Saturday, 13 July 2013

Oxford and Cambridge - things which are the same, things which are different

Things which are the same

  • Both are ancient university cities (although Oxford is more ancient);
  • If you want something done in Oxford, say it happens in Cambridge (and vice versa);
  • Students wear gowns for 'formal hall' in both cities;
  • You are likely to see stupid American (or Japanese) tourists walking through the city asking where the University is, when it is all around them;
  • The railway station is in an inconvenient place in both cities, as a Victorian attempt from University management to discourage students from using it to travel anywhere during term time;
  • You 'come up' and 'go down' to both universities regardless of the direction of travel;
  • If you are a bad boy or girl, you are 'sent down' or 'rusticated';
  • Rowing is more important that football or cricket;
  • A Bachelor of Arts is awarded in first degrees regardless of the subject. These become Master of Arts degrees provided graduates stay out of prison;
  • A Master of Science is awarded in second degrees regardless of the subject;
  • A Ph.D is a D.Phil;
  • There are three terms of eight weeks, even less than teachers work.
Things which are different
  • At Oxford, the city consists of the University plus heavy industry. In Cambridge, the city consists of the University, with high-tech industry being a modern development;
  • In Oxford, people put the pole in from the round end of the punt. In Cambridge, people put the pole in from the square end of the punt;
  • In Oxford the main river is called the Is is (sorry Isis) rather than the Thames, as it is called elsewhere. In Cambridge, it's called the Cam as elsewhere in Fenland;
  • In Cambridge, the Cam is part of a number of colleges. In Oxford, the Isis lurks beyond the colleges;
  • In Oxford, the second river is called the Charwell rather than the Cherwell as it is in the rest of Oxfordshire. How silly (says he with a similar name). Cambridge has no second river;
  • In Oxford a quadrangle is called a quad. For some reason in Cambridge it is called a court;
  • In Oxford a cleaner is called a scout (or scite, if the student went to a public school). Cambridge, more logically, calls such a person a bedder;
  • In Oxford, achieving a first in your first year exams can only bring about a scholarship (which earns the student £60, the same as it was in John Wesley's day). In Cambridge the same applies, but a first in first year and final exams can be referred to as a 'double first';
  • In Oxford the terms are Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity. In Cambridge they are Michaelmas, Lent and Easter;
  • Oxford has a pub no-one can find called the Turf Tavern. Cambridge doesn't
Not that I am biased.