Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Oxford - Birthday

What better way to spend a birthday than In the "city of dreaming spires",where academia takes centre stage. The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford. The term 'dreaming spires' was coined by one of the great Victorian poets Matthew Arnold (the third great Victorian poet after Tennyson and Browning). Our first stop was the historic'Covered Market'. Oxford has had a market probably since the late ninth century, when the town was fortified, or perhaps earlier, but the first written reference is found in twelfth century records. It started at Carfax (the main crossroads) and spread along adjoining streets. The Covered Market was started in response to a general wish to clear ‘untidy, mess and unsavoury stalls’ from the main streets. John Gwynn architect of Magdalen Bridge, drew up the plans and designed the High Street front with its four entrances. Today you can still buy a great selection of meat and fish here, and numerous cheeses, . Fruit and vegetable stalls still make colourful displays but much of the produce is now imported from all over the world. In the old days it was full of game hanging from the ceilings including, geese , pheasants, hares, rabbits and even the odd boars head! You can't go far without encountering a College, just along the road from the Indoor Market is Brasenose College. It was founded in 1509, with the College library and current chapel added in the mid-seventeenth century. Its name is believed to derive from the name of a brass or bronze knocker that adorned the hall's door. Among the best known living Brasenose alumni are Prime Minister David Cameron, the comedian Michael Palin, Mybe that should be the other way round? The Bodleian Library the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. By the late 18th century, further growth of the library demanded more expansion space. In 1860, the library was allowed to take over the adjacent building, known as the Radcliffe Camera. In 1861, the library’s medical and scientific collections were transferred to the Radcliffe Science Library.

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