, showing the main entrances to Trinity and Balliol Colleges, and obliquely, the frontage of Exeter College from the Sheldonian Theatre.

Carfaxtower fromcornmarket

Carfax Tower at Carfax, the junction of the High Street, Queen Street, Cornmarket and St Aldate's streets at what is considered by many to be the centre of the city.

High Street from above looking east

High Street as viewed from St Mary's, looking east, with Magdalen College in the distant background.

See also

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Sources

  • Cooke, B.W.C., ed. (January 1960). "The Why and the Wherefore: Distances from London to Oxford". The Railway Magazine. Vol. 106 no. 705. Westminster: Tothill Press.
  • MacDermot, E.T. (1927). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. I: 1833–1863. Paddington: Great Western Railway.
  • MacDermot, E.T. (1931). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. II: 1863–1921. Paddington: Great Western Railway.
  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (July 2005). Oxford to Bletchley. Country Railway Routes. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-904474-57-8.
  • Sager, Peter (2005). Oxford & Cambridge: An Uncommon History. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-51249-3.
  • Saint, Andrew (1970). "Three Oxford Architects". Oxoniensia. Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society. XXXV. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  • Simpson, Bill (1997). A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire. Part 1: The North. Banbury and Witney: Lamplight. ISBN 1-899246-02-9.
  • Simpson, Bill (2001). A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire. Part 2: The South. Banbury and Witney: Lamplight. ISBN 1-899246-06-1.

Further reading

  • Aston, Michael; Bond, James (1976). The Landscape of Towns. Archaeology in the Field Series. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. ISBN 0-460-04194-0.
  • Attlee, James (2007). Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-03093-7.
  • Curl, James Stevens (1977). The Erosion of Oxford. Oxford Illustrated Press Ltd. ISBN 0-902280-40-6.
  • Dale, Lawrence (1944). Towards a Plan for Oxford City. London: Faber and Faber.
  • Gordon, Anne (22 June 2008). "History, learning, beauty reign over Oxford". The Boston Globe.
  • Morris, Jan (2001). Oxford. Oxford: Oxford Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-19-280136-4.
  • Sharp, Thomas (1948). Oxford Replanned. London: The Architectural Press.
  • Tyack, Geoffrey (1998). Oxford An Architectural Guide. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-817423-3.
  • Woolley, A. R. (1975). The Clarendon Guide to Oxford (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-951047-4.

External links

C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British writer and lay theologian. He held academic positions in English literature at both Oxford University (Magdalen College, 1925–1954) and Cambridge University (Magdalene College, 1954–1963). He is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. They both served on the English faculty at Oxford University and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings. According to Lewis's memoir Surprised by Joy, he was baptised in the Church of Ireland, but fell away from his faith during adolescence. Lewis returned to Anglicanism at the age of 32, owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, and he became an "ordinary layman of the Church of England". Lewis's faith profoundly affected his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

Lewis wrote more than 30 books which have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularised on stage, TV, radio, and cinema. His philosophical writings are widely cited by Christian apologists from many denominations.

In 1956, Lewis married American writer Joy Davidman; she died of cancer four years later at the age of 45. Lewis died on 22 November 1963 from renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis was honoured with a memorial in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Christ Church, Oxford

Christ Church (Latin: Ædes Christi, the temple or house, ædēs, of Christ, and thus sometimes known as "The House") is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Christ Church is a joint foundation of the college and the cathedral of the Oxford diocese (Christ Church Cathedral and its cathedral school), which serves as the college chapel and whose dean is ex officio the college head.Founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII, it is one of the larger colleges of the University of Oxford with 629 students in 2016. It is also the second wealthiest college (after St John's) with an endowment of £550.3m as of 2018. Christ Church has a number of architecturally significant buildings including Tom Tower (designed by Sir Christopher Wren), Tom Quad (the largest quadrangle in Oxford), and the Great Dining Hall which was also the seat of the parliament assembled by King Charles I during the English Civil War. The buildings have inspired replicas throughout the world in addition to being featured in films such as Harry Potter and The Golden Compass. This has helped Christ Church become the most popular Oxford college for tourists with almost half a million visitors annually.Christ Church has many notable alumni including thirteen British prime ministers (more than any other Oxbridge college), King Edward VII, King William II of the Netherlands, seventeen Archbishops, writers Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) and W. H. Auden, philosopher John Locke, and scientist Robert Hooke. Christ Church is also partly responsible for the creation of University College Reading, which later gained its own Royal Charter and became the University of Reading. The first female undergraduates matriculated at Christ Church in 1980.

Christianity

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles, and their followers, spread it around Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. It soon also attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, and the establishment of Christianity as a distinct religion. Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and decriminalized it in the Roman Empire by the Edict of Milan (313), later convening the Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state church of the Roman Empire (380). The early history of Christianity is sometimes referred to as the "Great Church", the united communion of the "orthodox" Christian churches before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology, while the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism (1054), especially over the authority of the bishop of Rome. Similarly, Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Catholic Church in the Reformation (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and the primacy of the bishop of Rome. Following the Age of Discovery (15th–17th century), Christianity was spread into the Americas, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world via missionary work.Christianity remains culturally diverse in its Western and Eastern branches, as well as in its doctrines concerning justification and the nature of salvation, ecclesiology, ordination, and Christology. The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion), Protestantism (920 million), the Eastern Orthodox Church (260 million) and Oriental Orthodoxy (86 million), amid various efforts toward unity (ecumenism). Their theology and professions of faith, in addition to the Bible (scripture), generally hold in common that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, descended into the grave and rose from the dead to grant eternal life to those who believe in him for the forgiveness of their sins. His incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion and resurrection are often referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news". Describing Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with the Jewish Old Testament as the gospel's respected background.

Christianity and Christian ethics played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization, particularly around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Despite a decline in adherence in the West, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the region, with about 70% of the population identifying as Christian. Christianity is growing rapidly in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents.

Dictionary of National Biography

The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives.

Islam

Islam () is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Arabic: Allah), and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, claimed to be the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570 – 8 June 632 CE).

Islamic scripture claims Islam to be the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus and it teaches that the Quran in its original Arabic to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam also teaches a final judgment with the righteous rewarded paradise and unrighteous punished in hell. Religious concepts and practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law (sharia), which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment. The cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam.Aside from the theological narrative, Islam is historically believed to have originated in the early 7th century CE in Mecca, and by the 8th century the Umayyad Caliphate extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east. The Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century, during the Abbasid Caliphate, when much of the historically Muslim world was experiencing a scientific, economic and cultural flourishing. The spread of Islam has involved both conquest and conversion to Islam by missionary activities (dawah) also conducted by traders. Much of the expansion occurred under various Muslim states and dynasties including caliphates, such as the Ottoman Empire.Most Muslims are of one of two denominations; Sunni (75–90%) or Shia (10-20%). About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country; 31% of Muslims live in South Asia, the largest population of Muslims in the world; 20% in the Middle East–North Africa, where it is the dominant religion; and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sizeable Muslim communities are also found in the Americas, the Caucasus, Central Asia, China, Europe, Mainland Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Russia. Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in the world.

J. R. R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (; 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, from 1945 to 1959. He was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.

After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings.While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or, more precisely, of high fantasy. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning "dead celebrity" in 2009.

King James Version

The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB) or simply the Authorized Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, begun in 1604 and completed as well as published in 1611 under the sponsorship of James VI and I. The books of the King James Version include the 39 books of the Old Testament, an intertestamental section containing 14 books of the Apocrypha, and the 27 books of the New Testament. The translation is noted for its "majesty of style", and has been described as one of the most important books in English culture and a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world.It was first printed by Robert Barker, the King's Printer, and was the third translation into English approved by the English Church authorities: The first had been the Great Bible, commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII (1535), and the second had been the Bishops' Bible, commissioned in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1568). In Geneva, Switzerland the first generation of Protestant Reformers had produced the Geneva Bible of 1560 from the original Hebrew and Greek scriptures, which was influential in the writing of the Authorized King James Version.

In January 1604, King James convened the Hampton Court Conference, where a new English version was conceived in response to the problems of the earlier translations perceived by the Puritans, a faction of the Church of England.James gave the translators instructions intended to ensure that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology of, and reflect the episcopal structure of, the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy. The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament from Hebrew and Aramaic, and the Apocrypha from Greek and Latin. In the Book of Common Prayer (1662), the text of the Authorized Version replaced the text of the Great Bible for Epistle and Gospel readings (but not for the Psalter, which substantially retained Coverdale's Great Bible version), and as such was authorised by Act of Parliament.By the first half of the 18th century, the Authorized Version had become effectively unchallenged as the English translation used in Anglican and English Protestant churches, except for the Psalms and some short passages in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. Over the course of the 18th century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English-speaking scholars. With the development of stereotype printing at the beginning of the 19th century, this version of the Bible became the most widely printed book in history, almost all such printings presenting the standard text of 1769 extensively re-edited by Benjamin Blayney at Oxford, and nearly always omitting the books of the Apocrypha. Today the unqualified title "King James Version" usually indicates this Oxford standard text.

Maggie Smith

Dame Margaret Natalie Smith (born 28 December 1934) is an English actress. She has had an extensive, varied career on stage, film, and television, spanning over 67 years. Smith has appeared in more than 50 films, and is one of Britain's most recognisable actresses. She was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 for contributions to the performing arts, and received the Companion of Honour from the Queen in 2014 for services to drama.Smith began her career on stage as a student, performing at the Oxford Playhouse in 1952, and made her professional debut on Broadway in New Faces of '56. For her work on the London stage, she has won a record five Best Actress Evening Standard Awards: for The Private Ear, and The Public Eye (both 1962), Hedda Gabler (1970), Virginia (1981), The Way of the World (1984), and Three Tall Women (1994). She received Tony Award nominations for Private Lives (1975) and Night and Day (1979), before winning the 1990 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for Lettice and Lovage. She appeared in Stratford Shakespeare Festival productions of Antony and Cleopatra (1976) and Macbeth (1978), and West End productions of A Delicate Balance (1997) and The Breath of Life (2002). She received the Society of London Theatre Special Award in 2010.

On screen, Smith first drew praise for the crime film Nowhere to Go (1958), for which she received her first British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award nomination. She has won two Academy Awards, winning Best Actress for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and Best Supporting Actress for California Suite (1978). She is one of only six actresses to have won in both categories. She has won a record four BAFTA Awards for Best Actress, including for A Private Function (1984) and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1988), a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for Tea with Mussolini (1999), and three Golden Globe Awards. A six-time Oscar nominee, her other nominations were for Othello (1965), Travels with My Aunt (1972), A Room with a View (1986), and Gosford Park (2001).Smith played Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film series (2001–2011). Other notable films include Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973), Death on the Nile (1978), Clash of the Titans (1981), Evil Under the Sun (1982), Hook (1991), Sister Act (1992), The Secret Garden (1993), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), and The Lady in the Van (2015). She won an Emmy Award in 2003 for My House in Umbria, to become one of the few actresses to have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting, and starred as Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, on Downton Abbey (2010–2015), for which she won three Emmys, her first non-ensemble Screen Actors Guild Award, and her third Golden Globe. Her honorary film awards include the BAFTA Special Award in 1993 and the BAFTA Fellowship in 1996. She received the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Legacy Award in 2012, and the Bodley Medal by the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries in 2016.

Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989.

Work began on the dictionary in 1857, but it was only in 1884 that it began to be published in unbound fascicles as work continued on the project, under the name of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society. In 1895, the title The Oxford English Dictionary was first used unofficially on the covers of the series, and in 1928 the full dictionary was republished in ten bound volumes. In 1933, the title The Oxford English Dictionary fully replaced the former name in all occurrences in its reprinting as twelve volumes with a one-volume supplement. More supplements came over the years until 1989, when the second edition was published. Since 2000, compilation of a third edition of the dictionary has been underway, approximately half of which is complete.The first electronic version of the dictionary was made available in 1988. The online version has been available since 2000, and as of April 2014 was receiving over two million visits per month. The third edition of the dictionary will most likely only appear in electronic form: the Chief Executive of Oxford University Press has stated that it is unlikely that it will ever be printed.

Oxford United F.C.

Oxford United Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. The team plays in League One, the third tier of English football. The chairman is Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth, the manager is Karl Robinson and the team captain is John Mousinho.Founded in 1893 as Headington United, Oxford United adopted its current name in 1960. It joined the Football League in 1962 after winning the Southern Football League, reaching the Second Division in 1968. After relegation in 1976, between 1984 and 1986 the club earned successive promotions into the First Division, and won the League Cup in 1986. However, Oxford was unable thereby to enter the 1987 UEFA Cup because of the UEFA ban on English clubs in European competitions. Relegation from the top flight in 1988 began an 18-year decline which saw the club relegated to the Conference in 2006, becoming the first winners of a major trophy to be relegated from the Football League. After four seasons, Oxford returned to League Two in 2010 via the playoffs, and six seasons later achieved promotion to League One, after finishing 2nd in League Two in 2016.

Ron Atkinson holds the club record for the most overall appearances with 560, John Shuker holds the record for the most appearances in the Football League with 478 and Ron's late brother Graham Atkinson holds the record for the most goals scored with 107. In total, nineteen players have made international appearances while playing for the club. United's home ground is the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and has a capacity of 12,500. United moved to the stadium in 2001 after leaving the Manor Ground, their home for 76 years. Swindon Town is the club's main rival.

Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press (OUP) is the largest university press in the world, and the second oldest after Cambridge University Press. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the vice-chancellor known as the delegates of the press. They are headed by the secretary to the delegates, who serves as OUP's chief executive and as its major representative on other university bodies. Oxford University has used a similar system to oversee OUP since the 17th century. The Press is located on Walton Street, opposite Somerville College, in the suburb Jericho.

Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from Oxonium, the Latin name for Oxford) is a county in South East England. The ceremonial county borders Warwickshire to the north-west, Northamptonshire to the north-east, Buckinghamshire to the east, Berkshire to the south, Wiltshire to the south-west and Gloucestershire to the west.

The county has major education and tourist industries and is noted for the concentration of performance motorsport companies and facilities. Oxford University Press is the largest firm among a concentration of print and publishing firms; the University of Oxford is also linked to the concentration of local biotechnology companies.

As well as the city of Oxford, other centres of population are Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington and Chipping Norton to the north of Oxford; Carterton and Witney to the west; Thame and Chinnor to the east; and Abingdon-on-Thames, Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames to the south. The areas south of the Thames, the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire, are in the historic county of Berkshire, as is the highest point, the 261 metres (856 ft) White Horse Hill.Oxfordshire's county flower is the snake's-head fritillary.

Philosophy

Philosophy (from Greek φιλοσοφία, philosophia, literally "love of wisdom") is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras (c. 570 – 495 BCE). Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust (if one can get away with it)? Do humans have free will?Historically, "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy, medicine, and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy later became classified as a book of physics. In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize. In the modern era, some investigations that were traditionally part of philosophy became separate academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology, linguistics, and economics.

Other investigations closely related to art, science, politics, or other pursuits remained part of philosophy. For example, is beauty objective or subjective? Are there many scientific methods or just one? Is political utopia a hopeful dream or hopeless fantasy? Major sub-fields of academic philosophy include metaphysics ("concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being"), epistemology (about the "nature and grounds of knowledge [and]...its limits and validity"), ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, logic and philosophy of science.

Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Sebastian Atkinson (born 6 January 1955) is an English actor, comedian and screenwriter best known for his work on the sitcoms Blackadder (1983–1989) and Mr. Bean (1990–1995). Atkinson first came to prominence in the BBC's sketch comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979–1982), receiving the 1981 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance, and via his participation in The Secret Policeman's Ball from 1979. His other work includes the 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again, playing a bumbling vicar in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), voicing the red-billed hornbill Zazu in The Lion King (1994), and playing jewellery salesman Rufus in Love Actually (2003). He also featured in the BBC sitcom The Thin Blue Line (1995–1996). His work in theatre includes the 2009 West End revival of the musical Oliver!.

Atkinson was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest actors in British comedy, and among the top 50 comedians ever, in a 2005 poll of fellow comedians. Throughout his career he has collaborated with screenwriter Richard Curtis and composer Howard Goodall, both of whom he met at the Oxford University Dramatic Society during the 1970s. In addition to his 1981 BAFTA, he received an Olivier Award for his 1981 West End theatre performance in Rowan Atkinson in Revue. He has also had cinematic success with his performances in the Mr. Bean movie adaptations Bean and Mr. Bean's Holiday, and also in the Johnny English film series (2003–2018). He also appears as the titular character in Maigret (2016–2017).

Serial comma

In English language punctuation, a serial comma or series comma (also called an Oxford comma or a Harvard comma) is a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or or) in a series of three or more terms. For example, a list of three countries might be punctuated either as "France, Italy, and Spain" (with the serial comma), or as "France, Italy and Spain" (without the serial comma).Opinions among writers and editors differ on whether to use the serial comma, and usage also differs somewhat between regional varieties of English. Generally (with few exceptions), British English does not make use of this comma, while on the other hand it is common and even mandatory in American English. A majority of American style guides mandate use of the serial comma, including APA style, The Chicago Manual of Style, The MLA Style Manual, Strunk and White's Elements of Style, and the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual. In contrast, the Associated Press Stylebook advises against it. In Canada, the stylebook published by The Canadian Press advises against it. It is used less often in British English, but a few British style guides require it, notably The Oxford Style Manual. According to The Oxford Companion to the English Language, "Commas are used to separate items in a list or sequence … Usage varies as to the inclusion of a comma before and in the last item … This practice is controversial and is known as the serial comma or Oxford comma, because it is part of the house style of Oxford University Press." Some use it only where necessary to avoid ambiguity, in contrast to such guides as Garner's Modern American Usage, which advocate its routine use to avoid ambiguity.

Sharia

Sharia (, Arabic: شريعة‎ [ʃaˈriːʕa]), Islamic law or Sharia law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim fundamentalists and modernists.Traditional theory of Islamic jurisprudence recognizes four sources of sharia: the Quran, sunnah (authentic hadith), qiyas (analogical reasoning), and ijma (juridical consensus). Different legal schools—of which the most prominent are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbali and Jafari—developed methodologies for deriving sharia rulings from scriptural sources using a process known as ijtihad. Traditional jurisprudence (fiqh) distinguishes two principal branches of law, ʿibādāt (rituals) and muʿāmalāt (social relations), which together comprise a wide range of topics. Its rulings are concerned with ethical standards as much as with legal norms, assigning actions to one of five categories: mandatory, recommended, neutral, abhorred, and prohibited. Thus, some areas of sharia overlap with the Western notion of law while others correspond more broadly to living life in accordance with God’s will.Classical jurisprudence was elaborated by private religious scholars, largely through legal opinions (fatwas) issued by qualified jurists (muftis). It was historically applied in sharia courts by ruler-appointed judges, who dealt mainly with civil disputes and community affairs. Sultanic courts, the police and market inspectors administered criminal justice, which was influenced by sharia but not bound by its rules. Non-Muslim (dhimmi) communities had legal autonomy to adjudicate their internal affairs. Over the centuries, Sunni muftis were gradually incorporated into state bureaucracies, and fiqh was complemented by various economic, criminal and administrative laws issued by Muslim rulers. The Ottoman civil code of 1869–1876 was the first partial attempt to codify sharia.In the modern era, traditional laws in the Muslim world have been widely replaced by statutes inspired by European models. Judicial procedures and legal education were likewise brought in line with European practice. While the constitutions of most Muslim-majority states contain references to sharia, its classical rules were largely retained only in personal status (family) laws. Legislators who codified these laws sought to modernize them without abandoning their foundations in traditional jurisprudence. The Islamic revival of the late 20th century brought along calls by Islamist movements for full implementation of sharia, including hudud corporal punishments, such as stoning. In some cases, this resulted in traditionalist legal reform, while other countries witnessed juridical reinterpretation of sharia advocated by progressive reformers. Some Muslim-minority countries recognize the use of sharia-based family laws for their Muslim populations. Sharia also continues to influence other aspects of private and public life.

The role of sharia has become a contested topic around the world. Introduction of sharia-based laws sparked intercommunal violence in Nigeria and may have contributed to the breakup of Sudan. Some jurisdictions in North America have passed bans on use of sharia, framed as restrictions on religious or foreign laws. There are ongoing debates as to whether sharia is compatible with democracy, human rights, freedom of thought, women's rights, LGBT rights, and banking.

Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955), also known as TimBL, is an English engineer and computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He is currently a professor of computer science at the University of Oxford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He made a proposal for an information management system on 12 March 1989, and he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the internet in mid-November the same year.Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the continued development of the Web. He is also the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation and is a senior researcher and holder of the 3Com founders chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He is a director of the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI), and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. In 2011, he was named as a member of the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation. He is a founder and president of the Open Data Institute, and is currently an advisor at social network MeWe.In 2004, Berners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his pioneering work. In April 2009, he was elected a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. Named in Time magazine's list of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century, Berners-Lee has received a number of other accolades for his invention. He was honoured as the "Inventor of the World Wide Web" during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, in which he appeared in person, working with a vintage NeXT Computer at the London Olympic Stadium. He tweeted "This is for everyone", which instantly was spelled out in Liquid-crystal display (LCD) lights attached to the chairs of the 80,000 people in the audience. Berners-Lee received the 2016 Turing Award "for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale".

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford (legally The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Oxford) is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two ancient universities are frequently jointly called Oxbridge. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.The university is made up of 39 constituent colleges, and a range of academic departments, which are organised into four divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. It does not have a main campus, and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organised around weekly tutorials at the colleges and halls, supported by classes, lectures, seminars, and laboratory work provided by university faculties and departments; some postgraduate teaching includes tutorials organised by faculties and departments. It operates the world's oldest university museum, as well as the largest university press in the world and the largest academic library system nationwide. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2018, the university had a total income of £2.237 billion, of which £579.1 million was from research grants and contracts. The university is quoted as among the best higher learning institutions by most international and major national league tables.Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 27 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. As of 2019, 69 Nobel Prize winners, 3 Fields Medalists, and 6 Turing Award winners have studied, worked, or held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, while its alumni have won 160 Olympic medals. Oxford is the home of numerous scholarships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, which is one of the oldest international graduate scholarship programmes.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. At age 49 (around 1613), he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; this has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, his sexuality, his religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Such theories are often criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.

Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. Until about 1608, he wrote mainly tragedies, among them Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he wrote tragicomedies (also known as romances) and collaborated with other playwrights.

Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays. The volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time".Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain popular and are studied, performed, and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world.

Destinations from Oxford
Climate data for Oxford (RMS)[a], elevation: 61 m (200 ft), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1814–present
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)
27.6
(81.7)
30.6
(87.1)
34.3
(93.7)
34.8
(94.6)
35.6
(96.1)
33.5
(92.3)
29.1
(84.4)
19.0
(66.2)
15.9
(60.6)
35.6
(96.1)
Average high °C (°F) 7.6
(45.7)
8.0
(46.4)
10.9
(51.6)
13.6
(56.5)
17.1
(62.8)
20.3
(68.5)
22.7
(72.9)
22.3
(72.1)
19.1
(66.4)
14.8
(58.6)
10.5
(50.9)
7.7
(45.9)
14.6
(58.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.9
(40.8)
4.9
(40.8)
7.3
(45.1)
9.3
(48.7)
12.5
(54.5)
15.6
(60.1)
17.9
(64.2)
17.6
(63.7)
14.9
(58.8)
11.3
(52.3)
7.6
(45.7)
5.0
(41.0)
10.7
(51.3)
Average low °C (°F) 2.1
(35.8)
1.8
(35.2)
3.7
(38.7)
5.0
(41.0)
7.9
(46.2)
10.9
(51.6)
13.0
(55.4)
12.9
(55.2)
10.7
(51.3)
7.8
(46.0)
4.6
(40.3)
2.3
(36.1)
6.9
(44.4)
Record low °C (°F) −16.6
(2.1)
−16.2
(2.8)
−10.9
(12.4)
−4.9
(23.2)
−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
(3.0)
−16.6
(2.1)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 56.6
(2.23)
42.5
(1.67)
47.6
(1.87)
49.1
(1.93)
57.1
(2.25)
48.0
(1.89)
48.9
(1.93)
56.5
(2.22)
54.1
(2.13)
69.6
(2.74)
66.6
(2.62)
63.1
(2.48)
659.7
(25.97)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 11.5 8.9 10.1 9.1 9.7 8.0 7.9 8.1 9.1 10.9 11.3 10.9 115.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 62.5 78.9 111.2 160.9 192.9 191.0 207.0 196.5 141.2 111.3 70.7 53.8 1,577.9
Source #1: Met Office[41]
Source #2: University of Oxford[42]

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