October 4, 2012

Just Like Harry Potter

My cousin Chris just started “freshers week” at Oriel College at Oxford. He kindly did a campus walk-about for me, shooting pictures to share with you. Oriel is one of the colleges at Oxford University, a system that’s different from most US universities. oriel1As beautiful as schools like the University of Virginia and Princeton are, nothing really compares to some of the UK schools like Oxford, Cambridge, or even my own Atlantic College.

Even Chris’s dorm room is pretty nice – I was in a room this size that I shared! {Hi, Ellen!}chris roomHe certainly seems set with both a tea pot and a French press. And I love the old beam running along the left wall. Seems like quite a cozy spaces.

Here’s the college’s dining room – I am sure it’s quite different from your university! Chris’s taken photos from both ends.
oriel dining oriel dining2

That’s HM QEII on the center painting in the image on the right – apparently, the biggest ever – along with some of the old provosts.

So all of Chris’s needs are cared for, here’s Oriel Chapel. To me, there’s nothing quite like a church in the UK. Most are just amazingly gorgeous.oriel chapel

Oriel College is set in a large quad, with amazing buildings on all sides.  This side of the quad is called “The Doll’s House” for reasons unknown. the dolls house

This is the Senior Library in the 2nd Quad. senior library

Here’s the famous Bodleian Library at Oxford, a pretty imposing place.bodleian

Magdelen College is one of the more well-known colleges, but you might not know that it’s pronounced “Mawdlin”. This is the chapel,magdelen chapeland the dining room, (Chris says their chairs are nicer than those at Oriel),magdelen hall diningand here’s Magdelen Bridge.magdelen bridge

Another of the famous buildings at Oxford is Radcliffe Camera or Rad Cam. Camera is an Italian word for room.rad cam

As I was looking through some of my old photographs – and I mean ones printed on paper – I found some of the same images as Chris took. Here’s my Rad Cam from March of 1999.oxf6

We also both took pictures of the “Bridge of Sighs” at Oxford, modeled after the Rialto Bridge in Venice.  Chris’s…hertford college

and mine…oxf7

Here are a few more of my photographs. Clearly no one’s paying attention!oxf8

Someone’s in the window.oxf9

And one of my favourite pictures that I’ve taken.oxf5

And a few more of Chris’s images. Two views of one of the Oxford Chapels.chapel

chapel2And two “St. Something-or-Another” quads.quad

quad2I can’t wait to go and visit Chris and have a proper tour! Thanks for taking the pictures to share, Chris!


  1. Bryn Mawr looks like that. Had the good fortune to visit their campus. Go Owls carry that lantern. U go Girl. Meg run I mean run and visit Oxford. Get stoned.LOL I love the stone buildings. I would love my house to be stone(ed)

  2. Bless Chris! I visited Cambridge and Ely back on my first trip to England in 1993, but didn't make it to Oxford. Since discovering Peter Whimsey and Brideshead Revisited I've intended to visit Oxford. Magdelen Bridge looks awfully familiar; I'm thinking it was in the Edward Petherbridge video of Gaudy Night? I love your photo of the doorways. There is a name for that, I'm sure you know it, but I can't call it to mind just now. Your photos and Chris's seem to exemplify one of the wonderful aspects of historic landmarks. They endure and are recognisable over time. It was in this way that perusing my father's memorabilia from his WWII experience in Italy just after we returned from a holiday in Naples. I never knew where in Italy he fought, but looking at his photos and mine, I know now he was stationed near Naples. Thanks so much for this wonderful post, both of you!

    1. The bridge in Oxford is called the Bridge of Sighs, but it's really a copy of the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

      The doorways all in a row are called an enfilade (i think!).

  3. It is so green! And gorgeous.
    Thanks. Mary

    1. I had another one that i took that was just glowing green.

  4. I did my study abroad at New - this brings back so many memories! I have so many of the same pics. Congrats to your cousin! What a wonderful experience he's going to have.

  5. Visited colleges the last time in Britain. Much luck to Chris + wonderful photos. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  6. You are making me really miss my Oxford days with those photos! Tell him to spend plenty of time at The Turf and to explore Port Meadow (hitting The Perch in Binsey ... if it hasn't caught fire again). Other places to experience include The Museum of the History of Science (I worked here for years and miss it loads!) and the Pitt Rivers.

  7. Love Oxford -- so gorgeous. Love Cambridge even more.

    Not only "maudlin" for "Magdalene" but "peeps" for "Pepys." I'll never forget my mortification at what a classic Cambridge don said to me when I asked directions to the Pepys Library, pronouncing it "pep-iss." "Oh! Oh! It's 'peeps'! Don't make a Mexican out of him!"

    Since then, I call "sheep" "shepys."

    The Brits also pronounce Cholmondeley "chumley." Go figure.

    I'm always afraid to speak English when I'm in the UK.

  8. I am a day late viewing this post but LOVE these shots! Thank you for sharing!!!

  9. "Camera" => "chamber" => "room" 8-)

  10. No doubt the unusual pronunciations are the locals subtle way to hear if you belong or are a visitor. It also is no doubt, a source of amusement to hear how invaders assault the vernacular.


Thank you for reading and commenting on Pigtown*Design. I read each and every comment and try to reply if I have your e-mail address.