Broad Street, Oxford

A trip into Oxford today and I saw something I had never noticed before. The light was lovely and I wasn’t inclined to shop, so wandered down The Broad with my camera.

What’s that on top of the building as a weather vane?

It appears it is an elephant

A little light googling this evening has lead me to this which shows the building used to be The Old Indian Institute.
Fascinating what you see when there’s a camera in your hand!

When my hands were cold I ended up inside the Museum of the History of Science to have a look at the exhibition on Time Machines, which was fascinating with all sorts of antique time tellers, including astrolabes, as used by Lara in His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I wondered around, warming up and enjoying the intricacies of the workmanship. Unfortunately I just missed one of the guided tours.

There were some wonderful cabinets, including the one showing the development of penicillin, and an interesting display of various medical things, including this. The note explains what it is, but leaves so many more questions unanswered.

In the foyer of the museum there was a case with a collection of  netsuke, which also demonstrate the intricate workmanship required to fashion these detailed miniatures.

This little group of three netsuke were all eating.

And back out on the Broad I saw the Anthony Gormley statue staring down from the roof of Exeter College. It always makes me want to shout out, “Don’t jump!”

I met up with Techie and on the way back to the car I’m sure I saw Philip Pullman, but he wasn’t wearing a red scarf.

Author: Sarah

No time to lose. No, time to lose. Make time to stand and stare.... Did you see that?

15 thoughts on “Broad Street, Oxford”

  1. Interesting pictures, nearly all those old patent medicines contained heavy metals or heavy metal salts, nearly all of which are toxic to lesser or greater degrees. Amazing that they did not kill more than they did!
    Equally amazing is that some of them were still around after WWII, I can remember some in pharmacies when I was a child.
    Even worse were the over the counter abortifacients based on pennyroyal and poisons! They were around until the 60s. I knew someone at Exeter Uni that nearly killed themselves!

  2. Hi Pseu.

    Superb photos.

    Only the one Gormley in Oxford then? We’ve got six stretched along the Water of Leith from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to the Firth of Forth. Here’s the one in said Firth.

    Seagulls can be so cruel, in my opinion.

    In seriousness, I like the Gormleys. More and better, it would be a very good excuse for a health-giving walk to snap all six on one and the same day and post the result hereon. Thanks for giving me the idea and please watch this space.

  3. Thanks for the photos. I wish I could get to the Time Machine exhibition – looks fascinating.

  4. Yes, just the one in Oxford, John! However in Crosby there are plenty… (not far from Mother-in-Law)

    if you google
    ‘gormley liverpool crosby photos’ there are some amazing images.

  5. You are a bit young to remember the times before legal NHS abortions. It was pretty grim, what with back street abortionists wrecking people with knitting needles and the like, people throwing themselves downstairs and poisonous pills all a bit of a horror story.
    Of course, if you could afford Harley Street there wasn’t a problem! London was full of American girls getting sorted on their parents money, and it took serious money! It was a much more serious offence in the USA to procure an abortion than it ever was in the UK.
    I remember the 60s as being a time of a great deal of shotgun weddings too.
    I’m racking my brains to remember when abortions were legalised in the UK but am failing dismally, probably because I was back and forth to the USA at the time and missed it!
    Pennyroyal is still used in Wales, believe it or not, it works but only in the first few weeks.

  6. When my younger son was small he suffered from chest infections (until he had his tonsils removed) and his coughing at night could wake the dead. A local chemist made up his own cough mixture which I am convinced contained laudanum or some such. The effect was wonderful.

  7. UK Abortion Act – 1967. Introduction of the contraceptive pill in the UK – 1961 for married women only, and for some years it was only prescribed for married women who had already had a child.

    Christina’s right, it was pretty grim and many women died.

    Home cures were the order of the day before the NHS. My mother, being brought up before the advent of the NHS had a ready stock of remedies like bread poultices, etc which one had to suffer before ‘bothering’ the doctor!

  8. I did see that brilliant film which portrayed back street abortion, by Mike Lee, I think… let me rack my brains for a name…..’Vera Drake’

  9. Was it Rita Tushingham and Dora Bryan (sp.?) too in ‘A Taste of Honey’? Another early depiction of abortion.

  10. Was it really 67?
    Certainly legal abortion was not available to single young ladies then, know of too many illegal at Uni.
    Grim times and there are a lot of religious maniacs that would like to put it back that way even now.
    Why people do not mind their own business God alone knows.
    Better to be aborted than be abused, neglected or put in care.

  11. the film gave a clever depiction which illustrated the difficulties. Imelda Staunton was excellent and Mike Leigh’s direction was brilliant…
    His method I believe was to give each character a part, and get them to ‘learn’ their character- but not tell them the whole story, so the acting was marvellously realist.

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