Visit to Oriel College, Oxford & Lunch
13th July 2015
22 members and guests of the Ward Club visited Oriel College, my Alma Mater, where I matriculated fifty years ago.
After a welcoming coffee, I presented a brief history of the College from its foundation by Edward II in 1326, and explained how the name ’Oriel’ came about. We then toured through the College, covering all four quads, while I interspersed historical and architectural facts with anecdotes of my time there as an undergraduate in the 1960s.
I reminisced about the limited personal facilities at that time, with the nearest bath and shower being two quads away from my ‘set’ of rooms. The gate was always locked at midnight, after which the only way back into College was over a twelve-foot wall - reputedly the toughest climb-in in Oxford. The apparent graffiti on the walls of the first quad are a College tradition: this is where oarsmen pose after Eights Week, with their achievements chalked-up on the wall (see the photograph of me in the 1967 Oriel ‘After Eight’, taken at the very place where we were standing).
After a splendid three-course lunch in Hall, with everyone sat at ‘high table’, I introduced some of the portraits on the walls, which include Oriel alumni Sir Walter Raleigh and Cardinal Newman. I recalled some memorable dinners I had enjoyed there, including a ‘Bump Supper’ to celebrate Oriel going Head of the River, after we had burned the boat outside in the quad!
Everyone seemed to enjoy sharing my trip down memory lane at my old College.
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