Many people know about the ever famous Oxford Christ Church for some of the Harry Potter scenes having been shot there in the Dining Hall. However, not that many people know that despite the fact that Alice might have left for Wonderland she apparently set off form here, from Oxford, the city of silent spires 150 years ago. She also left her footprints in the hall where Harry was dining more than 1.5 centuries later. Let’s take a closer look.
It all happened in the 1850s when Alice was invented here in the ford of the Oxen by Charles Dodgson – a.k.a. Lewis Carroll. This was the time when the Dean of Oxford, Henry Lidell and his family along with his 4 children, the middle daughter called Alice moved to Oxford in 1855. Carroll was teaching Mathematics at the colege by then and he was simply fascinated by the beauty of the Lindell family.
Lewis Carroll was most inspired by the petite looking, bright eyed little girl and her image
triggered the character of Alice, visiting Wonderland. Mixing the real life character, adding
the fantasy and seasoning it with a pinch of the atmosphere of the sweets shop where Alice
used to be a regular customer, the recipe of the novel was composed.
Carroll, a shy and retiring Oxford professor wrote a story exclusively for Alice Liddell, the
daughter of the Dean of Christ Church College, first. Later on, Carroll was encouraged to
publish the story and it became an instant success throughout the world. It represented a
revolution in children’s story writing.
Pilgrims still visit the sweets shop to commemorate Alice’s favourite niche in town where she used to satisfy her sweet tooth. The shop also inspired the graphic artist of the novel, called Sir John Tenniel and featured the shop assistant, a deep voiced elderly lady, in one of his graphics in the books. The actual owner used to knit a lot so this is why Alice encounters a sheep lady in the shop, knitting all the time in the sequel to the first novel titled Through the Looking-glass.
The other significant evidence for the popularity of the story book is right there in front of
you if you are a Harry Potter fan yourself. Visiting the dining hall or the Great Hall of Christ Church College and whirling through the spacious, dim-lit hall with hundreds of other tourists you will bump into the traces of Alice too.
When you enter, look left and keep a close eye on the fifth stain glass window. Try to focus on bottom panel where you can catch a glimpse of Alice, Rabbit and the author, Lewis and some other fellows from the book. Funny that one of the most prestigious and orthodox university hall should have a picture of one of the most light hearted children’s stories crowning the strict looking dark portraits of some of the most strict looking noblemen, deans and directors whose portraits are now tickled by the playful lights cast on them by Alice and co.
Harry Potter might have been the biggest blockbuster ever, but Alice’s Adventures is the most translated work of English literature after Shakespeare.
So if you want to hit two giant birds with just one pebble – take your chance in Oxford’s