We were blessed with a perfect warm Spring day and enjoyed bright sunshine and blue skies for our trip to Oxfordshire.
Our first stop was at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, a theological college set in lovely countryside just outside Oxford. The new chapel there is named after a C19th College Principal and later Bishop of Lincoln. In 2013 the chapel won numerous architectural rewards but it was first described to us by Anthea Streeter during her Study Day on ‘Modern British Architecture’.The reality of the intricate external stonework, soaring wooden internal columns and clever use of natural light was truly awe-inspiring in its beauty, serenity and ingenuity.
Then it was into Oxford and the Ashmolean Museum. The recent fire at the Randolph Hotel meant we could not use the usual coach access road and led to a circuitous route from Oxford for our journey home. However, once inside this wonderfully diverse and extensive museum,we were soon exploring our chosen permanent and special exhibitions. As was to be expected, time defeated us and we moved on vowing to return at a future time.
After lunch we divided into three groups for a walking tour of central Oxford. Starting from the Martyrs Memorial and progressing via Broad Street, Bodleian Library buildings and the Divinity School to New College and the back via Radcliffe Square; our excellent guides related the history of the city and the university while drawing our attention to the many buildings and features of architectural, artistic and historical interest. Particularly notable features were the beautiful ceiling in the C15th Divinity School and New College’s Chapel Reredos with its carvings of the host of Saints.
It was certainly a wonderful day, with much still to see and even return to on a future visit.