Lady Margaret Hall

Guided tour by college Principal, Alan Rusbridger

This meeting was held on January 23, 2019

LMH Principal Alan Rusbridger points out pictures of the college founders

Alan Rusbridger, ex-editor of The Guardian, came to the Jericho Community Association on 14 November 2018 to talk about his book Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now. Following on from the discussion he invited the JCA to visit Lady Margaret Hall in Norham Gardens, of which he is Principal.

LMH is a grand site, spread over 15 acres, reclaimed from the floodplain in the late nineteenth century; the college was the first Oxford college for women, admitting nine female undergraduates in October 1879. There are now 650 students, 50/50 male and female with a foundation year introduced to prepare disadvantaged students for study.

The group toured the grounds during a sudden cold snap, braving the frosty cold and crusts of snow to look admire the sunken gardens, woods and waters, great fallen trees and boats used for punting in better weather.

Head Gardener Kate Hunt alternated with Alan Rusbridger in pointing out the features of the college. The buildings have been added piecemeal: “Everything is pretending to be older than it is.”

The original building is in a Queen Anne-style, additions have generally harmonised with this beginning. Wolfson Quad is now a wildflower meadow. The gardens are managed in the interest of biodiversity. There are otters, badgers,deer and a colony of jackdaws.

The pots in the sunken garden were presented by Tolkien’s daughter Priscilla, an alumna. The Deneke sisters played with Einstein nearby. The Chapel was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott.

Here the group encountered the chaplain Rev Allan Doig and saw the sculpted monument to the original Lady Margaret Beaufort after whom the college was named, under Burne-Jones paintings.

Photographs of past students including Benazir Bhutto and Diana Athill adorn the corridor walls. More recently Malala Yousafzai has studied PPE at Lady Margaret Hall.

They do not have the embarrassment of longer-established Oxford colleges that all the portraits in the dining hall are men. In this as so much else they got there first.

Report by: Roger Howe

​Head Gardener Kate Hunt explains how the gardens are managed.

Alan Rusbridger relates how the college has expanded over time, with a variety of architectural styles.

My Jericho is a weekly series of conversations organized by John Mair. Most are at the community centre but there are also visits to interesting places in and around Jericho. Entry £2.00 or, if at the Community Centre, you can bring a cake. Profits to the JCA.

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Some events include a tour. So we have an idea of numbers, please book via Eventbrite where indicated.

Forthcoming meetings

Date Venue
Wed 20 Feb
Mark Damazer

Former MD of Radio 4, Master of St Peters College

Community Centre
Tue 26 Feb
Peter Hitchens

Mail on Sunday columnist

Community Centre
Wed 6 Mar
Flamenco and Jericho history
Guitarist Marcos Young and Sue Pead
Community Centre
Wed 3 Apr
Father Christopher
St Barnabas Church
St Barnabas Church Cafe
Wed 10 Apr
Bill Emmot

Former editor of The Economist

Community Centre
Wed 17 Apr
Peter Bennett Jones
Hat Trick productions
Community Centre
Wed 1 May
Wine and cheese party
End of run party
Jericho Cheese Company, Little Clarendon Street

Previous events

At the community centre

13-02-19Jericho Community Boatyard
06-02-19Susanna Pressel
30-01-19Fiona Hawkins
04-12-18Former postman, Ali
21-11-18Baroness Jan Royall
14-11-18Alan Rusbridger
07-11-18Rough sleepers in Oxford
31-10-18David Mills
17-10-18Roma Tearne
09-10-18Evening for Bill Heine
03-10-18Sir Christopher Ball
12-09-18Richard Dick
15-08-18Susan Brown
29-03-18Maggie Black
21-03-18Sir Rick Trainor
15-03-18Will Wyatt
14-03-18Ian Stuart
07-03-18Steph Pirrie
21-02-18Fr Jonathan Beswick
14-02-18Mark Davies
06-02-18Pandora Maxwell
31-01-18Sir Richard Peto
24-01-18Teresa O’Hara
17-01-18Maggie Whitlum
10-01-18Michel Sadones


23-01-19Lady Margaret Hall
09-01-19Lord Mayor’s Parlour
18-04-18Worcester College