URBANPIX CAPTION for this Oxford card:
Christopher Wren’s Tom Tower was built in 1681-82 and sits over Tom Gate, the entrance to Christ Church and Tom Quad. The octagonal tower and dome dominates the skyline from central Oxford as the road dips away from Carfax towards south Oxford. Tom Tower was built to house the Great Tom bell, cast in 1680 to replace the original from Oseney Abbey. Great Tom, is the loudest bell in Oxford and chimes 101 times at 9.05pm each night, once for each of the original 101 students. The reason it strikes at 9.05 and not 9pm is that Oxford is west of Greenwich and Great Tom continues to keep Oxford time and not GMT.There is an inscription on the bell in Latin, which translated reads: ‘Great Thomas the door closer of Oxford renovated April 8, 1680 in the reign of Charles II.’ Aside from a student prank in 2002 when the clapper was lagged, Tom has sounded every night since the Second World War.
The history of Christ Church begins in 1524 when Cardinal Wolsey obtained permission from the Pope to dissolve St Frideswide Priory and erect a college in its place, to be called ‘Cardinal College’. It became Christ Church College in 1546. Today, Christ Church is one of the largest colleges in the University of Oxford and the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Oxford. It has a world famous Cathedral Choir; scholarly collections of books and art; and is enjoyed by many people as visitors or guests at conferences and Summer schools.