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History of the college

St. Peter's College occupies the site of two of the University's oldest Inns or medieval hostels, Bishop Trellick's, later New Inn Hall, and Rose Hall, both of which were founded in the thirteenth century. But its history really began in 1929 when St. Peter's Hall was founded by Francis James Chavasse, Bishop of Liverpool, who was concerned at the rising cost of education in the older universities in Britain, and projected St. Peter's as a College where promising students, who might otherwise be deterred by the costs of College life elsewhere, could obtain an Oxford education. The commitment to make Oxford accessible to any student of ability, irrespective of means, remains a feature of St. Peter's today. 

In 1961 the University approved a statute giving St. Peter's Hall full collegiate status. With the granting of its Royal Charter in the same year, it took the name St. Peter's College. 

Among the distinguished students who have studied at the College are a former President of Ghana, Edward Akufo Addo; a former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Carl Albert; a former Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Paul Reeves; the film director, Ken Loach; and the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon. St. Peter's students have achieved eminence in academic, political, professional, and business careers, and also in the creative arts. The range of literary output of St. Peter's graduates is enormous, ranging from specialist academic work to Thomas the Tank Engine (W.V. Awdry) and more recently, the screenplay for the film The Full Monty (Simon Beaufoy).

The Buildings

St. Peter's has an interesting and varied set of buildings, many of them much older than the College itself. The College has, in effect, adapted existing buildings to provide the collective facilities needed for College life, and built new ones to provide for student accommodation. Linton House, a handsome Georgian rectory, dating from 1797, is the entrance to the College, and houses the Porters' Lodge and College library. Canal House, the Master's Lodge, dates from the early nineteenth century. The College Dining Hall, known as Hannington Hall after the Victorian missionary, Bishop James Hannington, dates from 1832 and is the only surviving part of New Inn Hall. The College chapel was originally the Church of St. Peter-le-Bailey, built in 1874, and the third church of that name on this site. The buildings of the former Oxford Girls' School, which adjoin the original site of the College, have been acquired more recently and provide living accommodation for students, seminar rooms, a Middle Common Room (for postgraduates) and a Music Room. Most recently, St. Peter's has built two new student blocks a few minutes walk from the College, one by the site of the remains of Oxford's Norman castle, and the old mill stream, the other behind St. Aldates.