PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

Oxford... The city of dreaming spires

Oxford is a city in the South East region of England and the county town of Oxfordshire.

The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period.

Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold. The city has a broad economic base. Its industries include motor manufacturing, education, publishing and large number of information technology and science-based businesses, some being academic offshoots.

Two rivers run through Oxford, the Cherwell and the Thames (Isis), and it is from this riverside situation that Oxford got its name in Saxon times, ‘Oxenaforda’ or ‘Ford of the Oxen’. In the 10th century, Oxford became an important frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was also strategically important to the Normans who in 1071 built a castle there, first in timber and later in the 11th century, in stone. Oxford Castle played an important part in The Anarchy in 1142 when Matilda was imprisoned there, and later, like many other castles, was mostly destroyed during the English Civil War.

The University of Oxford is first mentioned in the 12th century although the exact date of its foundation is unknown. The University expanded rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris and the returning students settled in Oxford. However, in 1209 a student fled the city after apparently murdering his mistress, and the townsfolk retaliated by hanging two students. The ensuing riots resulted in some academics fleeing to nearby Cambridge and establishing the University of Cambridge.

Oxford is a collegiate university, made up of 38 colleges and six permanent private halls. The oldest of Oxford’s colleges are University College, Balliol, and Merton, established sometime between 1249 and 1264. Founded by Henry VIII with Cardinal Wolsey, Christ Church is the largest Oxford college and uniquely, the Cathedral seat of Oxford. Most of the colleges are open to the public.

Harry Potter and Oxford

Many fans of Harry Potter know that they can find the famous film locations inside the Oxford colleges that were featured in many of the early Harry Potter movies.

Bodleian Library – Divinity Hall: 
The gothic vaulted ceiling of the Divinity School was used as Hogwarts Infirmary in Harry Potter and The Philospher’s Stone. Can you imagine the hospital beds lined up along the walls with young Harry lying in bed after his first big confrontation with Voldemort?

Bodleian Library – Duke Humphries Library: 
Remember when Harry walked through the Hogwarts library hidden underneath his invisible cloak with the intention to steal a book; this scene was filmed in the Duke Humphry Library, which belongs to the Bodleian Library and is only accessible with a private tour.

New College Cloister: 
In the movie The Goblin of Fire, Harry comes face to face with Malfoy who is sitting on a gigantic oak tree and where Malfoy was then turned into a ferret by Mad-Eye Moody. This particular tree nestles in the New College Cloister.

Christ Church: 
Christ Church College provided the location for many Harry Potter scenes. The staircase was used to film the famous entrance scene where Professor McGonagall meets Harry, Ron and Hermione. The staircase leads then up to the Tudor Great Dining Hall which was used as an inspiration for the great Hogwarts Dining Hall. The hallways of Christ Church were also used to film the scene in which Hermione shows Harry the Quidditch trophy his father won.
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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.