St Hugh’s is situated in affluent north Oxford in a beautiful rectangle of 14 acre of woodlands, a mere 15-minute walk from the city centre. However, the student essentials of snack bars, pubs, post office, hairdresser and newsagent are all close by. The college has a reputation for the biggest snowball fights in the winter and the wettest, meanest water pistol duels (full scale battles really) in the summer. All this from an institution originally set up to educate the gentile ladies from modest backgrounds (daughters of the Anglican clergy) who might like an Oxford education. Today the college continues to offer assistance to allow fieldwork and travel to the less well off. In 1986 St Hugh’s took a giant step and decided to admit men and now has an even balance among its 256 postgraduates and 430 undergraduates, who all go under the collective title of Hughsies.
Founder watched a small seed grow
Elizabeth Wordsworth founded the college in 1886, with money left to her by her father the Bishop of Lincoln. It was her intention to plant a small seed and watch it grow, ‘To provide a nucleus of what we hope may eventually prove a more important undertaking…’
She had been principal of Lady Margaret Hall and saw the need to provide additional facilities to young, talented women who could not afford the recently established Oxford female institutions, her own included. With this in mind she rented premises at 25 Northam Road and named them after Hugh of Avalon, who was one of her father’s ancient predecessors; he too was bishop of Lincoln in the 12th century. The religious instruction would be Anglican, the same as Lady Margaret, and the academic courses would be the same as the other female halls.
St Hugh’s differed from the established...
... middle of paper ...
...rom a wide variety of educational and geographical backgrounds. Membership is offered to students who are considered the brightest and most able to cope with the expected high standards. Modest financial scholarships are available that carry the bonus of free residency in college during vacation. St Hugh’s is able to provide all undergraduates a room on site throughout their degree, which has free email and internet access. Self-catering kitchens provide a practical alternative to eating in hall, which has a ‘Formal’ once a week. The library has over 97,000 books and is open 24 hours a day.
The college has a strong musical community nurtured by a Tutorial Fellow in Music. Many students engage enthusiastically in sporting activities, which include on-site tennis and basketball along with a multi-gym. Off site sporting facilities are shared with Wadham and St Anne’s.