Guided tour

Oxford: Hidden Histories - An Oxford Walking Tour

Activity provider: Uncomfortable Oxford Ltd.

Oxford: Hidden Histories - An Oxford Walking Tour

Activity provider: Uncomfortable Oxford Ltd.

From US$ 17.90 per person

Join this tour to uncover the stories of those hidden in the gendered landscape of Oxford. This tour sparks a thoughtful discussion of women and LGBTQI+ lives, work, and legacies.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Duration 1.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide
Wheelchair accessible
Private group available


  • Discuss how masculinities have shaped and been shaped by the university of Oxford, and the overlooked queer experiences in the city.
  • Learn about the ways in which women have historically negotiated Oxford's male urban space and how female scholars have fought for family life.
  • Analyse the urban landscape and material culture, challenge gendered geographies, and push against social expectations.
Full description
Uncomfortable Oxford’s “Hidden Histories” tour engages with overlooked narratives and celebrates the stories of women and queer people working and studying within Oxford’s culture of traditional masculinity. The tour group meets at the Radcliffe Humanities Square and begins with an analysis of the public space, and especially of its overwhelmingly male representations. For instance, the famous Radcliffe Camera and the Radcliffe Humanities building are named for John Radcliffe, whose estate paid for the construction of several pieces of architecture in Oxford, although countless others contributed to the history of these buildings. Radcliffe Humanities originally served as the Radcliffe Infirmary, where nurse Thora Silverthorne trained and worked in the early 20th century, while also participating in activism that would later lead to the formation of the NHS. Today the NHS is a point of pride for Britain, but it rarely recognizes the contributions of nurses to the organisation, while COVID-19 has made the job more stressful and demanding. Another example of erasure is presented through the example of Oxford's Somerville College, founded in 1879 as one of Oxford University’s first women’s colleges, the other being Lady Margaret Hall. However, women still faced sexism and racism as students at the university and those who were able to attend often came from wealthy backgrounds. One of these women is Catherine Duleep Singh, the daughter of the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and the goddaughter of Queen Victoria, who was also an openly queer women throughout her life and career. As the tour unfolds, participants will question the intersecting challenges faced by many people in Oxford's gendered and classist space. At the same time, the discussion will celebrate the opportunities that individuals managed to create in spite of these limits, from individual success to wider group visibility and representation in the present. The tour will end at St Mary's Church on Radcliffe Square, on a debate between real and idealised representations of women in the city.
  • Free stickers at the end of the tour
  • Access to reading lists to learn more about the topics covered
  • Arranged starting point [for groups only, within the city centre]
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Meet your guide in the Radcliffe Humanities courtyard by the fountain. Your guide will be holding a tote bag with the activity provider's name on it. The courtyard is accessible at all times.

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Important information

Know before you go

  • The tour includes some street crossings and sections with cobblestones
  • The tour covers about 2 km and lasts 1.5 h
  • On weekends, central streets may be quite busy
  • You can cancel your ticket free of charge up to 24h before the tour. You can change your ticket for a different date free of charge up to 24h before the tour, and at the discretion of the organisers if cancelled at the last minute.

Product ID: 418572