Today in 1545 was the birthday of Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the Bodleian Library, known affectionately as “The Bod”. Thus my thoughts turn to Oxford and the many visits I have done there since becoming a Blue Badge Guide. It is one of my favourite tours and, judging by their complimentary comments, a favourite of my Guests too.
- A Saint! The patron saint of Oxford – St. Frideswide is her name – hear her fascinating story from the 8th C, and it may be possible to visit her recovered shrine.
- A Cathedral - Oxford boasts the only college chapel in the world which is also a Cathedral – find out why (it has a lot to do with King Henry VIII).
- The oldest museum in the United Kingdom, itself built on the site of a Royal Palace where King Richard the Lionheart was born (also his brother John – see Magna Carta).
- The scene where Protestant martyrs were burned at the stake in the 1550s during the reign of the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I (aka Bloody Mary!).
- The first building by architect Sir Christopher Wren, builder of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, still used for University ceremonies including bestowing of degrees.
- See (or visit) the Pub where a group of well-known literary people, who styled themselves ‘The Inklings’, would regularly meet to discuss ideas.
- The English Civil War – King Charles I made Oxford his headquarters during this turbulent period of English history.
- Alice in Wonderland (or Through the Looking Glass) - the character was based on a real person.
- Harry Potter – scenes from some of the movies were filmed in Oxford, and the dining hall at Hogwarts School is a studio mock-up based upon a college hall.