After an invigorating morning learning what it takes to run a successful startup, and how to find one’s personal leadership style, students headed into the city centre in search of new experiences. And there were many of them to find―students tried their hands at the punt pole, tempted by the Cherwell’s gleaming waters and eager to make the most of the beautiful summer’s day. Counsellors were on hand to spritz students with sunscreen, and to navigate the boats around the river’s trickier corners, or the odd family of ducks.
Whilst their friends and fellows sailed the waterways, other students took to the city on foot. They enjoyed a tour of the grand and distinguished Magdalen College, famed university-wide for its deer park and waterside walks. Working their way up from Magdalen to Beaumont Street, students popped into the Ashmolean Museum, the world’s first university museum, where they marvelled at the enormous collection of antiquities and works by the likes of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci.
To round off the tour, students scaled the walls of the Oxford Castle, and listened wide-eyed to the guide’s tales about the Castle’s dramatic and infamous history. Particularly fascinating for the gruesome Game of Thrones factor was the use of the castle yard for hangings in the 18th century. One of the most famous executions during this period was that of Mary Blandy, who was convicted of murdering her father when he stood opposed to her marrying the man she loved (who had a wife and child of his own already, up in Scotland). The case divided public opinion at the time, and inspired the imagination of some in the months afterwards, as pamphlets appeared claiming to hold the “genuine letters” of the condemned, framing her as a lovesick girl rather than a parricidal demon.
With minds thoroughly transported into the world of early modern Europe, students returned to St Hugh’s ready to throw themselves into the field of honour in a stage combat workshop. Students practised the tricks of the pas d’armes, and counsellor Artem proved himself particularly handy with the sword!