Saturday, 5 September 2015

Oxford Birthday - Part 2

The Bridge of Sighs (Hertford Bridge) is not to be confused with the Venetian equivalent. Hertford Bridge was never intended to be a replica of the Venetian bridge, and actually bears a closer resemblance to the Rialto Bridge in the same city. It connects two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane. We decided to walk down to the river taking in Christ Church College on the way. It is the second wealthiest Oxford college and the largest and is famed for producing 13 British Prime Ministers. Down on the river The Oxford City Royal Regatta was taking place. It is a historic and popular regatta held on the Isis - a beautiful stretch of the River Thames, and the scene of centuries of rowing history. The races take place over a 1000m course on Saturday and a 500m sprint on Sunday. Several hundred competitors take part in a range of events including British Rowing events (for Juniors, Novices, Seniors and Masters) and mixed crew events. I really wanted to see the inside of one of the colleges and Magdalen was the one we happened upon. Magdalen College was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester. Magdalen stands next to the River Cherwell and has within its grounds a deer park and Addison's Walk. The large, square Magdalen Tower is an Oxford landmark, and it is a tradition, dating to the days of Henry VII, that the college choir sings from the top of it at 6 a.m. on May Morning. Built to be spectacular at 44m (144 ft) The Magdalen Tower is the highest point in the 'City of Dreaming Spires'. Described by Oscar Wilde as 'Magdalen's tall tower tipped with tremulous gold'. A well earned pint was had in 'The Eagle and Child' public house. Owned by St. John's College, Oxford, the pub had been part of an endowment belonging to University College since the 17th century. It has associations with the Inklings writers' group which included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. The beer was good but there was a disappointing amount of memorabilia for the literary greats who made the place so famous.

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