Oxford opens its doors - old and new - to all

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THE restored University Church of St Mary the Virgin in High Street and the West Wing of the Said Business School are among the new additions to this year’s Oxford Open Doors.

The city’s annual heritage celebration will take place on the weekend of September 14 and 15.

The weekend for people to enjoy “the familiar and the unexpected” is organised by Oxford Preservation Trust in partnership with Oxford University.

Trust director Debbie Dance was joined this week by the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Rev Christopher Lewis, to celebrate the release of the new Open Doors programme.

The cathedral, the Great Hall and gardens will draw hundreds of extra visitors to Christ Church. But Open Doors will offer such additional attractions as a special cafe in Tom Quad, talks and exhibitions.

There is the chance to see some of the city’s major restoration projects such as the newly restored University Church of St Mary the Virgin in High Street and the former Radcliffe Infirmary site, now being transformed in to a university quarter.

Archaeologists and architects will also be on hand at Oxford Castle, where tours of the Malmaison Hotel, once a Victorian prison, will be available.

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Modern buildings opening their doors include the Said Business School extension and the new Biochemistry Building in the University Science Area.

Ms Dance said: “We never run out of great places and great people to work with when we put the programme together.

“We can only thank our many partners. This year the Oxford Bus Company has put up posters on buses so that as many people as possible will remember to come.”

This year will feature the Nuffield Legacy in Oxford, 50 years after the death of Lord Nuffield, the philanthropist who created Oxford’s car industry.

Tours are being offered at the Mini plant in Cowley and there will be a chance to meet scientists and staff at the Old Road Campus, where the Nuffield Department of Medicine is based.

Vintage Morris cars will be displayed at the Castle, with bike rides offering the chance “to follow in the wheels” of Lord Nuffield.

Among those attending the launch was former Bartholomew School, Eynsham, pupil Tom Harper, 20. Mr Harper, who is studying Architecture and Planning at the University of the West of England in Bristol, said: “When I visited Open Doors at 14 I was inspired by the architecture. It really spurred my interest in building design.”

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