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Names chosen for St Peter’s new student accommodation buildings and new quad

31 July 2022

Castle Hill House site and Barron House (the Law Centre)
an architect's rendering of three large buildings as seen from the street

St Peter’s College acquired the Castle Hill House property on New Road in 2018 and soon after announced plans to build two new accommodation buildings, a new courtyard, a new common room and a new entrance to College. Alumni, friends and supporters responded with enormous generosity to this project, with a remarkable 1 in 10 alumni giving to the campaign in response to a matched fund challenge.

The construction work on the new development is now well advanced. The new development will open in summer 2023 with new students occupying the two new accommodation buildings in time for the start of the new academic year.

In line with previous announcements, one of our two new student accommodation buildings will be named Damazer House, after our previous Master, Mark Damazer CBE.

At the generous invitation of the donor, the name for the other student accommodation building has now been chosen through a whole-College community process. This process has included all sections of the current College community - undergraduate, postgraduates, scouts, porters, academics, professors, administrators, the kitchen staff, the maintenance team. Names were solicited from all parts of the community and all were invited to reflect, research, discuss, advocate and, finally, vote in ways that both took account of the history of the College and could be a creative contribution to its future also. It has been a stimulating process for the whole community to be involved together in an inclusive creative project of this sort.

Westfield College students at St Peter's in 1942
Westfield College students at St Peter's in 1942

The overall winning name chosen by the community for the new student accommodation building was Westfield House. The name Westfield remembers the women of Westfield College who took up residence in St Peter’s throughout the Second World War, as evacuees from their London home. Between 1939 and 1945, they made the St Peter’s estate their own. Westfield College, founded in 1882, had been a pioneering women’s college that had faced opposition to offering a university education to women at all. In marking a significant moment in St Peter’s own history (and one long before St Peter’s admitted women as matriculated students), the Westfield name celebrates both the case for higher education for all and the imperative to offer hospitality to those in need in times of war. Both of these things remain important to us now.

A map illustrating the site of the burh of Oxford in the tenth and eleventh centuries

The name to be given to the new quad on which both Damazer House and Westfield House will sit is Castle Bailey Quad. This too emerged from our community naming processes.

Castle Bailey Quad references two important historic features of St Peter’s College: (1) the formal name of the College (The College of St Peter-le-Bailey - derived from the parish church of St Peter-le-Bailey that became the College Chapel); and (2) the new development’s positioning on a site on the far side of Bulwarks Lane, that used to form part of the bailey of the old Oxford Castle. The name Castle Bailey Quad will remind us of the roots of St Peter’s College while registering the specific civic history of the ground on which the new building stands.

The College looks forward to welcoming alumni and supporters back to enjoy the new development with us once it is opened. Stand by for further announcements.

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