Programme

We run a year-round programme of Oxford-themed talks, walks and visits aimed to encourage an awareness and understanding of our city. The talks (free and open to all) are given by leading speakers in interesting locations across the city. Topics can include Oxford’s history, buildings, arts and science, and current development projects.

The extensive programme of visits and walks (members only and usually for a small charge) is led by local experts and held both in and out of Oxford.

For any queries about the Programme, please email events@oxcivicsoc.org.uk.

Accessibility

Magdalen’s Grove Auditorium has level access via the main entrance doors though the foyer. Wheelchairs may be placed in front of the front row of seats. There is an accessible toilet via the fire exit leading to Longwall Street from the front of the Auditorium. Neither venue has disabled parking spaces nearby although there are limited general pay-and-display parking places in Longwall Street near the Grove Auditorium entrance.

Rewley House is wheelchair accessible via a ramp. Once inside there is a lift to the lecture theatre and to the bar! There is limited parking in Wellington Square and more in St Giles.Oxford Town Hall Assembly Room is on the first floor. There is a street-level entrance to the Town Hall on St Aldate’s immediately after the Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop. You may need to ring the bell to get the door opened by Reception. Once inside there is a lift to the first floor and then a level floor to the meeting room.

Open talks — all welcome

Our Autumn season talks are below. They are free and open to all - no booking required.

  • Frewin Hall, Oxford – a lost college

    Wednesday 14 September, 8.00pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium

    Archaeological dig at Frewin HallBen Ford from Oxford Archaeology updates us on some of the highlights from excavations undertaken early in 2022. The site of Frewin Hall (formerly St Mary’s College) has thrown up significant new evidence from archaeological work in advance of construction for Brasenose College student accommodation. Hear about how a large Bronze Age burial mound influenced the occupation of the site 3,000 years later in the first century of Oxford’s development as a defended Saxon border town.

  • ‘Real Oxford’

    Tuesday 11 October, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium

    Pat McGuinessPoet, novelist and academic Patrick McGuinness has published a new book about an old city, a deeply personal exploration of the Oxford of breweries and factories, car plants, stations and wharves. He delves into the city’s unexpectedly radical politics, high-rise Oxford as well as High Table Oxford. There’s European Oxford, Windrush Oxford, Cavalier and Roundhead Oxford and Oxford’s own population – the artisans, tradespeople and urban working-class whose city-centre suburbs were demolished.

  • The University of Oxford’s new humanities building

    Wednesday 26 October, 8pm
    Magdalen College Auditorium

    artist's impression of the new Humanities Building interior; a large atrium with a glass roofThe University will begin construction of the Stephen A Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities in October with completion due in 2025. Located in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, the building will provide facilities for the city as well as the University, most notably a 500-seat concert hall and a 250-seat theatre. William Whyte, Professor of Architectural History at the University, will provide insights into all aspects of this exciting development.

Members-only Walks and Visits

Here is the programme of walks / visits for Autumn 2022. They are for members only, and booking is essential.

Booking is via Eventbrite; please go to the web links given below to book your place on these visits and pay for them. If you find we have reached our maximum capacity for a particular event, please make use of the waitlist function in Eventbrite.

Bookings are taken on a first come first served basis but the lists will stay open until seven days before the event. If you are offered a ticket via the waitlist you have 72 hours to claim it.

A joint member may book two tickets.

You can cancel your booking up to 30 days before the event and get a partial refund — Eventbrite takes a small percentage of the fee. After that no refunds can be offered.

If you book and cannot attend the event, we urge you to cancel as soon as you can so that someone else can take your place. Our events are popular and we almost always have a waiting list.

Please note: our walks and visits are open to MEMBERS ONLY. If you book a ticket and are NOT a fully-paid-up member you will be required to join the Society or top-up your lapsed membership before you join the event.

  • St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford: a visit

    Saturday 20 August, 2pm

    New building seen over the River CherwellSet in grounds next to the River Cherwell, St Hilda’s College has beautiful views over the Botanic Gardens, Christ Church Meadows and Oxford’s dreaming spires. This visit will include the recently opened Anniversary Building and Pavilion.

    Tickets: £8. Maximum numbers: 25.

    Eventbrite link: bit.ly/ocs-sthildas

     

  • Oxford during the Civil War, 1642-46: a guided tour

    Sunday 25 September, 2pm

    Stephen BarkerThis two-hour tour led by military historian Stephen Barker examines Oxford’s role as Royalist capital. It assesses the impact on the city and surrounding area and highlights what remains to this day, such as the fortifications.

    Tickets: £9. Maximium numbers: 25.

    Eventbrite link: bit.ly/ocs-civilwar

  • Oxford’s boundaries: a guided walk

    Saturday 8 October, 11am

    A man in academic dress talks to young people hitting a college wall with sticks
    Beating the Bounds
    Photo: Andrew Gray, CC BY-SA 2.0
    Source: Wikimedia.

    This two-mile walk with local historian Mark Davies, traces the old south-western municipal and county boundaries, on a route followed by Oxford’s mayors for centuries as part of the ceremonial ‘riding of the franchise’ (or liberty). It includes some steps and potentially muddy footpaths. It complements two previous walks of the north-western boundary in 2019.

    Tickets: £9. Maximum numbers: 20.

    Eventbrite link: bit.ly/ocs-boundaries

  • Trees in North Oxford: a guided walk

    Sunday 23 October, 2pm

    The walk will focus on St Giles and the Norham Gardens area, looking at some interesting trees in the largely Victorian suburb. It will be led by Ian Gourlay, former wood anatomist at the University of Oxford’s Department of Forestry (now Plant Sciences).

    Tickets: £9. Maximum numbers: 20.

    Eventbrite link: bit.ly/ocs-trees

  • Trinity College, University of Oxford: a visit

    Wednesday 9 November, 2pm

    This visit, led by the college staff, will include a tour of the Levine Building, completed in late December 2021. The building includes study bedrooms, an auditorium for lectures and performance, teaching rooms and many other facilities. The tour will
    also include the grounds and chapel.

    Tickets:  £8. Maximum numbers: 20.

    Eventbrite link: bit.ly/ocs-trinity