'Leave it too late in the season and the trees obliterate the college, so although the light could be better, there were no parked cars and it was an opportunistic shot.' J J Marshall
St John’s College was founded by Sir Thomas White, Master of the Merchant Taylors’ Company, and founder of several educational foundations, including the Merchant Taylor schools. The college was dedicated to St John the Baptist, patron saint of tailors, on 29th May 1555, though the buildings date back to 1437 when it was known as St Bernard’s College. Sir Thomas endowed St John’s with much land in north Oxford which is the basis of its wealth today. The college also owns the two pubs in St Giles – The Lamb and Flag and Eagle and Child - the profits from which are used to finance scholarships to the college. Recent graduates from St John’s are A E Houseman, Robert Graves, Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin and Tony Blair. St John’s expansion includes the large Sir Thomas White Quad built in1975, and more recently the widely acclaimed Kendrew Quad built in 2012, and named after Sir John Kendrew, winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1963 and the first scientist to be President of St John’s.
St Giles extends from St Giles’ church in the north, to the Martyrs’ Memorial in the south and is lined on both sides of its wide avenue by London plane trees. Cattle and sheep used to be driven along St Giles to market and there was a drinking pond for the animals where the war memorial now stands.