Walton Street: Ruskin College

Ruskin College

Named after the social reformer and artist John Ruskin, Ruskin Hall (as it was first known) started life in 1899 at 14 St Giles, but moved in 1903 moved to an earlier building that stood on this corner of Walton Street and Worcester Place.

In 1912 Ruskin replace its original building with the one shown above, which is Grade II listed. (List entry 1412747 gives a full description of this building.)

The governing body of 1912 stated:

The new buildings present a handsome frontage to Walton Street. They are Georgian in design, and are a worthy addition to the many beautiful buildings.

The mock-Georgian façade stops at first-floor level, where stone turns to red brick.

The name of this college (unlike those of the University of Oxford) is inscribed over the main entrance, in the style of nineteenth-century mechanics’ institutes. There is also an inscribed foundation stone under each of the four central ground-floor windows (details here).

Ruskin College garden

The photograph on the postcard below dates from about 1910, and presumably shows part of the original college on the Walton Street site. A note on the back reads: ‘The daily “wash-up” at Ruskin College, Oxford’.

Washing up at Ruskin College

The photograph on the postcard below shows the 1908 Ruskin football team outside the old building:

Ruskin football 1908

Ruskin College sold its Walton Street premises to Exeter College for £7m on 17 March 2010 and the site is now their Cohen Quad. Exeter undertook extensive rebuilding work, but retained the façade of Ruskin's 1912 building (details in their heritage impact statement), including ,

In October 2012 Ruskin College moved entirely to Headington and reopened at its hugely redeveloped site at The Rookery (which it had bought in 1946 and renamed Ruskin Hall) and at Stoke House (which it had bought in 1965). In 2021 Ruskin College sold Stoke House to Linacre College, Oxford and became part of the University of West London.

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