Principal's Blog: 26th October 2020

blogBowerscrop1It is great to see students back at Brasenose. As second week of Term draws to a close I would again like to thank all those staff members who have made it a success. Staff have shown an agility and flexibility in responding to the pandemic. Many doubted that we would be able to provide face to face teaching but most tutors are indeed doing so.

My commiserations to those who have contracted the virus and to those isolating. Let us all hope that the Oxford vaccine may soon come onstream. It is notable that the covid test now used at Heathrow Terminal 5 amongst other places was developed in the Oxford Engineering Department.

John Windsor Davies (1934-2020)

Tributes are pouring in after the death of our Emeritus Fellow in Law, John Davies. John passed away after a short illness on Wednesday 21 October 2020, aged 86.

John Davies was a central pillar of the Brasenose College community throughout his adult life. Before arriving at Brasenose, John studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham. He matriculated at Brasenose in 1954 to read for the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL). He graduated in 1956 and won the Vinerian Scholarship for the best performance in his year. After a year as Bigelow Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago, John returned to Oxford in 1959 to take up the College’s Stallybrass Lectureship in Law. In 1963 John was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Birmingham, but later returned to Oxford to take up an Official Fellowship in Law at Brasenose from 1966, which he held until his retirement in 2001. On retirement, he was elected to an Emeritus Fellowship in recognition of his incredible contribution to the College. He still taught students here until two years ago and regularly dined here until the pandemic struck.

Having taught many generations of Brasenose lawyers, his impact on the legal profession was profound. Many of his students have gone on to have glittering legal careers and they all credit him with setting them on this course. He will be sadly missed by his former students, his colleagues, and the whole Brasenose community.

I recall him as a wonderful teacher and lecturer. I well recall his revision lectures, in particular. I was so pleased to renew the acquaintance when I came to the College as Principal. I pass on my sincere condolences to his family and colleagues.

Please send your memories of John to [email protected] for inclusion in our online condolence book.

Equality Conversation

As our contribution to Black History Month and as our third Equality Lecture, we held a Principals Conversation on Race on MSTeams on 21 October. We had an expert panel of Hannah Cusworth, history teacher with a particular interest in black history, Martin Forde QC the Government Assessor on the Windrush Compensation Scheme and Rajan Datar of the BBC. Each had important experience to contribute. Many sensitive issues were discussed including stereotyping, micro aggressions and quotas. There was a very lively Questions submitted in the chat function. The elegant introduction was by provided Anne Edwards our Equality Fellow. The video is available on xx

I am also delighted that we celebrated 100 years since women were first allowed to study at this University.


We congratulate our alum Tony Hill on his pioneering access work about which you can read at


I enjoyed participating in a Q & A with the HCR which you can see at

We offer congratulations to Emily and Alexander Betts on the birth of Athena Carin Rosa Betts who with impeccable timing was born 28 minutes into the start of the new academic year. She should be ready to come up to Brasenose in Michaelmas 2038. 

I have been reading Left Out by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Macguire about the Corbyn Labour Party.

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