20 DECEMBER 1930, Page 15


often wonder whether the freshman who comes up to Oxford in an October when the skies are clear and the leaves still full upon the trees realizes the loveliness of the city in which he is to make or mar his future. Certainly, Oxford this autumn has looked more beautiful than it has for many years, chiefly because of the sudden outburst of late summer which prolonged the autumn into a blaze of colour. And the freshman of to-day sees a much more beautiful city than did the freshman of twenty or thirty years ago. Despite increased traffic, rumbling motor= buses, industrial developments and enormous• suburbs, small things are being done every week to Oxford to improve it and the cumulative effect of several years of careful supervision are now beginning to affect the appearance of the city as a whole. The University and the City Council have made improvements separately which in result combine into a most satisfactory whole. The Meadows entrance to Christchurch, as stately an entrance as was ever planned, can be balanced by the clearance of the slum-island at the foot of Headington Hill and the conse- quent construction of a really attractive entry to the city. There still remains the approach from the railway stations, carelessly planned, hideously adorned and created by a genera- tion that almost ruined our city. But, even so, its horrors are being slowly confined. George Street is now widened at its bottle-neck and new offices and shops of impeccable design flank its hitherto nondescript sides. High Street has been improved by the refurbishment by sound architects of at least three delightful Georgian shopfronts, two of which are painted in colours other than the sodden brown and buff usual in Oxford lodging-houses.

Turl Street has been embellished by the new house of the Rector of Lincoln, which has turned out to be a very fine piece of neo-Anne work. The new buildings at Magdalen have risen from their foundations into an impressive pile. It is rumoured that every undergraduate will have the equivalent of a London service flat : possibly this is an exaggeration. But undoubtedly the cry for comfort and more comfort is continuous.

The future of the Bodleian is at present sub judice. We await the shower of good resolutions, or disguised bombshells, which our commissioners have been furtively manufacturing these many months past. In any case there will be hats in the air and wigs on the grass. The mountain will either come to the prophet in Broad Street, or else the prophet will go to a remoter mountain.

Mr. Pierpoint Morgan has modestly honoured us and we him. Sir W. Morris has made to the University a most generous gift and so indicated his approval of those of our activities that concern him. His importance is by no means confined to the commodities he produces, for his vision is large and his judgment extremely shrewd. His advice in many matters would be of inestimable advantage to a University in which business affairs are apt to be dealt with by Committees rather than by individuals.

It is curious how the parrot-cry of " decadent Oxford " is now but little heard. Certainly our team in the Rugby football match showed no traces of it. The game was an almost perfect example of orthodox playing. No single spark of genius illumined it, and yet it was exciting from start to finish. The movements of the three-quarters were about as thrilling as those of the Prussian Guard, and as monotonous, yet somehow the hope of a brilliant move was always latent in the exercises of the players. Cambridge could only have won if the play had lasted another quarter of an hour. They never found their feet until the end. Oxford was as sound in defence as a team can well hope to be, and her full back played a superb game.—I am, Sir, &c.,