Saturday, March 18, 2017

Literary Highlights of Christ Church College, Oxford University

Christ Church College at Oxford, founded in 1546, has a rich literary history. The majestic front quad and fountain recall scenes from Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. The movie adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass was filmed on this campus too.

Christ Church was also the model for Hogwarts' dining hall in Harry Potter, making this Oxford college the most popular tourist destination. Visits are limited to afternoons and there is an admission charge.

According to Oxford legend, the fireplace andirons inspired the trippy neck extending scene in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll was a lecturer of mathematics at Christ Church, which was his alma mater too.

The entrance to the dining hall (above) is nearly as grand as the adjacent cathedral. Christ Church is the only Oxford college with a cathedral, instead of a smaller chapel, and visitors can attend Evensong without paying admission. The colleges of Oxford University were originally founded as religious institutions.

On a rare clear day, the limestone glows as gold as the setting sun. Although Christ Church is one of the wealthiest colleges, it ran out of funding to complete the cloisters so the front quad is open to the rain. The arches on the walls show where the covered cloister would have been attached had their patron Cardinal Wolsey not lost favor with King Henry VIII.

Despite its posh history, the rainbow flag in back quad shows that the student body is open-minded now.

The back entrance leads to...

Merton Street, which has hardly changed since medieval times. You can see how living in Oxford inspired me to write a novel about an American at a British school. This is my magical home away from home.


A Cuban In London said...

Very interesting. I have been to Oxford only once and cannot remember much. I would love to come back.

Greetings from London.

Sarah Laurence said...

ACiL, If you visit this spring, let me know!

troutbirder said...

Most interesting post. My first time ever taking small town high school seniors to Europe was England and Scotland. Looking back 25 years now much of it seems a blur as I was somewhat preoccupied with procedural matters. Still Trinity college and Christopher Wren come to mind as I had been reading a novel about him. Also Shakespeare at the Barbacon in London. History, people and famous venues. It doesn't get any better than that....:)

thecuecard said...

Wow beautiful photos; thanks for the tour. I have not been yet, but I will visit there sometime. Gorgeous buildings & church.

Sarah Laurence said...

troutbirder, I'm sure your students are looking back on that visit fondly. Thanks for reminding me to visit Trinity, one of the few colleges I haven't seen on either sabbatical.

Cue, Oxford might be my favorite city in terms of living. It's a good place to visit for a day or two as well.

Cynthia Newberry Martin said...

How wonderful that you get to spend so much time in your magical home away from home. Hope the words are flowing.

Amanda Summer said...

Seems as though you've had quite the fantastic sabbatical year. I am very excited to read your WIP and would love to know the progress of the novel currently undergoing the publication process.