Founded 1263 by John de Balliol. Sister College -– St John’s College Cambridge. Men and Women – Undergraduates 387 Postgraduates 327.
Balliol is one of the oldest and largest of the colleges in Oxford with around 327 postgraduates and 387 undergraduates. It has recently become the most popular, with more applications than any other in the university. Balliol is situated right in the heart of the city on its original site with a lease dating back to foundation year – 1263. A student coup in the 1960’s attempted to re-name the college ‘the People’s Republic of Balliol’ and it has since gained a reputation as the most politically active in the university with the liberal left being particularly vocal.
Progressive social reform
Balliol is justly proud of a reputation that places high academic achievement above social class – a result of huge and radical efforts made in the 19th century to shake up ingrained attitudes within the university.
Balliol tutors helped to found the Workers’ Educational Association and became associated with progressive social reform that extended educational opportunities for ordinary men. It was the first college to admit commoners and the first to include black students. Women were given the opportunity to attend classes as early as 1884 as long as ‘some elder person’ accompanied them. Most formal ceremony has been brushed aside resulting in Balliol being one of the most liberal and open-minded colleges in Oxford. However, the delights of formal dining were reintroduced in 2007 following a long absence that was considered ‘aged and dogmatic’. It is now one of the most diverse institutions in Oxford with a high proportion of international students.
These values reflect some of those held by the husband and...
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...a classical style and refaced by Waterhouse in 1877.
First male college to elect a woman fellow
Women were accepted into Balliol in 1979 which seems a little late for such a forward thinking college, however it was the first all male college to elect a woman as a fellow and tutor in 1973.
The student body is vibrant with clubs and societies to meet every demand, backed by a JCR that boasts the largest budget in Oxford. Drama is especially strong with a dedicated studio theatre. Both physical and bar sports are indulged with great passion. All first and third years can be accommodated on site with many, but not all, second years being sheltered at Jowett Walk, situated by the college sports field less than a 5 minute walk away. All are study bedrooms equipped with internet connection. Self-catering facilities are provided for students who do not fancy dining in hall.