Pembroke is just a little to the south of the city centre and squeezes as many of its 354 undergraduates as it can into its modest space ‚Äìfist years (on-site) and third years (off-site annex) are housed ‚Äì second years fend for themselves. The Junior Common Room conceived the delightful idea to collect art and now has an impressive post-war collection purchased mainly from the local art school (The Ruskin) and several from beyond. This policy made it one of the wealthiest JCR‚Äôs in Oxford when it recently sold a painting by leading British artist Francis Bacon.
In the beginning there was Broadgates Hall
The history of the college starts with Broadgates Hall, which was established as a hostel for law students. The joint benefaction of clergyman Richard Wightwick and merchant Thomas Tesdale, provided the funds needed for conversion into Pembroke College. The initial intention was to provide opportunities for an Oxford education to boys from Tesdale‚Äôs hometown of nearby Abingdon. The Earl of Pembroke, then chancellor of the university, promoted the merits of the new establishment until King James I formally approved the college in 1624. In recognition of his efforts the institution was named after the earl and a bust in his likeness was carved, which can now be seen from the dining hall steps.
Pembroke is one of Oxford‚Äôs lesser known gems, effortlessly integrating architectural styles from five centuries with agreeable charm and presence. The site is a collection of three quadrangles: Old Quad, Chapel Quad and North Quad. The original gate tower of 1694, leading into Old Quad, was classical, but remodelled in Gothic by builder Daniel Evans in 1830. The ranges of Old Quad are a uniform two storey with dormer windows, also remo...
... middle of paper ...
...ning of the college.
Tolerant and open-minded
Pembroke is said to offer some of the best and worst on-site accommodation in Oxford with many students grumbling that it is the most expensive. However, as with most colleges, it has a healthy hardship fund, so academic high flyers from less wealthy families should not be put off applying.
Pembroke has always had a relaxed and tolerant attitude. This open-minded stance allowed it to offer places to talented students, from ordinary backgrounds from as early as the 18th century. The compact site feels much bigger than it actually is, due in no small part to the diverse and energetic community of scholars it houses. Many ethic, religious and non-religious groups from a variety of family back-grounds bind themselves together in a friendly and vibrant environment designed to enable students to realise their full potential.