Prose

Goodnight, Sleep Well

by M. Davies (College Porter) [CW: corporal punishment] Before prayers at Friday’s house assembly, my name had been called; I was being summoned to be ‘on the carpet’. So, after the assembly, we would change for bed, but I would be having to answer for my misconduct before the House Master. The announcement was often […]

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Prose

Aptitude Test for Dyslexics

by M. Davies (College Porter) Sadly, it was never dyslexics who wrote the rules in education, but thankfully it is for Porters to interpret and enforce them in Oxford’s colleges. My school’s ‘Career Aptitude Test’ sticks out in my memory (information gathered on a complex form type questionnaire). The top three recommended professions that came […]

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Comment, Prose

Chicken in a Nightmare

by M. Davies (College Porter) [CW: homophobia] Fred Bickerton started at University College as an Under Scout (more specifically as ‘under bedmaker’) in 1897 and retired as Head Porter in 1950. I thought the following may be of interest from his published memoirs. When Fred first started in the Porters’ Lodge as an ‘under-porter’, he […]

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Culture, Prose, Reviews

Returning to Battles Past

by M. Davies (College Porter) Postponed due to the pandemic from the 7th to the 31st of October, a new play, Into Battle, is to make its first stage appearance at the Greenwich Theatre, London. Written by Hugh Salmon, Into Battle tells the true story of a student feud that took place within Balliol College, […]

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College, Prose

Cometh the Moment

by M. Davies (College Porter) The 7th of March 1949 is when it happened. See the photos and the man of the moment: Mr. Percy G. Sheppard – Oriel’s Head Porter from 1927 until he retired due to ill health in 1956.  If the room in the photos doesn’t look familiar to you, sadly at […]

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Artwork, College, Prose

Double Standards, Doubled

by M. Davies (College Porter) Oriel clearly had a part in this story, as did my grandfather: Reverend Reginald Trevor Davies, now best known for being a college Don with various published historical works and twice voted into the role of University Senior Proctor. He was called Rex by his friends and family. Mary Davies […]

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College, Prose

Our Name

by M. Davies (‘Oriel’ Lodge Porter) If you look at how we got our name, nowhere does it mention the Porters. We all lose from that if the Porters play an important part in the story. After all, non-academic staff are all part of this institution too. Official college literature says our name “Oriel” (now […]

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College

Nigel Robson “ALF” (ORIEL LODGE)

by M. Davies (College Porter) His chalked up notices had a talent for student humor often featuring celestial subjects such as Uranus’s rings. The Provost (Sir Derek) never deviated from calling him Nigel though nearly everybody else called him Alf, and it was only after working with him a couple of years that I got […]

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