University Parks

Last updated
University Parks
Engineering Science Building, 15 Mar 06.jpg
Oxford map small.svg
The University Parks, to the north-east of Oxford city centre
TypePublic park
Location Oxford, England
Area74 acres (30 ha)
Owned by University of Oxford

The Oxford University Parks, commonly referred to locally as the University Parks, or just The Parks, is a large parkland area slightly northeast of the city centre in Oxford, England. The park is bounded to the east by the River Cherwell, though a small plot of land called Mesopotamia sits between the upper and lower levels of the river. To the north of the parks is Norham Gardens and Lady Margaret Hall, to the west the Parks Road, and the Science Area on South Parks Road to the south. The park is open to the public during the day, and has gardens, large sports fields, and exotic plants. It includes a cricket ground used by Oxford University Cricket Club.



North Lodge, at the entrance to the Parks where Norham Gardens meets Parks Road. North Lodge, Oxford University Parks.jpg
North Lodge, at the entrance to the Parks where Norham Gardens meets Parks Road.

Part of the land on which the Parks is located had been used for recreation for a long time, and it formed part of the University Walks said to have been used by Charles II to walk his dog in 1685. [1] The land originally belonged to Merton College, and in 1853/1854, the University of Oxford purchased 20 acres (8.1  ha ) from Merton College to build the parks. [2] Over an eleven-year period a total of 91 acres (37  ha ) of land was eventually acquired. [3] A portion of this land (4 acres) was set aside for the University Museum which was built between 1855 and 1860. [1] Between 1912 and early 1950s, a further portion was used to build the Science Area, so the current site measures around 74 acres (30 ha).

The Parks was laid out in 1864, and the work supervised by William Baxter who was later appointed the first superintendent of the parks in 1866. [4] Parts of the Parks were designated to be used for sports and recreational purposes. 25 acres of the land had been set aside as the University Cricket Grounds, and the cricket pavilion was built in 1881. The Parks is also used for other sports such as rugby football, hockey, lacrosse, tennis and croquet. The rest of The Parks was designed as an arboretum, and the first trees were planted in 1865. [2] A number of other features have been added over the years.

Dan Winter has been superintendent of the Parks since 2017, replacing Walter Sawyer. [5]

Cricket ground

The Parks
Cricket pavilion in University Parks, Oxford.jpg
Ground information
Location Oxford, England
Owner Oxford University
End names
Pavilion End
Norham Gardens End
Team information
Oxford University Cricket Club (1881 present)
As of 1 May 2016
Source: CricketArchive

The Parks has been the home ground of Oxford University Cricket Club since 1881. [6] The cricket ground at The Parks was secured through the Master of Pembroke, Evan Evans obtaining a lease on 10 acres of land there in 1881. [7] [8] The pavilion was designed by Thomas G. Jackson, architect of many nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Oxford buildings, including the University's Examination Schools. [7] The building has three gables, the central one containing the clock, and is topped by a cupola 'of almost absurd height' and weather-vane. [6] The pavilion contains a Long Room. [7]

Before moving to The Parks, the University Cricket Club played on the Magdalen Ground and Bullingdon Green. [9] [10] The Magdalen Ground was used from the University Cricket Club's first match in 1829 to 1880 [11] while Bullingdon Green was used for two matches in 1843. [12]

A cricket game at The Parks Cricket at University Parks, Oxford.jpg
A cricket game at The Parks

The cricket ground is the only first-class cricket ground in the UK where spectators can watch free of charge as admission cannot be charged for entry into the Parks. The club has therefore occasionally taken major matches to three other grounds in Oxford. [8] The most used is the Christ Church Ground, which hosted 37 matches between 1878 and 1961. [13] Twenty-one of these matches were against the Australians, played between 1882 and 1961. The club also used New College Ground for two matches in 1906 and 1907 against Yorkshire and the South Africans respectively. [14] One match in 1912 against the South Africans was played at the Magdalen Ground. [11] The club has also played certain minor matches at the Merton College Ground, the St Edward's School Ground and the St Catherine's College Ground. [15] [16] [17]

The Parks has been, since 2000, home to the recently established ECB Oxford University Centre of Cricketing Excellence, a partnership between the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and the England and Wales Cricket Board. Prior to the 2010 season the UCCE has been rebranded as Oxford Marylebone Cricket Club University (MCCU). The University Match against Cambridge is the only one in which a true Oxford University Cricket Club team takes part: i.e., composed entirely of current Oxford students.

The Parks has, since 2002, hosted the first-class Varsity Match in even-numbered years. [18] The Parks also hosted two List A matches for the club and twenty-two matches for the Combined Universities in the Benson & Hedges Cup between 1973 and 1998. [19]

Points of interest

The duck pond in the Parks. Duck pond University Parks Oxford.jpg
The duck pond in the Parks.

The following features of the Parks are of special interest:

See also

Related Research Articles

Lords Cricket venue in St Johns Wood, London

Lord's Cricket Ground, commonly known as Lord's, is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the European Cricket Council (ECC) and, until August 2005, the International Cricket Council (ICC). Lord's is widely referred to as the Home of Cricket and is home to the world's oldest sporting museum.

Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore Historical park in the city of Lahore, Pakistan

Bagh-e-Jinnah, formerly known as Lawrence Gardens, is a historical park in the city of Lahore, Pakistan. The large green space contains a botanical garden, Masjid Dar-ul-Islam, and Quaid-e-Azam Library

Oxford University Cricket Club Cricket club representing the University of Oxford

Oxford University Cricket Club (OUCC), which represents the University of Oxford, has always held first-class status since 1827 when it made its debut in the inaugural University Match between OUCC and Cambridge University Cricket Club (CUCC). It was classified as a List A team in 1973 only. Home fixtures are played at the University Parks slightly northeast of Oxford city centre.

Harare Sports Club is a sports club and the Harare Sports Club Ground is a cricket stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe. Founded in 1900 and known as Salisbury Sports Club until 1982, it is mostly used for cricket matches, and has served as the primary cricket venue in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe since its foundation. Other sports played at the club are rugby, tennis, golf and squash.

County Ground, Taunton Cricket ground

The County Ground, known for sponsorship reasons as Cooper Associates County Ground, and nicknamed Ciderabad, is a cricket ground in Taunton, Somerset. It is the home of Somerset County Cricket Club, who have played there since 1882. The ground, which is located between Priory Bridge Road and St James Street, has a capacity of 8,500. The ground was originally built as part of a sports centre by Taunton Athletic Club in 1881, and became the home of the previously nomadic Somerset County Cricket Club soon after. Having leased the ground for ten years, the club bought the ground in 1896, under the guidance of club secretary Henry Murray-Anderdon. The ground ends are the River End to the north and the Somerset Pavilion End to the south.

De Soysa Park Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. It is currently used mostly for cricket matches. The stadium holds 15,000 people and hosted its first Test match in 1992. The ground opened in 1940 and gained Test status in 1979. Moratuwa, located just eight miles (13 km) south of Colombo is renowned for its carpentry, cricket and its philanthropists. Indeed it was the most famous of these families that initiated the development of De Soysa Park Stadium, when they donated the 5 acre plot of land to the Urban Council in 1940, to develop the Sports Complex. An additional 2 acres were sold under its market value by another member of the family. The ground was named De Soysa Park and subsequently used mainly for Moratuwa Sports Club (MSC) and school competitions.

Wardown Park

Wardown Park is situated on the River Lea in Luton. The park has various sporting facilities, is home to the Wardown Park Museum and contains formal gardens. The park is located between Old Bedford Road and the A6, New Bedford Road and is within walking distance of the town centre.

Vine Cricket Ground

The Vine Cricket Ground, also known as Sevenoaks Vine, is one of the oldest cricket venues in England. It was given to the town of Sevenoaks in Kent in 1773 by John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset (1745–1799) and owner of nearby Knole House. The land is thought to have possibly been used as a vineyard for the Archbishops of Canterbury.

Walter Marcon was an English cleric, noted as a cricketer who played six first-class matches for Oxford University in 1843 and 1844. He had previously established a reputation for extremely fast bowling at Eton College.

Clarence Park, Weston-super-Mare

Clarence Park was given to the town of Weston-super-Mare by Rebecca Davies in memory of her husband. The cricket pavilion at the park dates from 1882. A multitude of sports have been played at the park, including cricket. The ground is owned by the local council. It is currently used by Weston-super-Mare Cricket Club.

Victoria Recreation Ground

Victoria Recreation Ground is a park located on Recreation Ground Road, just off Carisbrooke Road, in Newport, on the Isle of Wight, England. It was opened in 1902.

The Officers Club Services Ground is a cricket ground in Fleet Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, England. Aldershot had been a small village until 1853, but was transformed following the purchase of 25,000 acres of land by the War Office for military training. Over the following two decades Aldershot was transformed into a garrison town, by 1874 a number of cricket grounds, including the Officers Club Services Ground, had been constructed for use by the various regiments garrisoned there.

The Magdalen Ground is a cricket ground in Oxford, England. The ground is part of Magdalen College, one of the Oxford University colleges. The first recorded match on the ground was in 1829, when Oxford University played Cambridge University in the grounds first first-class match. From 1829 to 1880, the ground hosted 69 first-class matches, with the final first-class match to that point coming against the Gentlemen of England. 32 years after first-class cricket had last been played at the ground, the University played the touring South Africans in what was to be the last first-class match played at the ground.

Bullingdon Green was a cricket ground in Oxford, Oxfordshire. The first recorded match on the ground was in 1843, when Oxford University played the Marylebone Cricket Club in the grounds first first-class. During that same year they played Cambridge University in the grounds second and final first-class match. The ground continued to hold cricket fixtures until at least 1879, when the last recorded match on the ground saw the Bullingdon Club play I Zingari.

Hesketh Park is a cricket ground in Dartford in Kent. The ground is the home of Dartford Cricket Club, one of the oldest cricket clubs in the United Kingdom. The ground was established at the beginning of the 20th century and has been used as a first-class cricket venue by Kent County Cricket Club.

Crystal Palace Park Cricket Ground

Crystal Palace Park Cricket Ground was a cricket ground in Crystal Palace in south-east London. It was located in Crystal Palace Park in the shadow of The Crystal Palace. The ground was established on 3 June 1857 and used for first-class cricket between 1864 and 1906.

Mote Park (cricket ground)

Mote Park, also known as The Mote, is a cricket ground in Maidstone in the English county of Kent. It is inside the grounds of the Mote Park and is owned by The Mote Cricket Club. The ground is also used by the Mote Squash Club and Maidstone rugby club. It was used by Kent County Cricket Club as one of their out-grounds for county cricket matches. The club played over 200 first-class cricket matches on the ground between 1859 and 2005.

Oxford University Polo Club

The Oxford University Polo Club is the Discretionary Full Blue sports club for competitive polo at Oxford University. Founded in 1874, it is one of the four oldest continuing polo clubs worldwide. Its annual Varsity Match against Cambridge University Polo Club, established in 1878, is the second oldest continuing polo fixture in the Western world. It is played at Guards Polo Club, England, usually at the beginning of June.

The Level, Brighton Park in Brighton, UK

The Level is an urban park in central Brighton, on the south coast of England. The park is a triangle of 8.05 acres (3.26 ha) bounded by Union Road to the north, Richmond Terrace (A270) to the east, and Ditchling Road (A23) to the west. In the past, the land has been used as a cricket ground for the Prince of Wales and as a setting for large-scale dinner parties to commemorate events such as the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and the coronation of Queen Victoria.


  1. 1 2 G.R. Evans (30 April 2010). The University of Oxford: A New History. I.B.Tauris. ISBN   9780857730251.
  2. 1 2 "A Historical Guide". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 2015-11-01. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  3. "Introduction to The University Parks". University of Oxford.
  4. "Pavilion". Oxford University.
  5. "Superintendents, 1866 - Present Day". The University Parks, Oxford. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  6. 1 2 Plumptre, George (1988). "Oxford: The Parks". In Plumptre, George; Swanton, E.W. (eds.). Homes of Cricket: The First-Class Grounds of England and Wales. Queen Anne Press. pp. 213–216. ISBN   0-356-15671-0.
  7. 1 2 3 Powell, William (1989). "Oxford University". The Wisden Guide to Cricket Grounds. p. 398. ISBN   0-09-173830-X.
  8. 1 2 "The Parks". ESPNCricinfo. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  9. Davies, Mark (5 August 2010). "An early history of cricket in Oxford". BBC. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  10. Ranjitsinhji, K.S. (1897). "Removal of the Club from the Magdalen Ground to the University Parks, and University Matches from 1881 to 1896". Jubilee Book of Cricket (second ed.). p. 350.
  11. 1 2 "First-Class Matches Played on Magdalen Ground, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  12. "First-Class Matches Played on Bullingdon Green, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  13. "First-Class Matches Played on Christ Church Ground, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  14. "First-Class Matches Played on New College Ground, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  15. "Other matches played on Merton College Ground, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  16. "Other matches played on St Edward's School Ground, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  17. "First-Class Matches Played on St Catherine's College Ground, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  18. "First-Class Matches Played on The University Parks, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  19. "List A Matches Played on The University Parks, Oxford". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  20. "The University Parks, Oxford". Cricket Archive.

Coordinates: 51°45′43″N1°15′11″W / 51.762°N 1.253°W / 51.762; -1.253