In the first event of the New Year Carl Boardman, County Archivist, presents the oral histories taken from a colourful collection of prisoners and gaolers to determine just how grim 'Life on the Inside' truly was. It transpires the castle was at one time used to lock up clerics or early students in Henry III's reign, 1216. The engaging 'Q&A' from each session often flows seamlessly into the subject matter for the next month's talk. February's forthcoming event is now booking! Trevor Rowley, Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College, will on Wednesday 21st at 10am present 'Oxford Before the University'. Oxford's early history from Roman times to the emergence of the University will no doubt provide many interesting insights as to how the views now enjoyed from the top of Saxon Tower may have changed through time.
The events serve to connect the intrigued patron with the location. Local history author Mark Davies will take a group out along the waterside to show first hand the influence of prison governor Daniel Harris on a forthcoming 'Castle and River Walk' (12th May, 10am). Typically the lecturers are experts in their field. Peter Forsaith of The Wesley Centre will speak about 'The Wesleys in Oxford' (22nd March, 2.30pm) and Simon Chaplin, Senior Curator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons addresses 'The dissection of criminals in the 18th Century' (17th April, 6pm). Unlike the mysterious yet now extinct gaol fever that was epidemic in 16th Century prisons, 'Unlocked' events fire an enthusiasm for local history that is catching. Grab your spiral bound notebook and spread the word!