Local Community and History Month takes place 1-31 May and is a great opportunity to learn more about the area where you live. There are activities taking place across the UK during the event, including local lectures and library exhibitions, so it’s a great opportunity for people to get involved in their local community.
To add our support to the event, we have taken a look at some of the more surprising facts about Oxford and included these below:
1. The name ‘Oxford’ is from the old term ‘Oxanforda´ and means a ford in the river where the cattle could cross safely.
2. The Ashmolean Museum was the first one in the world to open its doors to the public. It officially opened in 1683 and its attractions include the lantern found on Guy Fawkes upon his arrest for his role in the Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605.
3. East of Oxford in the suburb of Headington is the famous Shark House, which has a shark sculpture protruding from its roof.
4. There have been twenty-six British Prime Ministers educated at Oxford University, including Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Sir Robert Peel, and Clement Attlee.
5. Oxford was not bombed during World War II because Hitler intended to use the city as his capital if he conquered the country.
6. There are many bestselling authors with links to Oxford, including Philip Pullman, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. It is also home to the world famous Oxford English Dictionary. In fact, the city has more published writers per square mile than anywhere else in the world.
7. It wasn’t until 1878 that women were accepted into the university, 1920 that women were awarded degrees, and 1974 that all-male colleges accepted women.
8. The bell in the tower of Christ Church Cathedral, known as Old Tom, strikes 101 times at 9.05pm every evening. This used to be the curfew time for students to signal their return to college, with the tradition living on to this day.
9. Oxford students escaping the city following riots between students and townspeople in 1209, after the murder of a local townswoman by students, were the very ones who founded the University of Cambridge.
10. There have been many other instances of the ‘Town and Gown’ rivalry over the years, including the St. Scholastica Day riot on February 10, 1355. This particular dispute happened in The Swindlestock Tavern, now Santander Bank on Carfax, leaving sixty-three scholars and many local townspeople dead.
11. Oxford University is the oldest English speaking university in the world and dates back to the end of the 12th century.
12. The Great Hall at Christ Church was used as inspiration for the design of the dining hall at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these fun and surprising facts about Oxford, and that you enjoy Local & Community History Month. If you’re looking for property in Oxford or surrounding areas, contact your local Chancellors estate agency branch.
Correct at time of publication. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd or its subsidiaries. References to legislation, best practice and other matters with legal implications such as fees, rules and processes are included for information and editorial purposes only and are not authoritative, nor should they be interpreted as advice. When in doubt you should only take advice from an industry professional or solicitor where appropriate. E&OE.