Here are some interesting facts about Oxford
1. The college with the longest name is Oriel College. It is still officially known as ''The Provost and Scholars of the House of the Blessed Mary the Virgin in Oxford, commonly called Oriel College, the foundation of Edward the Second of famous memory, sometime King of England'.
2. All Souls College, the most academic and austere of all Oxford Colleges, also observes the most bizarre ritual in Oxford - the Mallard Hunt. Fellows of All Souls to abandon their dinner, take up sticks and torches and pretend to search for the ghost of the Mallard in the quads and even of the roof! However, the ritual is observed during dinner on the first feast of All Souls in the first year of every new century and concludes with the ceremonial singing of the 'Mallard Song'.
3. The University's Bodleian Library
, the second largest in Britain after the British Library, is almost seven centuries old and currently houses more than six and a half million documents on 169km (105 miles) of shelves in ten buildings and in a maze of underground tunnels that run beneath Broad Street
and Radcliffe Square
. The collection is growing at a rate of 300,000 documents every year!
Student life in Oxford centres around the various colleges. Colleges provide students with most facilities including well equipped libraries, provision for tutorials and accommodation. Most students stay in College accommodation for the majority of their time in Oxford. Social life centres around the Junior Common Room or the JCR for undergraduates and the Middle Common Room or the MCR for graduates. JCRs usually run the bars, organise various entertainment events and parties (these are known as bops in Oxford) and is headed by a President for which elections are keenly fought.
Two people integral to college life in Oxford are the scout and the Porter. The duties of a scout are cleaning and changing linen but they are the source of all gossip. If you don't want your scout to disturb you in the morning, the traditional practice is to leave your bin outside. It's a sign that you don't want to be woken up at an unearthly hour. However, in days gone by a scout was originally a student's manservant, acting as butler in their home from home.
Porters are the fountain of knowledge. They man the Porter's Lodge which can be found at the entrance to all colleges. They perform a variety of functions and are usually extremely popular with the students.
Oxford has its own selection of quaint terms. Here are a few:
1. Battels- these are the College bills. Usually highly inflated and a source of much misery and complaint.
2. Come up
- to arrive as a student as Oxford. Note that this is separate from matriculation where you are formally inducted as a member of the University.
3. Go down
- the opposite of 'coming up'. To leave as a student at Oxford. However, if you are expelled for a misdemeanour then you are 'sent down'
- short for 'Moderations'. These are exams usually held at the end of your first year. You just have to pass them! Some first year exams are called prelims
5. Sub fusc
- Dark suit, white bow tie, gown and mortar-board worn for matriculation
, exams and degree ceremonies. Women wear something similar. From the Latin subfuscus
meaning dark brown, although actually a brown suit would never do!