Oxford is one of the oldest cities in the United Kingdom. It is situated in the Thames Valley, at the point where the River Cherwell and the River Isis converge to form the River Thames. Because of the strategic importance of the rivers, for a short time in the middle ages it was the capitol of England.
The most famous aspect of the city is the University, which was established in the 1100s and is one of the oldest in the world. However, Oxford has long also been an industrial city, due in part to the rivers. It is also at an integral part of England's canal network. The Rover car company has a factory in the Cowley part of the city, and there is also a metal works.
Many people in the city either depend on the factories or the university for their jobs, and as a result over the years a distrust has grown between one faction and the other. While there is no violence (everybody in the south is far too polite), the university students rarely stray out into the industrial segments, and aside from trips into the city centre for shopping, the industrial residents don't have much to do with the University part of the city.
There is a plaque on the town hall reading, "this is where the Jews lived". In the middle ages there was a large Jewish settlement in Oxford, which was burned to the ground.