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—  City  —
Oxford City Centre in the evening

Coat of arms of the City of Oxford
Nickname(s): "The City of Dreaming Spires"
Motto: "Fortis est veritas" "Truth is strong"
Shown within Oxfordshire
Oxford is located in England
Location in England
Coordinates: 51°45′7″N 1°15′28″W
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South East England
Ceremonial county
Admin HQ Oxford City Centre
Founded 8th century
Town charter
City status 1542
 • Type City
 • Governing body Oxford City Council
 •  Lord Mayor

- Deputy Lord Mayor
Cllr Mary Clarkson (2009–2010)
Cllr John Goddard (2009–2010)
 •  Sheriff of Oxford Cllr Elise Benjamin (2009–2010)
 • Executive

- Council Leader
Cllr Bob Price
 •  MPs Nicola Blackwood (C)
Andrew Smith (L)
 • Total 17.60 sq mi (45.59 km2)
Population (2011 est.)
 • Total 150,200 ([[List of English districts by population|Ranked 122nd]] of 326)
 • Density 8,500/sq mi (3,270/km2)
 • Ethnicity
( 2005 Estimates
73.0% White British
9.1% Other White
5.7% South Asian
3.0% Black
2.9% Chinese
2.7% Mixed Race
1.9% Other
1.8% White Irish
Demonym Oxonian
Time zone GMT ( UTC0)
 • Summer ( DST) BST ( UTC+1)
Postcode OX
Area code(s) 01865
ISO 3166-2 GB-OXF
ONS code 38UC
OS grid reference SP513061

Oxford ( / ˈ ɒ k s f ər d /) is a city, and the county town of Oxfordshire, in South East England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre. For a distance of some 10 miles (16 km) along the river, in the vicinity of Oxford, the Thames is known as the Isis.

Buildings in Oxford demonstrate an example of every British architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the iconic, mid-18th century Radcliffe Camera. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings. The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.


The Radcliffe Camera

Oxford was first settled in Saxon times, and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning " Ford of the Ox"; fords were more common than bridges at that time. It began with the foundation of St Frideswide's nunnery in the 8th century, and was first mentioned in written records in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 912. In the 10th century Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes. St Frideswide is the patron saint of both the city and the university.

Oxford was heavily damaged during the Norman Invasion of 1066. Following the conquest, the town was assigned a governor, Robert D'Oyly, who ordered the construction of Oxford Castle to confirm Norman authority over the area. The castle has never been used for military purposes and its remains survive to this day. D'Oyly set up a monastic community in the castle consisting of a chapel and living quarters for monks (St George in the Castle). The community never grew large but it earned its place in history as one of the oldest places of formal education in Oxford. It is there that in 1139 Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his History of the Kings of Britain, a compilation of Arthurian legends.

In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin,

"Be it known to all those present and future that we, the citizens of Oxford of the Commune of the City and of the Merchant Guild have given, and by this, our present charter, confirm the donation of the island of Midney with all those things pertaining to it, to the Church of St. Mary at Oseney and to the canons serving God in that place.

"Since, every year, at Michaelmas the said canons render half a mark of silver for their tenure at the time when we have ordered it as witnesses the legal deed of our ancestors which they made concerning the gift of this same island; and besides, because we have undertaken on our own part and on behalf of our heirs to guarantee the aforesaid island to the same canons wheresoever and against all men; they themselves, by this guarantee, will pay to us and our heirs each year at Easter another half mark which we have demanded; and we and our heirs faithfully will guarantee the aforesaid tenement to them for the service of the aforesaid mark annually for all matters and all services.

"We have made this concession and confirmation in the Common council of the City and we have confirmed it with our common seal. These are those who have made this concession and confirmation."

(There follows a list of witnesses, ending with the phrase, "... and all the Commune of the City of Oxford.")

Oxford's prestige was enhanced by its charter granted by King Henry II, granting its citizens the same privileges and exemptions as those enjoyed by the capital of the kingdom; and various important religious houses were founded in or near the city. A grandson of King John established Rewley Abbey for the Cistercian Order; and friars of various orders ( Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and Trinitarians), all had houses at Oxford of varying importance. Parliaments were often held in the city during the 13th century. The Provisions of Oxford were instigated by a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort; these documents are often regarded as England's first written constitution.

The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th century records. As the University took shape, friction between the hundreds of students living where and how they pleased led to a decree that all undergraduates would have to reside in approved halls. Of the hundreds of Aularian houses that sprang up across the city, only St Edmund Hall (c 1225) remains. What put an end to the halls was the emergence of colleges. Oxford's earliest colleges were University College (1249), Balliol (1263) and Merton (1264). These colleges were established at a time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology – inspiring scientific discoveries and advancements in the arts – as society began to see itself in a new way. These colleges at Oxford were supported by the Church in the hope of reconciling Greek Philosophy and Christian Theology. The relationship between " town and gown" has often been uneasy — as many as 93 students and townspeople were killed in the St Scholastica Day Riot of 1355.

The sweating sickness epidemic in 1517 was particularly devastating to Oxford and Cambridge where it killed half of both cities' populations, including many students and dons.

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford is unique in combining a college chapel and a cathedral in one foundation. Originally the Priory Church of St Frideswide, the building was extended and incorporated into the structure of the Cardinal's College shortly before its refounding as Christ Church in 1546, since when it has functioned as the cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford.

The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake, on what is now Broad Street, for their religious beliefs and teachings. The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, and the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The Martyrs' Memorial stands nearby, round the corner to the North on St. Giles.

During the English Civil War, Oxford housed the court of Charles I in 1642, after the king was expelled from London, although there was strong support in the town for the Parliamentarian cause. The town yielded to Parliamentarian forces under General Fairfax in the Siege of Oxford of 1646. It later housed the court of Charles II during the Great Plague of London in 1665–66. Although reluctant to do so, he was forced to evacuate when the plague got too close. The city suffered two serious fires in 1644 and 1671.

In 1790, the Oxford Canal connected the city with Coventry. The Duke's Cut was completed by the Duke of Marlborough in 1789 to link the new canal with the River Thames; and in 1796 the Oxford Canal company built its own link to the Thames, at Isis Lock. In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London via Didcot and Reading, and other rail routes soon followed.

In the 19th century, the controversy surrounding the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church drew attention to the city as a focus of theological thought.

Photochrom of the High Street, 1890-1900

Oxford Town Hall was built by Henry T. Hare; the foundation stone was laid on 6 July 1893 and opened by the future King Edward VII on 12 May 1897. The site has been the seat of local government since the Guild Hall of 1292 and though Oxford is a city and a Lord Mayoralty, the building is still called by its traditional name of " Town Hall".

By the early 20th century, Oxford was experiencing rapid industrial and population growth, with the printing and publishing industries becoming well established by the 1920s. Also during that decade, the economy and society of Oxford underwent a huge transformation as William Morris established the Morris Motor Company to mass produce cars in Cowley, on the south-eastern edge of the city. By the early 1970s over 20,000 people worked in Cowley at the huge Morris Motors and Pressed Steel Fisher plants. By this time Oxford was a city of two halves: the university city to the west of Magdalen Bridge and the car town to the east. This led to the witticism that "Oxford is the left bank of Cowley". Cowley suffered major job losses in the 1980s and 1990s during the decline of British Leyland, but is now producing the successful New MINI for BMW on a smaller site. A large area of the original car manufacturing facility at Cowley was demolished in the 1990s and is now the site of the Oxford Business Park.

The influx of migrant labour to the car plants and hospitals, recent immigration from south Asia, and a large student population, have given Oxford a notable cosmopolitan character, especially in the Headington and Cowley Road areas with their many bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs, ethnic shops and fast food outlets. Oxford is one of the most diverse small cities in Britain with the most recent population estimates for 2005. showing that 27% of the population were from ethnic minority groups, including 16.2% from non-white ethnic minority ethnic groups (ONS). These figures do not take into account more recent international migration into the city, with over 10,000 people from overseas registering for National Insurance Numbers in Oxford in 2005/06 and 2006/07.

On 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister, a 25 year old medical student, ran the first authenticated four-minute mile at the Iffley Road running track in Oxford. Although he had previously studied at Oxford University, Bannister was studying at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London at the time.

Oxford's second university, Oxford Brookes University, formerly the Oxford School of Art, then Oxford Polytechnic, based at Headington Hill, was given its charter in 1991 and has been voted for the last ten years the best new university in the UK. It was named to honour the school's founding principal, John Henry Brookes.


Oxford's latitude and longitude are 51°45′07″N 1°15′28″W Coordinates: 51°45′07″N 1°15′28″W or grid reference SP513061 (at Carfax Tower, which is usually considered the centre).



Oxford has a maritime temperate climate ("Cfb" by the Köppen system). Precipitation is uniformly distributed throughout the year and is provided mostly by weather systems that arrive from the Atlantic. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Oxford was −16.6 °C (2.1 °F) in January 1982. The highest temperature ever recorded in Oxford is 35.6 °C (96 °F) in August 2003 during the 2003 European heat wave.

There is a field of thought that due to climate change, temperatures are increasing in Oxford, precipitation is decreasing in summer and increasing in winter.

The average conditions below are from the Radcliffe Meteorological Station. It boasts the longest series of temperature and rainfall records for one site in Britain. These records are continuous from January, 1815. Irregular observations of rainfall, cloud and temperature exist from 1767.

Climate data for Oxford, UK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.7
Average high °C (°F) 6.8
Record low °C (°F) −16.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 52.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 54.3 70.3 113.3 151.8 191.8 196.9 191.6 180.3 138.3 102.8 64.4 48.8 1504.3
Source: Radcliffe Meteorological Station ( NB: Data from the period 1881–2004)


The Oxford suburb of Cowley has a long history of carmaking and now produces the BMW MINI.


Morrells, the Oxford based regional brewery was founded in 1743 by Richard Tawney. He formed a partnership in 1782 with Mark and James Morrell, who eventually became the owners. The brewery building, known as the "Lion Brewery", was located in St Thomas Street, the brewery was well known for drinks such as "Sambuca". After an acrimonious family dispute this much-loved brewery was closed in 1998, the beer brand names being taken over by the Thomas Hardy Burtonwood brewery, while the 132 tied pubs were bought by "Morrells of Oxford", who sold the bulk of them on to Greene King in 2002. The Lion Brewery was converted into luxury apartments in 2002.


  • Broad Street
  • Clarendon Shopping Centre
  • Cornmarket Street
  • George Street
  • Golden Cross
  • The High Street
  • Little Clarendon Street
  • Queen Street, Oxford
  • The Covered Market
  • Turl Street
  • Westgate Shopping Centre
  • Oxford Castle
  • Gloucester Green

Outside the City Centre:

  • Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford
  • Botley Road, Oxford
  • Cowley Retail Park, Cowley, Oxford
  • Cowley Road, Oxford
  • Iffley Road, Oxford
  • London Road, Headington, Oxford
  • North Parade, Oxford
  • St. Clements, Oxford
  • Templars Square shopping centre, Cowley, Oxford
  • Walton Street, Jericho, Oxford
  • New Botley

Theatres and cinemas

  • Burton Taylor Theatre, Worcester Street
  • New Theatre, George Street
  • Odeon Cinema, George Street
  • Odeon Cinema, Magdalen Street
  • Old Fire Station Theatre, George Street
  • Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street
  • Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road
  • O'Reilly Theatre, Blackhall Road
  • Phoenix Picturehouse, Walton Street
  • Ultimate Picture Palace, Cowley Road
  • Vue Cinema, Grenoble Road


The spires of Oxford facing Christ Church to the south (Christ Church Cathedral on the left and Tom Tower on the right)

Oxford has numerous major tourist attractions, many belonging to the university and colleges. As well as several famous institutions, the town centre is home to Carfax Tower and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, both of which offer views over the spires of the city. Many tourists shop at the historic Covered Market. In the summer punting on the Thames/Isis and the Cherwell is popular.

The main quadrangle of University College
All Souls College at twilight
Blackwells Bookshop.
Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

The University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is one of the most famous universities in the world, and leading academics come to Oxford from all over the world.

Aerial view of Oxford city centre.

The city centre

As well as being a major draw for tourists (9.1 million in 2008, similar in 2009), Oxford city centre has many shops, several theatres, and an ice rink. The historic buildings make this location a popular target for film and TV crews.

The city centre is relatively small, and is centred on Carfax, a cross-roads which forms the junction of Cornmarket Street (pedestrianised), Queen Street (semi-pedestrianised), St Aldate's and The High. Cornmarket Street and Queen Street are home to Oxford's various chain stores, as well as a small number of independent retailers, one of the longest established of which is Boswells, which was founded in 1738. St Aldate's has few shops but has several local government buildings, including the Town Hall, the city police station and local council offices. The High (the word street is traditionally omitted) is the longest of the four streets and has a number of independent and high-end chain stores, but mostly University and College buildings.

There are two small shopping centres in the city centre: The Clarendon Centre and The Westgate Centre. The Westgate Centre is named for the original West Gate in the city wall, and is located at the west end of Queen Street. It is quite small and contains a number of chain stores and a supermarket. The Westgate Shopping Centre is to undergo a large and controversial refurbishment; the plans involve tripling the size of the centre to 750,000 sq ft (70,000 m2), a new 1,335 space underground car park and 90 new shops and bars, including a 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) John Lewis department store. There is to be a new and improved transport system, a complete refurbishment of the existing centre and the surrounding Bonn Square area. The development plans include a number of new homes, and completion is expected in 2011, although this may be delayed due to the current financial climate.

Blackwell's Bookshop is a large bookshop which claims the largest single room devoted to book sales in the whole of Europe, the cavernous Norrington Room (10,000 sq ft).

Other attractions

  • Ashmolean Museum
  • Bodleian Library
  • Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
  • The Headington Shark
  • Modern Art Oxford
  • Museum of the History of Science
  • Oxford Botanic Garden
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Sheldonian Theatre
  • St. Mary The Virgin Church

Parks and nature walks

Oxford is a very green city, with several parks and nature walks within the ring road, as well as several sites just outside the ring road.

  • University Parks
  • Mesopotamia
  • Rock Edge Nature Reserve
  • Ley Valley
  • South Parks
  • C. S. Lewis Nature Reserve
  • Shotover Nature Reserve

Urban redevelopment

The Westgate redevelopment is just part of a wider scheme proposed by the city council. This scheme includes a total redesign of the centre of Oxford to "pedestrianise" the city. The scheme, entitled Transform Oxford, is only a blueprint for public consultation at this stage, but county council officials are confident it will go ahead.

One of the key elements is the pedestrianisation of Queen Street, with bus stops removed next summer to make way for the eventual complete removal of buses from the street.

Pedestrianisation schemes in George Street and Magdalen Street should follow in the summer of 2010, with the removal of traffic from Broad Street the same year a possibility.

In 2011, highways engineers plan to remodel the Frideswide Square junctions near the railway station, removing traffic lights and introducing roundabouts to improve the traffic flow.



A Stagecoach bus behind an Oxford Bus Company park-and-ride bus in Oxford.

In addition to the larger airports in the region, Oxford is served by nearby London Oxford Airport, in Kidlington. The airport has seasonal flights to Geneva and Rome by Flybaboo, and to Jersey by CityJet. The airport is also home to Oxford Aviation Academy, an airline pilot flight training centre, and several private jet companies.


The bus services are mainly provided by the Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach Oxfordshire. Other operators include Thames Travel, Arriva Shires & Essex and several smaller companies.

Oxford has 5 park and ride sites with bus links to the city centre:

  • Pear Tree (bus 300)
  • Redbridge (bus 300)
  • Seacourt (bus 400)
  • Thornhill (bus 400)
  • Water Eaton (bus 500)

There are also bus services to the John Radcliffe Hospital (from Thornhill/Water Eaton) and to the Churchill and Nuffield Hospitals (from Thornhill).

Hybrid buses, which use battery power with a small diesel generator, began to be used in Oxford on 15 July 2010, on Stagecoach Oxfordshire's Route 1 (Cowley, Blackbird Leys).


The Oxford to London coach route offers a frequent coach service to London. The Oxford Express is operated by the Oxford Bus Company. Oxford Tube is operated by Stagecoach Oxfordshire. The Oxford Bus Company also runs the Airline services to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

There is a bus station at Gloucester Green, used mainly by the London and airport buses, National Express coaches, and other long-distance buses including route X5 to Cambridge.


Oxford railway station

In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London (Paddington) via Didcot and Reading; in 1851, the London and North Western Railway opened their own route from Oxford to London (Euston), via Bicester, Bletchley and Watford; and in 1864 a third route, also to Paddington, running via Thame, High Wycombe and Maidenhead, was provided; this was shortened in 1906 by the opening of a direct route between High Wycombe and London (Paddington) via Denham. The distance from Oxford to London was 78 miles (125.5 km) via Bletchley; 63.5 miles (102.2 km) via Didcot and Reading; 63.25 miles (101.8 km) via Thame and Maidenhead; and 55.75 miles (89.7 km) via Denham. Of these, only the original route via Didcot is still in use for its full length, although portions of each of the others remain.

There were also routes to the north and west. The line to Banbury was opened in 1850, and was extended to Birmingham in 1852; a route to Worcester opened in 1853. A branch to Witney was opened in 1862, which was extended to Fairford in 1873. The line to Witney and Fairford closed in 1962, but the others remain open.

Oxford has had three main railway stations. The first was opened at Grandpont in 1844, but this was a terminus, inconvenient for routes to the north; it was replaced by the present station on Park End Street in 1852 with the opening of the Birmingham route. Another terminus, at Rewley Road, was opened in 1851 to serve the Bletchley route; this station closed in 1951. There have also been a number of local railway stations, all of which are now closed.

Oxford railway station is half a mile (about 1 km) west of the city centre. The station is served by numerous routes, including CrossCountry services to as far away as Manchester and Edinburgh, First Great Western (who operate the station) services to London and other destinations and occasional Chiltern Railways services to Birmingham. The present station opened in 1852. Oxford is the junction for a short branch line to Bicester, which is being extended to form the East-West Rail Link to Milton Keynes, providing a passenger route avoiding London.

River and canal

Oxford was historically an important port on the River Thames; the Oxford-Burcot Commission in the 17th century attempted to improve navigation to Oxford. Iffley Lock and Osney Lock lie within the bounds of the city. In the eighteenth century the Oxford Canal was built to connect Oxford with the Midlands.

Commercial traffic has given way to recreational use of the river and canal. Oxford was the original base of Salters Steamers and there is a regular service from Folly Bridge downstream to Abingdon and beyond.


Oxford's alternative transport

A roads

The city has a ring road that consists of the A34, the A40, A4142 and the A423. It is mostly dual carriageway and was completed in 1966.

The main roads that lead out of Oxford are:

  • A34 – which leads to Bicester, the M40 north, Birmingham and Manchester to the north (although since the M40's completion it has disappeared north of Oxford and only re-emerged some 50 miles (80 km) northwards at Solihull), and Didcot, Newbury and Winchester to the south. Since the completion of the Newbury by-pass in 1998, the A34 has been entirely grade separated dual carriageway all the way from Bicester to Winchester.
  • A40 – which leads to London and High Wycombe (as well as the M40 motorway south) to the east, and Cheltenham, Gloucester and south Wales to the west.
  • A44 – which begins in Oxford and leads to Worcester, Hereford and Aberystwyth.
  • A420 – which also begins in Oxford and leads to Bristol passing Swindon and Chippenham.
The M40 Extension


The city is served by the M40 motorway, which connects London to Birmingham. The M40 approached Oxford in 1974 (the first section through Buckinghamshire opened in 1967) and went from London to Waterstock where the A40 continued to Oxford. When the M40 extension to Birmingham was completed in January 1991, a mile of the old motorway became a spur as the extension curved sharply north. The M40 comes no closer than 10 miles (16 km) away from the city centre, curving to the east of Otmoor. The M40 meets the A34 to the north of Oxford, the latter now being in two parts, the A34 restarting near Solihull, while the A41 (which previous passed through Banbury and Warwick) restarts in the same area.


There are two universities in Oxford; the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University as well as Ruskin College.

Oxford is home to wide range of schools many of which receive pupils from around the world. Three are University choral foundations, established to educate the boy choristers of the chapel choirs, and have kept the tradition of single sex education. Examination results in state-run Oxford schools are consistently below the national average and regional average. However, results in the city are improving with 44% of pupils gaining 5 grades A*-C in 2006.


Literature and film

Well-known Oxford-based authors include:

  • Oscar Wilde a nineteenth century poet and author who attended Oxford from 1874 to 1878.
  • John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir attended Brasenose College. Best known for his The Thirty-nine Steps, authored 32 novels and many more volumes of history, poetry and essays.
  • Susan Cooper who is best known for her The Dark Is Rising Sequence
  • Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), Student and Mathematical Lecturer of Christ Church.
  • Colin Dexter who wrote and set his Inspector Morse detective novels in Oxford. Colin Dexter still lives in Oxford.
  • John Donaldson (d.1989), a poet resident in Oxford in later life.
  • Siobhan Dowd Oxford resident; who was an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
  • Kenneth Grahame educated at St. Edward's School, Oxford
  • Michael Innes (J. I. M. Stewart), of Christ Church.
  • P. D. James who lives part-time in Oxford.
  • T. E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia", Oxford resident, undergraduate at Jesus, postgraduate at Magdalen.
  • C. S. Lewis, Fellow of Magdalen.
  • Alex Ryan, formerly an Oxford resident for many years.
  • Iris Murdoch, Fellow of St Anne's.
  • Iain Pears, undergraduate at Wadham College and Oxford resident, whose novel An Instance of the Fingerpost is set in the city.
  • Philip Pullman who was an undergraduate at Exeter.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers who was an undergraduate at Somerville.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, undergraduate at Exeter and later professor of English at Merton.
  • Charles Williams, editor at Oxford University Press.
  • Brian Aldiss who lives in Oxford.

Oxford appears in the following works:

  • " The Scarlet Pimpernel"
  • "Harry Potter" (all the films to date)
  • Jude the Obscure (1895) by Thomas Hardy (in which Oxford is thinly disguised as "Christminster").
  • Zuleika Dobson (1911) by Max Beerbohm.
  • Gaudy Night (1935) by Dorothy L. Sayers.
  • Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh.
  • A Question of Upbringing (1951 ) by Anthony Powell
  • Second Generation (1964 novel) by Raymond Williams
  • Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) by Steven Spielberg
  • All Souls (1989) by Javier Marías
  • The Children of Men (1992) by P. D. James.
  • Doomsday Book (1992) by Connie Willis
  • His Dark Materials (1995 onwards) by Philip Pullman
  • " Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997)
  • " The Saint" (1997)
  • " 102 Dalmatians" (2000)
  • Endymion Spring (2006) by Matthew Skelton
  • Here, There Be Dragons (2006) and the rest of the The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica by James A. Owen
  • The Oxford Virus (2010) by Adam Kolczynski


Oxford, and its surrounding towns and villages, have produced many successful bands and musicians. The most notable Oxford act is Radiohead,who hail from near by Abingdon, though other well known local bands include Supergrass, Ride, Swervedriver, Talulah Gosh and more recently, Young Knives, Foals, Captive State and Stornoway. These and many other bands from over 30 years of the oxford music scene's history feature in the documentary film Anyone Can Play Guitar.

In 1997, Oxford played host to Radio 1's Sound City, with acts such as Bentley Rhythm Ace, Embrace, Spiritualized and DJ Shadow playing in various venues around the city.


Oxford United are currently in League Two, the lowest tier of league football, but have enjoyed greater success in the past. They were elected to the Football League in 1962, reached the Third Division after three years and the Second Division after six, and most notably reached the First Division in 1985 - a mere 23 years after joining the Football League. They spent three seasons in the top flight, winning the Football League Cup a year after promotion. The next 18 years saw them decline gradually (though a brief respite in 1996 saw them win promotion to the new (post Premier League) Division One in 1996 and stay there for three years. They suffered relegation to the Football Conference in 2006, staying there for four seasons before returning to the Football League in 2010. They play at the Kassam Stadium (named after former chairman Firoz Kassam), which is situated near the Blackbird Leys housing estate and has been their home since relocation from the Manor Ground in 2001.

Oxford City F.C. is a semi-professional football club, separate from Oxford United. It plays in the Southern Football League Premier Division.

Oxford Cheetahs motorcycle speedway team has raced at Cowley Stadium on and off since 1939. The Cheetahs competed in the Speedway Elite League and then the Speedway Conference League until 2007, when stadium landlords Greyhound Racing Association apparently doubled the rent. Speedway is not currently running in Oxford. Details of the 1949 and 1950 seasons at Cowley can be seen on Oxford Speedway website.

There are several field hockey clubs based in Oxford. City of Oxford HC and Rover Oxford HC, two separate clubs, both play their home games on the pitch at Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus. Oxford Hawks play at Banbury Road North, by Cutteslow Park to the north of the city.

Oxford City Stars is the local Ice Hockey Team which plays at Oxford Ice Rink. There is a senior/adults’ team and a junior/children’s team.

Oxford is also home to the Oxford City Rowing Club which is situated near Donnington Bridge.

International relations

Oxford is twinned with:

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