History of the College

The Beginnings of Culham College

1840's much discussion about need for a college and its location

April 1851 - five acres of land purchased from Vicar of Culham after first choice location at Wheatley was abandoned

28th October 1852 - St. Simon and St. Jude's Day - Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, laid the foundation stone of the chapel

1852 - building scheduled for completion by late summer but delays; constructed of Marcham stone, backed up with brickwork and dressing of Bath Stone

3rd July 1852 - The Illustrated London News published a report on the new institution and included the picture below. To quote from Len Naylor's history of the college:

"The style of architecture, it was said in The Illustrated News, was fourteenth century decorated, 'uniting a generally prevailing simplicity with a certain attractive elegance of detail'. The Gothic style of the building is in no way surprising, for the Gothic revival of the nineteenth century was then approaching its height and the College architect, Joseph Clarke, was one of its minor promoters."

September 1852 - The new Committee of Management advertised for a Principal. The Rev. Arthur Ashwell was appointed and took up his post in January 1853 with a salary of £300 a year with partly furnished residence and other emoluments.

January 1853 - students arrived from the Summertown training school and courses commenced at Culham.

Monday 6th June 1853 - The College was officially opened by the Earl of Derby who combined this function with his installation as Chancellor of Oxford University. Bishop Wilberforce handed the keys of the College to the Principal.





Culham College 1852


College History  by L Naylor and GMD Howat is a comprehensive volume available from the Culham College Shop