Founded:1282 (Hart Hall) 1740 (Hertford College)
About the college:
Hertford College was originally founded as Hart Hall by Elias de Hertford in 1282. It acted primarily as a lodging for students and resident tutors and it was only when it merged with Magdalen Hall (not to be confused in any way with Magdalen College) that it became the Hertford College as we know it today. It started accepting girls in 1974 becoming one of the first five co-educational colleges in the university. It is generally seen to be quite forward-thinking college and under the Hertford Scheme in the 1960’s encouraged an increase in state school applications. The library collection is quite extensive with over 40,000 volumes and one of the largest college collections in Oxford. There is also the college cat ‘Simpkins’ who lives in the porters’ lodge and is the ninth Simpkins to occupy Hertford. Hertford is also supposedly the setting for Charles Ryder’s college in Brideshead Revisited and has become an iconic vision of Oxford.
Life at the college:
Hertford is a mid-sized college with a really friendly and welcoming atmosphere. One of the great things about it is that it is right opposite the Bodleian and the Radcliffe Camera which is ideal if you are wanting to get out of college to do some work – you literally just cross the road! It is also right opposite other non-work related locations like the Kings Arms (for those needing a drink after a long day) but also Broad Street and its array of coffee shops. Food at Hertford is generally quite reasonable and lunch times are particularly good with an extensive salad bar and soup of the day. Our bops are usually held in a club as there is no big enough space in college for them – which means that we all our fancy dress is exposed to most of Oxford on these occasions – you can’t just hide in college! In Trinity term we are allowed on most of our quads and OB quad is definitely the nicest as it is just at the bottom of the staircase to Hall and at the entrance to the Lodge it becomes a great place to socialize.
Not to be missed:
There are so many great things about Hertford but our bar is definitely a highlight. It is in the basement between NB and Holywell Quads and although it has gone through some changes this year – it has returned to being a great place to pre-drink. It is divided into several rooms which give it a nice and intimate feel – especially on those evenings when it is so packed you can hardly move! The bar is central in Hertford-Lingo and when someone at uses the letters ‘DTB’ in a sentence they will most likely mean ‘down the bar’!
Hertford has quite a well known Alumni with poet John Donne, satirist Jonathan Swift, the political theorist Thomas Hobbes and William Tyndale all attending Hart Hall (which would eventually become Hertford). Other more recent old Hertfordians include Fiona Bruce, Natasha Kaplinksy and Evelyn Waugh.