More AIFS Outings: Stonehenge & Salisbury, Imperial War Museum, Oxford

AIFS arranged many outings for the Consortium students, some voluntary, some as part of the British Life & Culture class (i.e., less voluntary).  Here are on three of these outings, taken at different times during our stay.


Our visit to this ancient rock formation included the worst weather we have encountered on our visit to England. Very cold, driving rain. My unbrella, carefully held so as to not go inside-out, snapped off in my hand! I was surprised to see that this picture came out at all.

The "Henge"

The 'henge' around a stone circle is usually a bank of earth with a ditch behind it. This is reversed at Stonehenge, for unknown reasons. Rather than being created all at once, Stonehenge was started around 3000 BC, and probably not completed (as we know it today) until 1500 BC.

Salisbury Cathedral

By the time we got to Salisbury, things has calmed down a bit, but we were still wet. Salisbury Cathedral sports the tallest spire in England, 404 feet. It was built over a very short period of time (1220-1260), giving a more consistant look than most.

View of the Spire

The Cathdral was moved here from another nearby site, "Old Sarum," due to the lack of water at the origninal site. This meant that the people had moved as well. The spire is said to weigh 6000 tons.

Entrance to Salisburg Cathedral

None of the statues are original. Many of the niches were left empty, and the original statues that were there were replaced in the 19th century.

The Mount at Salisbury Cathedral

After being soaked to the bone at Stonehenge, I think the students were feeling a bit playful. Here Jackie, Jennifer, Lauren, and Mike mug for the camera. After a couple of months, they might be tired of posing for me, as well...

Interior, Salisburg Cathedral

Unlike other cathedrals we've visited, there is an unobstructed view from one end of Salisbury to the other, with no screens or partitions. The gothic arches make the view quite striking.

Oldest Working Clock

In the Cathedral is what is believed to be the world's oldest working clock. It doesn't even have a face; it simply tolls the hours.

The Cloisters

The walkways outside the Cathedral are much as they have been for centuries. These would have been filled with activity when the priests and monks were still in residence.

The Imperial War Museum

The War Museum was part of the British Life & Culture class, and we had guides to show us around.

Imperial War Musuem

These guns are just in front of the entrance.

The Sopwith Camel

After entering the building, you are confronted with the implements of war, both British and foreign. The high ceiling has a dozen or more aircraft, and there are also examples of the enemies' weapons: buzz bombs and V2 rockets.

Montgomery's Tank

The tank that the British comander from WWII used on the battlefield. There are many tanks, including German and American models. There are also 'one-man' subs, and even a copy of 'Little Boy,' the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

The Captured Enigma Machine

This is the German code machine so famously undone by the British code-breakers. The basement of the Museum includes displays covering all of England modern involvement in war, and also a "bomb shelter experience" to try and convey what it was like in London during the Blitz of WWII.

Brasenose College, Oxford

Our trip to Oxford included an inside look at one of the colleges. This is the exterior. Each college is separate, but degrees are awarded by the University. There are 36 colleges in Oxford University.

Courtyard, Brasenose

The colleges tend to be laid out the same way, although they certainly differ in size (Basenose has only about 179 students) and apparent wealth. This relatively modest court would hold the first year living quarters as well as the faculty offices and some classrooms.

Dining Hall, Brasenose

Off another nearby courtyard is the dining hall. A certain number of meals per term are required to be taken here. There are pictures of famous graduates of the college on the walls, here including Robert Runcie (former Archbishop of Cantebury), and author William Golding.

The Mount at Oxford

Again posing a bit, Jackie, Lauren and Jennifer look back at Brasenose, just in front of the Radcliff Camera. It was a beautiful sunny day.

The Radcliff Camera

This was originally an overflow library with an underground connection to the main library. It might take several days for a requested book to make its way from here to your hands. That's Britt at the bottom of the picture.

St. Mary's Church

Built in the 1280's, with the spire added in the 1330's, this was the first building built for the University (not for a specific college, which have their own chapels), and convocations and exams were held here for centuries. You can climb the tower for a veiw of Oxford...

Brasenose from St. Mary's Church Tower

This is a view from above of the Brasenose courtyard, with the second courtyard at the bottom left (the dining hall is just off-camera to the bottom left).

A View from St. Mary's Church Tower

I'm not sure, but I think this is All Souls College. The colleges are all laid out pretty much the same way, but clearly, All Souls could afford to be a little more grand than Brasenose.

The Saxon Tower, St. Michael at the North Gate

This is the oldest structure still standing in Oxford. You can climb this tower as well, and although not as high as the tower at St. Mary's, it has a wonderful view, and real feel of being ancient.

St. Michael at the North Gate

The pulpit on the right is still the one from which John Wesley (Methodist patriarch) once gave a sermon while he was teaching at Oxford (for his own college, Lincoln). Just off camera to the right is a baptismal font in front of which William Shakespere once stood as a god-father.

Surely, some day there will be more pictures available by clicking here!