Linacre College, Oxford

Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford
Linacre College
College name Linacre College
Motto No End To Learning
Named after Thomas Linacre
Previously named Linacre House (until 1965)
Established 1962
Sister college Hughes Hall, Cambridge
Principal Nick Brown
Undergraduates None
Graduates 400
Location St Cross Road

Location of Linacre College within central OxfordCoordinates: 51°45′34″N 1°14′59″W / 51.75935°N 1.24984°W / 51.75935; -1.24984

Grace Benedictus benedicat
Blazon see below

Linacre College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in the UK whose members comprise fellows and postgraduate students. The College is named after Thomas Linacre (1460–1524), founder of the Royal College of Physicians and a distinguished Oxford humanist. Linacre was also a medical scientist and a classicist, and the College aims to reflect his multi-disciplinary character.

Linacre College has approximately 400 graduate students studying a broad range of subjects. The majority of students are from outside the UK and represent more than fifty countries. Linacre was the first of Oxford's colleges to admit female and male students on an equal basis. This egalitarian spirit is also reflected by a lack of formal separation between fellows and students. The College has a strong environmental ethos and it was the first college in Oxford to achieve Fairtrade status.[1]

It is located on St Cross Road at its junction with South Parks Road, next to the University Parks and opposite the Tinbergen Building, which is shared by the Departments of Zoology and Experimental Psychology.


Linacre College (called Linacre House for its first three years) was the third graduate-only Oxford college after Nuffield and St Antony's and the UK's first graduate society for both sexes and all subjects.[2] Founding Principal John Bamborough described it as "a deliberate experiment by the University to see whether the needs of graduate students could be met by a new type of society."[3] This pioneering institution was founded on 1 August 1962, in premises on St Aldate's formerly occupied by St Catherine's Society (now St Catherine's College) and currently home to the university's Music Department. Initially there were 115 members of whom only 30 were British. The first senior members included Isaiah Berlin, Dorothy Hodgkin and John Hicks.[4]

In 1977, Linacre College moved to its present site at Cherwell Edge, which was formerly a private house, a convent of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, and a residence for students of other colleges.[5] After twenty-four years as a university department, Linacre became an independent college of Oxford University by Royal Charter on 1 August 1986. Principals succeeding John Bamborough were Sir Bryan Cartledge (1988–1996), Paul Slack (1996–2010), and Nick Brown (2010–).

Coat of arms and motto

In 1988 Linacre College was granted a coat of arms blazoned:

Sable an open Book proper edged Or bound Gules the dexter page charged with the Greek Letter Alpha the sinister page charged with the Greek Letter Omega both Sable the whole between three Escallops Argent.

The College motto beneath the escutcheon is No End To Learning. College colours are grey, yellow and black (or silver, gold and sable) but only the latter two colours are used for rowing blades and most sports clothing.

Both scallop shells and the alpha and omega are common symbols in heraldry and can have religious significance. Scallop shells are traditionally a symbol of the Way of St. James (pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela) and alpha and omega often a Christian reference to God. A secular interpretation is as reference to the completeness of study (alpha being the first letter of the Greek alphabet and omega the last) and the process of scholarship akin to a pilgrimage/journey.

College grace

The College grace is said in Latin by the Principal (or a designated fellow) at formal dinners in Hall. Before commencement of the meal the words "Benedictus benedicat" ('May the Blessed One give a blessing') are said, all standing. After the completion of the meal the words "Benedicto benedicatur" ('May the Blessed One be blessed') are said, all standing.

Buildings and facilities

Linacre's main site is on the corner of South Parks Road and St Cross Road. In addition to the original building of 1886 (now known as the OC Tanner Building) there are three much newer accommodation blocks on the main site, all built of “Linacre College Special Blend Brick” with matching Queen Anne style architecture.[6] The Bamborough, Abraham, and Griffiths Buildings were completed in 1986, 1995, and 2008 respectively,[7] raising the total number of student rooms on the main college site to 91.

Linacre also owns or leases a number of buildings off the main site, including properties on Banbury Road, Bradmore Road, Divinity Road, Iffley Road, and Walton Street, which provide a further 79 rooms (including rooms for couples).[8] The college generally offers accommodation to all first-year students (freshers) and the percentage of graduate students housed within college accommodation exceeds the university average. Students typically move into private shared housing in and around Oxford after their first year.

OC Tanner Building

Linacre College library.

The oldest part of the college, known as the OC Tanner Building, contains most of the central facilities, all staff offices and some student accommodation. The heart of the building is the large common room, which has a bar and other leisure facilities. The college library, formerly a chapel, includes shared computing facilities for college members.

Bamborough Building

The first major addition to the main college site was the Bamborough Building, which is located beside the OC Tanner Building to form a quad featuring an ornamental fountain. A plaque on the Bamborough Building commemorates it winning an Oxford Preservation Trust award in 1987.

Abraham Building

The Edward & Asbjörg Abraham Building, completed in 1995, is primarily a residential building offering single bedrooms for students. It was designed and built as part of a movement within Linacre to raise environmental awareness and promote sustainable development. The building was named UK Green Building of the Year 1996[9] and won the BCE Environmental Leadership Award.[10] A photovoltaic system was installed on the roofs of Abraham and Griffiths Buildings in 2011.

The basement of the Abraham Building houses a music practice room and the college gym, which has four ergometers, a good range of weights, various other gym equipment and space for several classes.

Griffiths Building

The newest residence on the main site is the Griffiths Building, named after former student and Honorary Fellow Rodney Griffiths. Completed in 2008, the building has 28 en suite single rooms and 4 en suite double rooms with shared kitchens. It was a finalist for two awards of The Brick Development Association.[11][12]

Dining Hall

Linacre College dining hall.

Between the OC Tanner and Abraham Buildings is Linacre's large dining hall, which operates a canteen service most weekdays for lunch and evening meal.

The Rom Harré Garden

The most recent major development at Linacre has been the completion of a garden extension on the main site of the College in 2010. This is a quiet spot with flowers and outdoor seating. Rom Harré is a former Vice-Principal and Emeritus Fellow.

Off-site accommodation

Banbury Road

Linacre's property on Banbury Road, Ursula Hicks House, is a three-storey Victorian mansion with 17 rooms. Lady Ursula Hicks was a founding fellow of Linacre College and bequeathed it her home, Porch House. The College sold Porch House and named the Banbury Road property in her honour.[13]

Divinity Road

The Beeches is student accommodation off Cowley Road, about 30 minutes walk from the main Linacre site and close to Oxford University's Old Road Campus, home to a number of biomedical research institutes.

Student life

Linacre College rowing blades.

Common Room

Much of the College's social and sporting life is coordinated through the Common Room, of which all students, fellows and staff are members. The Common Room's elected executive committee oversees activities and works closely with college officials to represent its members' interests.

The Common Room organises numerous events during term time. Particular highlights include termly bops, which are among the largest student-run parties in Oxford. Operating across two floors and outside areas, the bops are themed parties open to members of other colleges. The biggest bop of the year is usually the matriculation bop (“sexy sub-fusc” theme) which usually attracts a queue far in excess of the 450 person capacity. In 2015, 750 people enjoyed the event at any given time, and more than 950 people attended it throughout the night. Other social events include smaller college parties, movie nights, cake baking, cheese and wine tasting and lectures.

Clubs and societies

Like all colleges, Linacre has many active sports teams and its members also represent the University in various sports. Active societies and clubs include the Linace Music Society, Linacre Boat Club, Linacre Recreational Football Society, Linacre Ladies that Lift weightlifting society, Linacre Yoga Society, Linacre Green Society, and Linacre Intercultural Society and Linacre Photo Society, among others.

Linacre Lectures

Throughout its history the College has run an annual series of Linacre Lectures open to non-members, the first of which were given by Brian Aldiss, Robert Graves and Isaiah Berlin.[14] Recent Linacre Lectures have focused on environmental challenges with speakers including Lester R. Brown, Paul Ekins, Carl Folke, and Robert Costanza.[15][16]

Notable former students

Notable former fellows


See also


  1. Joanna Wall (3 March 2011). "Going bananas for Fairtrade". Cherwell. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  2. Davies, Evan; Wagner, Eva (2005), Bamborough's Linacre: A Tribute to John Bernard Bamborough, ISBN 0970970056
  3. "Linacre College Oxford - Celebrating 50 years 1962-2012". Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  4. Davies, Evan; Wagner, Eva (2005), Bamborough's Linacre: A Tribute to John Bernard Bamborough, ISBN 0970970056
  5. "Linacre College Oxford - Celebrating 50 years 1962-2012". Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  6. "Linarce College". University of Oxford. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  7. "Linacre College: Named Facilities". Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  8. "Accommodation". Linacre College, Oxford. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  9. "Linacre wins green award". Oxford University Gazette. 13 June 1996. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  10. "The 2010 Winners – BCE Environmental Leadership Awards" (PDF). Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  11. "BEST PUBLIC BUILDING 2008". The Brick Development Association. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  12. "BEST CRAFTSMANSHIP AWARD 2008". The Brick Development Association. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  13. Hicks, Ursula (August 2011). "Ursala Hicks: My Early Life (Up to the Age of 12)" (PDF). Research Paper Number 1126. Department of Economics, University of Melbourne.
  14. Davies, Evan; Wagner, Eva (2005), Bamborough's Linacre: A Tribute to John Bernard Bamborough, ISBN 0970970056
  15. "Linacre Lectures 2011". Environmental Change Institute. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  16. "Linacre Lectures 2012". Linacre College. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  17. "Wing Commander Rupert Cecil". The Telegraph. 14 July 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  18. Dr Nick Brown
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