Anonymous #1
#1
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As Oxbridge existed since many centuries ago, are most of the buildings old fashioned?
Do they have modern interior?
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artful_lounger
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Varies considerably between each university, among the colleges, and the departments. For Cambridge generally the oldest buildings are among the central colleges. Among the colleges, even the old buildings in the central colleges have electricity, running water, central heating, wifi etc.

Most of the departments aren't older then Victorian era at most (mainly a few on Downing Site), and all have been refitted with modern amenities. In fact the majority of departments are modem buildings put up in the last 20 years or so - most of the buildings on the West Sites have only come up in the last few years! The university is in a constant state of having new buildings erected and old ones demolished. There is a sense that the university puts up a new building having already planned when they will be demolishing it and replacing it 10 years hence...

I don't know about Oxford - Oxford Mum or nexttime may be able to comment on that side of things more. For Cambridge though the buildings that "feel" the oldest inside are mainly the holdovers that went up in like the 80s or 90s and haven't been upgraded since (like the one I work in...). The ones that look old in terms of architectural style usually have the best modern amenities inside and the old architecture and interior design is just preserved for the aesthetic facade, as typically they're major listed buildings which the university makes sure are very well maintained and fit for purpose (e.g. the Old Schools and Senate House).
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Peterhouse Admissions
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Some of the rooms do look old on the inside too. For example, the Peterhouse Admissions Office has a (blocked up) stone fireplace, wood paneling and wooden shutters. But the furniture is modern - including a large grey filing cabinet, computers and modern desks. Some rooms have older furnishings, such as the dining hall. But as has been said above, it varies between Colleges and between buildings and often what those buildings are used for.
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nexttime
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Our dining hall door was an original feature from 1264, but the fact that that is remarkable tells you that literally nothing else is.

My third year room was fairly cold as the old stonework and windows were hard to insulate in any way, had to use the heating a lot. That was about the only downside. Lots of tourists would fly thousands of miles to see where I lived. Twas weird.
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Oxford Mum
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All my elder son (Exeter College) wanted was a historic room, and he never got it! The first year was spent in a modern 1960s building above the Blackwell poster shop on the Broad. The furniture was typical student house furniture (neither posh nor brand new). It had a shower room, though and it had the distinction of a separate lounge with a full length sofa (which made him very popular with younger son, and other visitors). Another colourful added extra were the drunks issuing forth from the pubs on Broad Street late at night. The second year was spent in a house in Cowley, and the final year in the brand spanking new Cohen quad, with its original art college facade but brand new interior. It was funky and trendy, with a large, purpose built kitchen and Spanish tiled ensuites but smaller rooms than the older buildings.

For the younger son (Oriel) it was a completely different kettle of fish. His first year was spent in the Rhodes quad, looking out onto the High. The room was massive, with an original feature kept in - the 1911 fireplace, and very beautiful it was too. The mullioned windows too, made it feel very "Oxford". It even had a little ensuite bathroom. However here the similarities stopped. It was filled with an awful hotchpotch of styles and the furniture was very basic and looked a little shrunken amidst the massive room. I had fantasies about winning the lottery and re-furnishing the room in olde worlde style.

With the second year room, he hit the style jackpot. He went to a set on the top floor, right near the turret of the ancient first quad. The drawback was the steep climb of what seemed like many flights of stairs, and to get to the shared shower room you have to go all the way down to the bottom of the staircase. However the room itself - what a reward! It was straight out of Chariots of Fire. There are the mullioned windows, with great views both of the street and first quad (you could look out from his desk to boat burning and post graduation gatherings), tiny bedroom with 1920s wardrobe and original whitewashed walls and black oak beams, wood pannelled lounge with olde worlde feel and three settees. The settees were from the 80s and bright pink, so the two male occupants had to buy throws to camoflague their Barbie-ness.

So overall, you may like the old colleges' rooms themselves, but don't expect posh antique furniture. The interiors aren't as impressive as the exteriors, and I often think that visitors see the most picturesque bits of the colleges.
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