An Oxford Historian
St Cross College, Oxford
Today I thought I'd talk a little about the Oxford college that has been my home for two years now - St Cross. If you'd like to learn more about how Oxford colleges work, and which is 'best' for you, check out this handy guide here.
St Cross is one of Oxford's newer colleges, founded in 1965 (originally on a different site, down by St Catherines). Today, it stands on St Giles' Road, a few minutes walk from the centre of town.
Oxford's famous Bodleian Library is within easy walking distance of the college
St Cross shares part of its site with Pusey House, an Anglo-Catholic chapel. This brings with it a wonderful old wooden library, open to students of St Cross. However, it is worth noting that Pusey houses' religious focus is separate from the college, and there is no obligation to belong to any religion, nor is there an Anglo-Catholic focus to the college. It does mean, however, that the pigeon-holes and entrance corridor often smell of incense on a Sunday morning, and that is one of the greatest pleasures of life.
The Pusey House Chapel is beautiful and open to students.
The college consists of two open grassed quads. The first is substantially older, and gives off the vibes of older colleges. The latter features a new accommodation building - this mixing of new and old, aesthetic and function, is one of St Cross' great features.
The St Cross library is refreshingly modern and a great place to get all your work done during the day. In the evenings, there's a bar downstairs (which during the day functions as a really nice cafe, with some genuinely amazing cakes).
St Cross prides itself on a deliberately egalitarian tone, and its common room facilities are shared between senior academic staff and students, so it's a great chance to have discussions with some world-leading minds over coffee. St Cross also has a strong international focus - in 2016, 83% of students came from outside the UK.
It's a well-trod truth that every college in Oxford has 'the best food' - you never leave a formal without hearing a Master tell you so. But, from my half a decade here at Oxford, I can confirm that the food at St Cross is exceptional.
Lunch provided throughout the week is always a delight, serving a range of world-wide cuisines. It's always wonderful to meet-up with people during a study-break (the library is mere meters away) and, of course, it's a valuable time to get some vegetables in, rather than simply eating ramen everyday.
Formals are where Oxford really shines through - (relatively) affordable fine dining with all the pomp you'd expect. St Cross' formals are amazing and a great chance to meet up with friends after a long week. Where most colleges have a High Table, reserved for the Master and Fellows, at St Cross the academic staff eat alongside the students
An example of a starter at formal hall - fine dining on a budget
Of special note is the termly feast, where seven courses are served over the evening, accompanied by a fine wine selection.
You can find a video tour of the college here:
For more information, you can find the college's website here.
Confused about Oxford, want to apply, and need more advice? Subscribe to the blog using the form below to keep up to date - this website is designed to increase access to Oxford and academia for everyone, irrespective of their background.
Interested in history? I have recently released a set of free, online notes for learning historical methods and theories - this is available here.
Check out my previous articles on Anglo-Saxon (here), Viking (here) and obscene (here) nicknames. A new Deep-Dive article on Interpreting the Emporia can be found here.
NEW PATREON - keen to help me continue to provide free online history resources for everyone? You can support my Patreon here.