e-Matters 24th November 2020

Amongst our membership lies great experience, wisdom, and insight, so rather than stay silent (not a modus to which the Development & Alumni Relations Office subscribes!) we thought we should bring you some thoughts and reflections from our own broad community. These pieces are also featured in our regular e-Matters newsletter. If you would like to sign up to receive e-Matters please contact development.office@chch.ox.ac.uk

Dear Members and Friends,

As we continue with the series of e-Matters there’s no let-up in the variety of contributions for publication. Thank you for all the news and features, many of which are included here, in another bumper edition. There is a great deal to read here; please do take your time and come back to peruse those articles you can’t digest in a single sitting!

Thank you, too, for financial contributions. The Covid Student Support Appeal (together with the Law Trove Appeal) has now reached £50,000. We are hugely appreciative of this vital support for our student community. It’s not too late to give and make a difference.

As we look at the vestiges of 2020, a tricky year if ever there as one, we are looking forward and planning ahead. The dawn of vaccines, including the promising Oxford one: Oxford University breakthrough on global COVID-19 vaccine | University of Oxford gives real hope. Thus, ever the optimists, our calendar for events and gatherings in 2021 is beginning to take shape. We are yet to have certainty about when we can start to run events but…..please note the calendar of events here, and pencil in the relevant ones. We will email you as soon as we know which will take place.

With best wishes from us all,
Mark Coote
Director of Development 

News from the House

We have received correspondence from some alumni regarding recent reports in the media about the Dean of Christ Church. For clarification, please see the Christ Church and Diocese of Oxford’s websites. 

Light Nights in the Meadows

Light Nights in the MeadowsEarlier this week Meadows was awash with light. Each year Oxford Council promotes an event called ‘light nights’ in which various buildings in Oxford are illuminated for a weekend.

Luxmuralis, a company run by Peter Walker, artist in residence at Lichfield Cathedral, has a contract with the Council to illuminate certain buildings with light shows accompanied by sound. Peter was the force behind the Poppy Fields exhibition that ran in the Cathedral in November 2018. See: 
https://projectionartgallery.com/index.php/about/  For 2020, the ‘light nights’ event has been moved online rather than cancelling the event. You may see the finished product here: https://www.oxlightfest.com/


Advent Carols

ChoirThe annual Advent Carol Service, this year on Sunday 29th November at 6pm, is not able to go ahead as normal, BUT we are able to live stream a paired down service which will involve the Cathedral Choir, a small College Choir and college readers.


The Advent Carols will be streamed live here and we would love to welcome our alumni, family, and friends to watch. We are sorry that we cannot offer you mulled wine and mince pies afterwards, but look forward to the day when we can entertain you once more at the House.


From the Library: New Tools for Research and the Frenzy of Digitisation

First plate in The Funeral Procession of Sir Philip Sidney, also known as 'Lant’s roll', published in 1588. A complete set of this series of engravings is very rare and comes to a total of over 10 metres.During these challenging times, when scholars all over the world are confronted with major restrictions in accessing our Special collections, Christ Church Library has made everything possible to speed up showcasing, promoting and sharing content using digital tools. The team involved (Alina Nachescu - photography; Tim Dungate and Joanna Bek - migration of records; Dr Rahel Fronda - Hebrew metadata; and the Keeper of Special Collections - metadata and management of the project) made available another significant number of important items from the Western, Hebrew and Early printed collections.
Page from a fifteenth-century handsomely illuminated Hours of the Virgin, a prayer book for the laity used for private devotion.For details and links to the latest holdings now in digital form, please see https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/library-and-archives/update-digitisation-during-michaelmas-2020.

Dr Cristina Neagu
Keeper of Special Collections
Christ Church Library


Judith Curthoys: Cows and Curates
The perfect Christmas gift for family and friends

Book cover of Cows and CuratesOld Members now enjoy a 20% discount at Christ Church online shop.

Cows and Curates: The Story of the Land and Livings of Christ Church, Oxford, the latest book by Judith Curthoys, College Archivist & Library Manager, together with the other three books in the 'Christ Church Saga' are now available in Christ Church Online Shop.

Please click this discount link to visit the online shop or enter discount code "OM20" at check out. 





Complimentary Publications from the Library

Upper LibraryThe Library had to clear out store rooms in Peck before the refurbishment and has a limited supply of the following Christ Church publications, available to members free of charge.

  1. Christopher Haigh, 1546 Before and After: The making of Christ Church (450th anniversary lecture, 1996)
  2. David Fletcher, The emergence of estate maps: Christ Church, Oxford, 1600-1840 (1995)
  3. E.G.W. Bill, Education at Christ Church, Oxford, 1660 – 1800 (1988)
  4. J. Cook and J.F.A. Mason, The building accounts of Christ Church Library, 1716 – 1779 (1988)
  5. E.G.W. Bill and J.F.A. Mason, Christ Church and Reform, 1750 – 1867 (1970)
  6. W.G. Hiscock, Henry Aldrich (1960)
  7. R. Frost, Christ Church Boat Club: a short history (c.1988)

This will be the last chance to acquire them. Please email development.office@chch.ox.ac.uk with your order, clearly stating your name, matriculation year, contact address for postage, and ideally a telephone number in case we need to speak with you.


Inscriptions in The Chapter House

In the previous e-Matters, we invited Old Members to translate the inscriptions on the East wall of the Chapter House (picture below).

With thanks to Robert Rice (1965), and Judith Curthoys, college archivist, the translation of the inscriptions is below:

Inscriptions in Chapter HouseLapidem hunc
E. Ruderibus Collegii Wolseiani Gippwicensis
Decano et Canonicis Aedis Christi
Supremo Testamento legavit
Eccl[es]iarum de Harkstead et Freston in Agro. Suffolk. Rector
This stone
Rescued from the rubble of Wolsey’s College in Ipswich
Richard Canning MA, rector of the churches of Harkstead and Freston in the County of Suffolk,
Bequeathed in his last Testament to the Dean and Canons of Christ Church
AD 1789

In the year of Christ 1528 and the 20th of Henry VIII, King of England,
in fact on 10th June,
this stone was placed by John, bishop.

The archivist has added: "the mason who carved the lower one was either a bad mason or possibly illiterate as some of it is very bad Latin or just odd!  The bottom line is particularly hard to decipher. The only construction that makes sense is if the middle three letters (EPN) were actually meant to be EPM as an abbreviation for Episcopum.  If this is the case, then the stone could have been laid by Bishop John Longland of Lincoln, who was a supporter of Wolsey and actually preached the sermon on the day that the foundation stone of Cardinal College was laid."


Christ Church Matters: A request

Portrait of Anna PortChrist Church Matters was not produced this summer, partly to save costs, partly because of staffing issues, and partly because we wanted to concentrate on producing good and full e-Matters, which have used material which otherwise might have been incorporated into CCM.

We propose a slightly different Christ Church Matters than normal for Michaelmas 2020, CCM 45, and seek your input.

We intend producing a social history of the Christ Church community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. This will reflect the importance of what we are currently going through, both from the viewpoint of the institution itself, and through the eyes of you, the alumni. We aim to cover all aspects of life at the House: academic, administrative, financial, social, environmental, etc. It will include pieces from academics, staff, students and alumni. It will not just be about the House but about our alumni’s experiences across the Globe. It will be not just a magazine and a good read, but an archive of the Christ Church’s experience during the year.

If you would like to submit a piece to be considered for inclusion please email anna.port@chch.ox.ac.uk with your proposal. All submissions will be added to a digital archive recording people's experiences of 2020, and a selection will be published in CCM 45.

Dr Anna Port, (2002, nee Burson), who was the Alumni Relations Officer before leaving on maternity leave, has returned on a part time basis to help with the production of Christ Church Matters. We are delighted to have her back!


'Movember' at Christ Church

Logo of Movember Foundation‘Movember’ is the month when we focus on men’s mental health. Christ Church students have been fundraising for the Movember charity since the beginning of the month. Fundraising efforts have ranged from growing moustaches (keep an eye on the Christ Church Instagram and Twitter accounts for before and after pictures at the end of the month!) to a group walk of over 60km in a single day. The team have raised over £1,800 so far - just short of the £2,500 target. Any donations to help us reach our goal will be greatly appreciated! To give, go to: https://uk.movember.com/team/2349981

Efe Kati (JCR Secretary)


Christ Church Cathedral Music Trust: Choral Evensong

Choristers in the CathedralThe Christ Church Cathedral Music Trust is pleased to announce that they will be releasing one pre-recorded service of evensong on Monday each week. The first recording is already available on YouTube and can be found by clicking here. 

We hope that you will enjoy these services. If you would like to find out more about the work of the Music Trust or would like to sign up for regular updates from the Trust, please contact Micah Mackay, Music Trust Development Officer. 



Christ Church Visitor Centre Announced as Regional Finalist of Civic Trust Awards 2021 

Christ Church Visitor Centre has been selected as a 2021 Regional Finalist at the Civic Trust Awards.

Christ Church ShopCivic Trust Awards LogoThis means the scheme at the House was successful during its first stage assessment and now goes forward into the award's National judging panel for a Civic Trust Award.

The winners will be announced in January 2021. Fingers crossed and congratulations to the team involved in the project.

Click here to read more about the design and restoration work done by Purcell.


"Unprecedented": A Graduate Fresher's Reflections

Picture of Emily RadyteEmilė Radytė, D.Phil. candidate in Neuroscience, reflects on starting a graduate degree at Christ Church during the pandemic:

"Choosing to go to graduate school, whether that be for a single year or an extended research programme, a part-time or professional programme, is a significant decision. Graduate students tend to come from a very wide range of geographic, cultural, educational, and experiential backgrounds – and from different stages of their life and career trajectories. This year, however, their – our – decisions were framed by even more considerations than usual. While most students made the decision to apply and pursue their programmes before any prospect of a global pandemic had started looming, final decisions about taking up offers had to be made under pandemic conditions."

Click here to continue reading Emilė's blog.



Dr Leah Broad: New Generation Thinker and Nordic Music Specialist talks on BBC Radio 3

Picture of Leah BroadDr Leah Broad, New Generation Thinker and Lecturer in Music at the House, will be on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 28 November - Record Review, at 9am, taking part in a week of special programmes across BBC Radio 3 programmed to celebrate 10 years of the AHRC and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers scheme. She will be talking with Andrew Macgregor about Sibelius and music from Finland and Estonia.

In November 2020 the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and BBC Radio 3 will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the New Generation Thinkers scheme. Each year, ten of the brightest minds in the arts and humanities are chosen for the scheme, which brings their vibrant mix of research to BBC radio and television to capture the public imagination.

Tune in to hear Leah this Saturday 28 November at 9am on BBC Radio 3, or click here to listen to the programme after broadcast.

Click here to read more about Leah's research.

Picture of Robin Thompson


Dr Robin Thompson: COVID-19 Research

Dr Robin Thompson, a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, continues to work on mathematical modelling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, he published this paper about assessing the risk from invading pathogens early in potential major epidemics. In this paper, he describes some of the theory that he used to assess COVID-19 epidemic risks in countries worldwide back in January. His analysis of COVID-19 epidemic risks in January led to him being awarded the Journal of Clinical Medicine’s Outstanding Research Award 2020.


Picture of Emily RobothamButtery Christmas Cases delivered to Oxfordshire addresses

Buttery manager, Emily Robotham, would like to entice you to purchase some wines from the Christ Church cellars to enjoy this Festive season:

"Though dinners, events and bars have been cancelled, in the Christ Church cellars there’s always something to do: binning wine, taking inventory or researching prices. In the next couple of weeks, we’re taking a break from our routine to get out on the road. For the first time, the Buttery is making deliveries.  

If you live in Oxfordshire and your wine racks are looking a bit bare, take a look at our range of Christmas cases exclusively for members of the House. We’re online at https://christchurch.creventa.app/menu, and you can give us a call on 01865276153 or email us at bars@chch.ox.ac.uk for all queries. We can’t wait to meet you. "

Please note:

  1. These cases are for members and friends of Christ Church only.
  2. Please provide all your contact details (telephone and email) at the checkout, and vitally, please tick the box that says 'Allow Christ Church to add me to their mailing list'. If you do not do this the app doesn't show us your name or email - for GDPR reasons. Thus Emily would not be able to contact you to arrange delivery. Please rest assured you will not end up being sent lots of spam from the Buttery!
  3. Please ignore the box which asks for a preferred pick up time. I’m afraid the college is closed to visitors at the moment. These cases are for delivery only.

Happy drinking!


IntoUniversity Oxford 2019/2020 Annual Report

Picture of Tom TowerDespite the challenges of COVID-19, IntoUniversity Oxford South East has had another successful year in partnership with Christ Church, improving young people’s attainment and raising aspirations.

The centre’s latest 2019/2020 Annual Report has provided details of academic support and mentoring programmes provided for  young people prior to the national lockdown, and the continuous support to students during the lockdown. Christ Church takes a leading role in supporting the centre, both financially and through many of our students, who volunteer to provide mentoring and academic support.

Click here to download and read the full Annual Report.


OX1 Incubator: Will you match the Christ Church sponsorship?

Picture of OX1 IncubatorIn the late October edition of e-Matters we featured the House alumni who are part of the exciting OX1 Incubator project for student entrepreneurs.
We are now pleased to announce that Christ Church has put up funds, which it is hoped may be matched by alumni, to create a Christ Church prize of up to £5,000.

OX1 Incubator is Oxford’s first start-up incubator programme, designed by student entrepreneurs, for student entrepreneurs, which does not take any equity or IP. It supports students who wish to develop a start-up from the idea stage to the first round of funding, and was started in 2018 by two students. They had three goals: provide a platform for building start-ups at university, nurture aspiring entrepreneurial talent, and raise awareness of entrepreneurship as a career path.
The incubator provides various workshops, keynote speeches, and mentorship programmes throughout the year, and awards grants for winning teams at a Demo Day, where a panel of investors, CEOs, and members of the Oxford entrepreneurship community judge the teams, and award prizes. OX1 Incubator plays an integral role in the start-up ecosystem at Oxford, filling in the gap for students looking to begin their journey into entrepreneurship, and providing end-to-end support for these start-ups in their early stages. In the two years the incubator has been running, it has awarded over £22,000 in equity-free support, created over 40 jobs through its start-ups, supported 13 ventures, and enabled over 40 student founders. 75% of start-ups have continued past OX1, and the past cohorts have had an impressive 40:60 undergraduate-postgraduate level of engagement.
OX1 Incubator is entirely funded through the generous philanthropy of its supporters and corporate partners. The Incubator is run entirely by student volunteers who commit around 10 hours a week of their own time, and so expenses are low; last year, they came to just under £1000.
They need our help! If any Christ Church alumni, or Friends of Christ Church, would like to find out more, or help the OX1 Incubator by donating towards the match, or mentoring, please contact Simon Offen.
Follow OX1 Incubator on Facebook and check out their latest events.


News from Alumni

Jan Morris (1949): 2 October 1926 – 20 November 2020

Picture of Jan MorrisChrist Church has learned with great sadness of the death of one of its most distinguished alumnae, Jan Morris CBE FRSL, who has passed away at the age of 94. Jan attended Christ Church Cathedral School and was an undergraduate at Christ Church, before going on to become internationally celebrated as a leading journalist, historian and describer of places and people (she disliked the term 'travel writer') of enormous acuity and literary skill. She was also one of the first public figures in Britain to transition from her male birth gender to become female. She became an Honorary Student of Christ Church in 2002 and remained in touch with the House throughout her life. A portrait of her is on display in the Christ Church Common Room.

Morris congratulating Hillary. Photo by Royal Geographical Society.The last time Jan wrote for Christ Church Matters was on the 60th Anniversary of the Everest climb, see CCM 31, Trinity 2013, at: 

Two obituaries worth noting may be found at:
Jan Morris, travel writer hailed as the Flaubert of the Jet Age, 1926-2020 | Financial Times

Jan Morris obituary | Books | The Guardian

Below is a photograph of Sir David Scholey (1955) with Jan.
Two good friends, both 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers, and Honorary Students of Christ Church, Oxford. 26 September 2019.  

A photograph of Sir David Scholey (1955) with Jan. 

Picture of Hugh PymHugh Pym (1978)

We offer our congratulations to Hugh Pym (1978), who has been awarded British Journal Review’s Charles Wheeler Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcast Journalism.

Hugh Pym is the BBC’s Health editor, and has become a familiar face and voice of authority during the pandemic. Hugh’s ability to explain some of the complex causes of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as his commentary on scientific evidence and government responses has been one of the defining features of news coverage over the last six months.

Click here to follow Hugh on Twitter.


Picture of Laurence Cummings

Laurence Cummings (1987)

Congratulations are also due to Laurence Cummings, who has been appointed Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music from the 2021/22 season.

Laurence was an organ scholar at the House and he is renowned for his stylish and authoritative performances of early music. He is particularly well regarded for his interpretations of Handel, with the Guardian describing him as "one of the composer’s best advocates in the world."

Click here to watch the Academy of Ancient Music's video introducing Laurence.



Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard: Whose Health is it, Anyway?

Book Cover of Whose Health Is It Anyway?Comprehensive changes need to be made to the UK’s health system in order for the population to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to former Chief Medical Officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, and public health doctor and epidemiologist, Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard (2007).

In their new book, Whose Health Is It, Anyway?, published by Oxford University Press (OUP) on Thursday 19 November, Davies and Pearson-Stuttard present an impassioned, data-driven call for change; decisions around our health and healthcare system that have been put off for decades can no longer be delayed. With society likely to feel the effects of the pandemic for decades to come, the authors argue that the UK’s health system must be redesigned to produce a complete package that delivers health, quality of life, and sustainability into the future. Going forward, health must be recognized as a key driver of prosperity, happiness, and social mobility in the 21st century.

The book not only diagnoses a challenge and a problem, but suggests a number of cures in order to reposition health from a cost to a prized asset.

Click here to order 'Whose Health Is It, Anyway?'.


Dr Gabrielle Watson (2017): Respect and Criminal Justice

Picture of Gabrielle WatsonBook Cover of Respect and Criminal JusticeDuring my Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law at Christ Church (2017-19), I wrote my first book, Respect and Criminal Justice, which was published in 2020 by Oxford University Press. It is the newest addition to the Clarendon Studies in Criminology series: the successor to the Cambridge Studies in Criminology series, inaugurated by Sir Leon Radzinowicz—the ‘founding father’ of British criminology—and JWC Turner 80 years ago.

The book offers the first academic study of ‘respect’ in criminal justice in England and Wales, where the value is elusive but of persisting significance. Owing to some sustained—but ultimately unsuccessful—reform efforts in recent decades, criminal justice institutions regularly appeal to the word ‘respect’, proclaiming it as a core value in official discourse. Yet, on closer examination, their approach to the value is not clear-cut, and in policing and prisons alike, respect is a mere slogan. With a sense of modest realism, the book critiques this reality—and then envisages the advances that could be made—in inscribing genuinely respectful relations between state and subject.

Click here to order Respect and Criminal Justice.


Professor David Fairer: Chocolate House Treason

Book Cover of Chocolate House TreasonA murder mystery, set in Queen Anne’s new “Great Britain” at a time of crisis, it is a fine blend of history, mystery, literary puzzle, and classic novel. The search for justice takes the characters from the slums and whorehouses of London to the brilliance of the Court of St James’s.

At some 700 pages, with an Epilogue and 17 pages of explanatory notes (which are both interesting and necessary), the book is not for the fainthearted, but the combination of story line, almost obsessively detailed historical information, and elegant writing, carry any lover of history through almost effortlessly.
‘Chocolate House Treason’ by David Fairer is published by Troubador, paperback £9.99

Click here to order 'Chocolate House Treason'.


John Ghazvinian (1999): America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present

Picture of John GhazvinianIn recent times, the United States and Iran have seemed closer to war than peace, but that is not where their story began. When America was in its infancy, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams turned to the history of the Persian Empire as they looked for guidance on how to run their new country. And in the following century, Iranian newspapers heralded America as an ideal that their own government might someday emulate. How, then, did the two nations become the adversaries that they are today?

Book Cover of America and Iran: A History 1720 to the PresentThat was the central question that I wanted to answer in writing this book. For the better part of a decade, from 2007 to 2017, I engaged in what I believe was the most comprehensive attempt ever made to tell the story of Iran and America, in all its fullness and richness. Drawing on years of research conducted in both countries - including access to Iranian government archives rarely available to Western scholars - I sketch out what I call the four seasons of US-Iranian relations: (1) the spring of mutual fascination, where Iran, sick of duplicitous Britain and Russia interfering in its affairs, sought a relationship with the United States; (2) the summer of early relations, marked by a mixed bag of successes and failures; (3) an autumn of close strategic ties between the Shah's regime and the US during the Cold War; and (4) the long, dark winter of hatred that we are yet to see end.

John Ghazvinian is an Iranian-American journalist, author and historian, specializing in the history of US-Iran relations. He is the Executive Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Click here to order America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present.


Book Cover of Islam and DemocracyAmédée Turner: Islam and Democracy

Islam and Democracy: The Voices of Muslims amongst Us is the latest book by Amédée Turner (1948), Former Member of the European Parliament.

In the piece featuring this book in the last e-Matters, in an attempt to be succinct, we failed adequately to express the complexities of the arguments put forward. We apologise for that failure and print below, verbatim, the first two paragraphs of the preface by Zeina M. Barakat, which we trust gives a more accurate picture of the authors’ aims.

"Readers may wonder why Amédée Turner and David Tacchini have chosen to write on “Islam and Democracy”. The answer is because this topic is timely due to the ongoing events in the local and global sphere. The issue of whether Islam has anything in common with Western liberal thought still rings around the West. Many Muslim scholars have argued that Islam does share with Western civilization its democratic ideals but offering its peculiar democratic tradition. However, this has been a controversial topic because there are as many arguments raised by non-Muslims about the democratic nature of Islam as there are about the anti-democratic nature of religion in general.
However, the fundamental flaw in the approach to understanding the Islamic way of democracy remains linked to the pervasive ignorance of the religious doctrine. Here lies the significance of this book which sheds light on the subtle bondage between Islam and democracy."


Timothy Beardson (1970): Colourful and multilingual Hong Kong investment banker and author who entertained lavishly and always ate with chopsticks


Contemporaries will be saddened to hear of the death of Timothy Beardson. We print below, courtesy of Times newspapers, an obituary:

Picture of Timothy Beardson

Timothy Beardson could speak without notes for an hour about the Chinese, Russian or Indian economies.

When Timothy Beardson landed in Paris from the Far East, the immigration officer saw his passport was littered with Asian visa stamps and asked what it was like to live in the third world. Beardson replied: “I don’t know. I’ve only just arrived.”

For a man who could speak off the cuff for an hour about the Chinese, Russian or Indian economies, a clever riposte was small change. Whether he was in Hong Kong, the south of France or the Cotswolds, he delighted in eating a full English breakfast with chopsticks.

As one of the few people who, virtually singlehandedly, launched a sizeable Hong Kong securities house in the late 20th century, Beardson could seem like a throwback to an earlier entrepreneurial age. He went his own way, broke the rules and made a fortune.

Built like a rugby player, he threw off his languid Oxford accent to charm officials from Beijing to Bangkok in their own languages into letting him operate in their jealously guarded territories. At a Shanghai banquet he gave a speech to dignitaries in local dialect: only the waiters understood him. His firm, Crosby Securities, was the only foreign entity to be invited to help to set up the Shanghai stock exchange. Yet Beardson’s business strategy, to avoid risking his own capital and instead build a firm based on talented researchers, was always vulnerable to having some of his 650 staff poached by marauding financial goliaths from the US, Japan and elsewhere. The last remnants of his firm were bought in 1997 by France’s Société Générale.

After leaving the financial arena, he developed a second career as a commentator on international affairs, speaking frequently at the Davos World Economic Forum. In 2013 he wrote Stumbling Giant: the Threats to China’s Future, a 500-page book arguing that the country’s ageing population would prevent it overtaking the US as the world’s superpower in this century.

Timothy John Beardson was born in London in 1951, only child of Hilda and Reginald, a naval architect. Reginald spent the Second World War with the Special Operations Executive’s naval liaison group, camouflaging small craft in Greece, and the family moved from town to town for his father’s work along the south coast.

Consequently, Timothy went to several schools, including the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, and Peter Symonds, a Winchester sixth-form college. “I had slightly different teenage years from other people,” he said.

He was attracted to right-wing politics, setting up a Wessex affiliate of the Monday Club when he was 17. That took him to London, where he met the late Kensington MP Sir Brandon Rhys Williams, and was invited to the parties of Arianna Huffington, later to found the Huffington Post.

So Beardson was well connected when he won a county scholarship to Oxford and a Christ Church exhibition to read modern history. He partied hard, and his dashing demeanour was popular with women. He once rode back from London overnight on a milk float.

Politics still dominated. When his college invited the South African high commissioner to dinner, Beardson tipped a box of rubbish, including empty champagne bottles, over demonstrators outside the main gate.

Although no one was injured, he was prosecuted for damaging a car belonging to the master of the nearby Pembroke College, and stripped of his exhibition. Sympathetic donors gave him £33 (£550 in today’s money), which he spent on a holiday to Italy.

On graduating in 1973, Beardson decided that there was more potential in Asia than strike-ridden Britain and was hired by the Hong Kong branch of the fund manager Gartmore, moving on to a local conglomerate, Sun Hung Kai.

Aged 26 he bought a large slice of the world’s copper stocks near the bottom of the market, and tripled his money. That gave him the capital to start Crosby six years later.

Clair Davison was staying at a bed and breakfast in Onslow Gardens, South Kensington, when she was starting an internship at the Merrill Lynch securities firm. She went down to breakfast to find the only person with a Financial Times was Beardson. “Every morning he told me what to expect from that day’s news,” she said. They married in 2000 and had a son, Peregrine, who is still at school.

They entertained heads of Oxford colleges and religious and political leaders, including Margaret Thatcher, at Hailey House in Oxfordshire.

Up to 50 people turned up for weekends that extensively drew on the swimming pool, tennis court and the Beardsons’ lavish hospitality.

A non-cricketer, Beardson still liked to challenge the local village to cricket matches, inviting friends to play without asking too closely about their particular skills. For one match he had nine wicketkeepers, none of whom could bowl.

Timothy Beardson, investment banker, was born on July 28, 1951. He died after complications from an operation on October 12, 2020, aged 69.


Oxford History Review

Oxford History Review is a history magazine founded by a trio of Merton students in 2020. Its aim is to create more of a community among historians at Oxford and to provide a platform for them to share their views and opinions.

To celebrate 100 years of women having full university membership, they are producing a special article which will interview a range of women historians on their experiences. 

Should any alumna be interested in being interviewed and speaking about their experiences of being at the college, please contact Molly Archer-Zeff, editor-in-chief.

Click here to learn more about Oxford History Review.


Allan Chapman: 

CavesCoprolitesand Catastrophes: The Story of the Pioneering Fossil Geologist William Buckland

History has not been kind to the life and achievements of Canon William Buckland FRS. He appears in anthologies of eccentric Victorians, and especially of clerical oddities, as the man who ate mice, served up toasted squirrel to his guests in his Tom Quad house (now the Archdeaconry), did ‘silly walks’, and kept a menagerie of exotic beasts.  And yes, all this is true, for Buckland was a ‘character’, up there with the best of them.  But he was much, much more.

Book Cover of Caves, Coprolites and CatastrophesTrue, he was the very antithesis of the stiff Victorian, but in addition, he was one of the founders of modern field and fossil geology, who brought to life the ‘prehistoric’ world like no one before him.  A passionate and deeply devout Natural Theologian, he argued, against the Biblical literalists, that God had given us brains to be used, and that it was an insult to Him to refuse to do so. The Book of Genesis, while completely true in the ‘big picture’ of affirming God’s creative power, still had to be read in the light of progressing scientific knowledge, for we knew vastly more about the world than Moses did.  And being a charismatic University teacher, public lecturer, and writer, he influenced tens of thousands of people between 1810 and 1849.

Cartoon of Buckland entering Kirkdale CaveBuckland lived at a time of acute social distress, with failing harvests and rural poverty.  Indeed, his mouse and squirrel eating was part of his attempt to find cheap, nutritious foods for the poor, for whom normal meat was out of reach.  He, and his scientist wife Mary, were deeply concerned for the poor and strove to help them, including the community of poor Jews living near Christ Church.  Buckland was also aware of the connection between geology, chemistry, and agriculture, recognising the importance of phosphates to wheat growth, and hence, cheap bread.  He was a good friend of Sir Robert Peel, himself an old Houseman and the Prime Minister who repealed the ‘bread tax’ or Corn Laws.
William Buckland in DD GownIn 1845, Buckland became Dean of Westminster, and a passionate reformer of the Abbey, the School, and Westminster town.  In 1849 he delivered a powerful sermon from the Abbey pulpit in which he lambasted exploitative landlords and other abusers of the poor.  He was, furthermore, a major public health reformer, recognising the link between sewage-polluted drinking water and cholera.
This book will make you re-evaluate Canon Buckland.  For while he was indeed rollicking good fun, he was very much more, and Christ Church should be proud of him.

Click here to order Caves, Coprolites, and Catastrophes: The Story of the Pioneering Fossil Geologist William Buckland .


Special Interest Groups for Oxford Alumni

Picture of Tom QuadThere are currently 150 regional alumni groups in over 90 countries in the Oxford Alumni Group Network, so wherever you are in the world you are sure to find Oxonians near you. 

Click here to check out and join special interest groups, including the Oxbridge Muslim Association, Oxford Black Alumni Network, Oxford10 and Oxford Entrepreneurs Network.


Women 40th Online Celebrations

We would love to hear from all our alumnae about their experiences at the House, and aim to create a collage of photos, images and snippets, and an archive of written reminiscences, for everyone to enjoy at the September 2021 weekend. We cannot promise to return anything sent in so please only send copies to the Development Office at the address below, or digital copies to development.office@chch.ox.ac.uk

Women 40th pin badgeWe will be thanking those who contribute by sending out a special 40th Anniversary lapel badge in return.


40th Anniversary Silk Scarves

Mandy with Women 40th ScarfTo visit the shop please click here. 

Poem for the Fortnight

By Peter Wellby (1964)

Thirty-three years we have shared bed and board
as we were one, our feelings and our thoughts
enfolded, our limbs in one fond accord
entwined, content as coiled cats that court,
catching each other’s unspoke hopes in flight.
Thirty-three winters you glide unconfined
drawn by the billowing sheets’ soft sails of white,
navigate deeps of the uncharted mind
I cannot voyage to, through reefs and shoals,
on wave-wide wings you brave salt solitudes.
Our hearts, so long so close, seek their own goals
alone, endure perplexed inquietudes.
And knowing you as well as sister brother
is knowing you as well, utterly other.

All members of the House are welcome to submit poetry. If you would like your poetry considered for feedback from the judges of our poetry competition, then please send your poems to development.office@chch.ox.ac.ukA poem will be selected every fortnight from St Frideswide's Well and the poet will receive feedback via email. Poems will also be featured on our website.

Alumni Photography

We encourage all alumni and friends to submit photographs to us inspired by the poems featured on our Alumni Poetry Page. Poems and photographs will be collected together in the coming months and will eventually form an online exhibition celebrating alumni creative work. 

To submit your photograph please: 

Oxford Charity Jacari Celebrates 65 Years of Tackling Inequality

Picture of Tutor and Student in JacariSince the 1950s, thousands of University of Oxford students have been actively involved with the student charity Jacari, campaigning for equal opportunities and empowering children to speak English with confidence. As Jacari approaches it’s 65th anniversary, they are hoping to reconnect with their alumni.
Jacari was set up in 1956 as a student society to tackle inequality and racial discrimination. During the 1950s and 60s Jacari organised many high profile speaker events and campaigns highlighting the racial injustices of the time. They also fundraised for scholarships for students from Southern Africa. Jacari’s teaching programme was born in 1965 and since then thousands of Oxford students have volunteered their time to tutor children who have English as an additional language.
Jacari is now an award-winning charity providing free one-to-one tuition to refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children in Oxford. Striving for equal opportunities continues to be at the heart of our work as we help refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children in Oxford to achieve their full potential.
If you were involved in Jacari please get in touch with their Alumni Engagement Officer, Natasha Wooldridge: alumni@jacari.org / 07843 801167
Find out more about Jacari’s work: www.jacari.org

Promotional Banner of Jacari