At the same time as the second chapter of my thesis is firming up, my initiative to visit and photograph all 39 colleges is proceeding apace. Today, I visited Somerville College (where Margaret Thatcher read chemistry, a factor that may have contributed to her eventual strong support for CFC regulation, despite her ideological leanings) as well as Kellogg, St. Peter’s, and Lincoln. Only Linacre, Mansfield, Oriel, Pembroke, St Cross, St Hilda’s, and Templeton College have been spared from my lenses as of now. That said, not all the photos I have taken in recent days have had the chance to be posted yet. When one is mired in academic work, it is good to have a reserve. Likewise, it is good to have a pattern of exploration, using a quad or coffee shop here or there to read a chapter or two, before moving on to the next target.
A tip for fellow explorers: make sure you speak to the porters, before wandering in. Particularly in the less well known colleges, they will be happy to let you in if you tell them that you are a student at a different college and have been wanting to have a look at some of those you haven’t seen previously. Among all the colleges I have visited so far, the porters at Kellogg and Lincoln have been the most helpful. The only colleges that have refused me admission (or demanded money) are Christ Church and Magdalen. While I understand that they risk being besieged by tourists, it is hardly appropriate to bar the foreign graduate students who are subsidizing their fine stonework and scores of undergraduates.
In any case, I expect that the collection will be complete by the time this site gets its 50,000th visit. That should be within the next two weeks, at which time I will be spending my days fretting about drafting chapter three.