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Sunday, 30 September 2007
Wadham College


This is the front quad at Wadham College, Oxford, founded by Dorothy Wadham almost 400 years ago.

Although it is one of the youngest of the historic colleges, Wadham has some of the oldest and best preserved buildings, a result of the rash of rebuilding that occurred throughout Oxford during the 17th century. It is often considered as perhaps the last major English public building to be created according to the mediaeval tradition of the master mason. Wadham’s front quad, which served as almost the entire college until the mid-20th century, is also the first example of the “Jacobean Gothic” style that was adopted for many of the University’s buildings. A dramatic expansion since 1952 has made use of a range of 17th and 18th century houses, a converted warehouse originally built to store bibles, and several modern buildings…

It also includes the Holywell Music Room, the oldest purpose-built music room in Europe. Wadham also has a second claim to fame: it is thought that the college’s chapel was the first religious building in England to regain its stained glass and statuary following the reformation. The college was refaced in the 1960s.

Under the original statutes, women were forbidden from entering the college, with the exception of a laundress who was to be of ‘such age, condition, and reputation as to be above suspicion.’ These rules were relaxed over the years, and in 1974 they were altered to allow for the admission of women as full members of college at all levels. In fact, Wadham was the first historically all-male college to have a female student.

Wadham has a well-deserved reputation for being a progressive and tolerant college. In 1975 the Junior Common Room (JCR) chose to re-brand itself as a “Students Union”, becoming the first Oxford College to do so. As a protest against apartheid, the students’ union passed a motion in 1984 to end every college “bop” (disco) with The Special AKA’s single Free Nelson Mandela. The tradition continues despite Mandela’s release in 1990. Wadham also has a reputation as a strong supporter of gay rights, and plays host to “Queer Bop”, an annual night of slightly debauched behaviour popular with students of all colleges.

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Posted by bigblue on 30/09/2007 at 06:33 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

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