Ian Cawood is on Research Leave at Keble College, Oxford this semester. Here, Ian gives us a deeper insight into life at Keble.



The home of the history faculty library (actually it’s in the basement, so I can’t take a photo of that).

The basement is a bit dull, so I found a slightly nicer place to work in the upper reading room.

Sadly, I needed to keep going up and down to the basement to get my books. Luckily, Hawksmoor and Gibbs have provided quite a staircase to distract one from the effort of doing so (though Pevsner thinks it ‘a little heavy in the details’). Is it too late to rethink the staircase in Newman’s library?

Inside the Senior Common Room at Keble. George Butterfield, the architect (who also designed Rugby School) chose the wallpaper. Pevsner calls it ‘a ladies’ paper’. There is bust of John Henry Newman in the SCR dining room, so I feel that he is keeping a watchful eye on me, even here.

The Bodleian history faculty library’s new books shelf. What excellent taste. My compliments to the librarian, if not to the architect.

Nuffield College, one of the newest colleges at Oxford, has an excellent political history library. Sadly, it is 5 floors up in the College tower, which is very chilly on a January morning, but provides me with a lovely view. I could do with a blanket, though…

Keble College Library (also designed by Butterfield) has an excellent collection of Victorian political history (as befits it hosting the Centre for Victorian Political Culture). It took me about 6 hours (and a good lunch in the SCR) but I got through all the books on my desk and had time to order the next day’s books from the Bodleian. I am off to hear the Ford Lecture, given Stefan Collini tomorrow.

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