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Turl Street

On a visit to Oxford, I wandered into this street and was fascinated by the composition of the bicycle, sign and window against the vibrancy of the red post box.

This little street is home to not one but three of Oxford's famous Univerity Colleges. Exeter College was founded in 1314, Lincoln College in 1427, and Jesus College in 1571. Originally The Turl was called St Mildred's Street. The name it has today was based on the twirling gate in the city wall at the end against Ship Street. By 1722 the gate was removed, however, the name 'The Turl' had stuck. Combining Lincoln College Lane at St Mildred's Turl Street is now the official designation.

Little scenes such as these pose questions in my mind and I try to imagine the story behind the various pieces of the visual jigsaw. Why was the bicycle leaning against the wall of the college? My mind starts to whirl...

Perhaps it belongs to Elizabeth, a student of literature, who has a passion for the works of JRR Tolkien, who also studied in this very street. Her final paper needed to be handed in that very morning. Leaving her cycle against the street she rushed into Exeter College to deliver the package that she had laboured over for so long.

Maybe it was Stuart, studying for his doctorate in Fine Art. Following in the footsteps of William Morris, the Victorian textile designer, who also studied in this building, Stuart cycles in early every morning. He finds he does his best work first thing and then settles into the Turn Kitchen for his breakfast.

Of course, it could be that I have an overactive imagination!

Once the sounds of laughter, shouting and horse play could be heard from a young Richard Burton, Roger Bannister, John Wesley, Alan Bennett, John Radcliffe, Philip Pullman, Harold Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia, John le Carré, Dr Seuss, Howard Florey who all studied in this street. The stones in these buildings could tell a tale or two I am sure!

Norman Heatley, one of the developers of penicillin, lived and studied in this street too. No doubt he would have been up and down The Turl almost every day. Passing the smells of leather from Ducker & Son, the shoemaker, no doubt he would have purchased his gowns from Walters and enjoyed the sights and sounds when browsing the little shops that make up this historic thoroughfare.

There is a story behind every place we find ourselves. Photography is my way of stirring my imagination, and perhaps yours as well.

Where will you be today? When you look about you, what is the story beneath the surface?

Find This Location

You can find the location in this image by clicking the location link below. This will open up a Google Map of the localised area.

Location: Turn Street, Oxford.

Keywords: England (12), Oxford.

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