Keble College, Oxford

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Keble College

Keble College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its main buildings are on Parks Road, opposite the University Museum and the University Parks. The college is bordered to the north by Keble Road, to the south by Museum Road, and to the west by Blackhall Road.

Keble was established in 1870, having been built as a monument to John Keble. John Keble had been a leading member of the Oxford Movement, which sought to stress the Catholic nature of the Church of England. Consequently, the College traditionally placed a considerable emphasis on theological teaching, although this has long since ceased to be the case. In the period after the second World War the trends were towards scientific courses (the major area devoted to science east of the University Museum influenced this) and eventually co-education for men and women from 1979 onwards. As originally constituted it was for men only and the fellows were mostly bachelors resident in the college.

It remains distinctive for its once-controversial[1] neo-gothic red-brick buildings designed by William Butterfield. The buildings are also notable for breaking from Oxford tradition by arranging rooms along corridors rather than around staircases.

Keble is one of the larger colleges, with 435 undergraduates and 245 graduate students.



The best-known of Keble's Victorian founders was Edward Pusey, after whom parts of the College are named. The College itself is named after John Keble, one of Pusey's colleagues in the Oxford Movement, who died four years before its foundation in 1870. It was decided immediately after Keble's funeral that his memorial would be a new Oxford college bearing his name. Two years later, in 1868, the foundation stone was laid by the Archbishop of Canterbury on St Mark's Day (April 25, John Keble's birthday). The college first opened in 1870, taking in thirty students, whilst the Chapel was opened on St Mark's Day 1876. Accordingly, the College continues to celebrate St Mark's Day each year.

William Butterfield, the original architect, a High Churchman himself, produced a vigorous masterpiece of Victorian Gothic, among his few secular buildings, which Sir Nikolaus Pevsner characterized as "manly",[2] and which, Charles Eastlake asserted, defied criticism,[3] but which only slowly gained adherents during the later 20th century. The College is built of red, blue, and white bricks; the main structure is of red brick, with white and blue patterned banding. Sir Kenneth Clark recalled that during his Oxford years it was then generally believed in Oxford not only that Keble College was "the ugliest building in the world" but that the buildings had their polychromatic origins in Ruskinian Gothic.[4]

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