About HMC

As the only college catering solely for mature students, Harris Manchester sits uniquely amongst its University neighbours. Becoming a fully-fledged college in 1996, it doesn’t have any history of 500-year feuds with the town (or other “gownies”, for that matter), but instead is made up almost entirely of students not only tolerant of Oxford traditions but also determined to establish new ones. Founded in Manchester in 1786 to provide education for non-Anglican students, HMC’s inclusive ethos abides today with just about all sectors of society thriving within its grounds. The starting age is 21 with the majority in the 20-30 bracket, extending sometimes, through, to students in their late 70s! This makes for the most diverse student body of any Oxford college – there are few other places where you might dine beside an ex-judge or an international rugby star.

Situated across from New College on Mansfield Road, HMC is Oxford’s smallest undergraduate college in terms of population. This allows for a caring environment, feeling more like a family at times than a college. It also means that events are contingent upon students themselves, with activities varying each year and adapting to current interests. There is a hugely popular and debauched wine society which competes annually with Berkeley in California, a weekly film society that shows the most eclectic films in Oxford and a variety of sports teams including basketball,
pool (with some of the University’s top players) and rowers affiliated with Wadham.

The main gate shuts at 6.30pm so visitors must be brought by members of the college. Guests are always welcome, however, especially in Hall (which is generally a high-quality affair) and at bops, which are reassuringly
similar to those at other colleges: burlesque and sauna-like but, almost despite themselves, managing to be fun. Indeed, much of life at Harris Manchester seems to successfully walk that fine line between correspondence with the University and a keeping of its individuality – the hallmark of an Oxford college.


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