Cornwall Reading Party 2014

31st January 2014

Student news

An opportunity for current Wadham students to enjoy a week of dedicated study combined with relaxation, discussion and household chores near Mevagissey in Cornwall.

A Reading Party from Wadham will go to Cornwall from Saturday 22th March to Saturday 29th March inclusive (i.e. from the end of 9th week to the end of 10th week of term).

For many years there has been a Wadham Reading Party during the Easter vacation: a mixed group of about 12-14 students, from different subject-areas, has spent a week in a large old house by the sea in Cornwall. There is no formal tuition during the week; we all take the opportunity to get on with our own reading and writing. It is an ideal opportunity for finalists to have a change of scene from Oxford libraries, but it has always worked well also to have some undergraduates from other years who want to do some serious vacation work, and from time to time a graduate or two have opted to join us. About seven hours a day, in two sessions of strictly enforced quiet time, are reserved for study. The rest of the day is devoted to indoor or outdoor relaxation, with many opportunities for informal conversation and discussion, and (since the exercise is entirely self-catering), for household chores such as shopping and cooking. Money left by a former Fellow of Wadham for just this purpose (the Lennard Bequest) is used to help with the expenses of travel, rent, and food during the week; those taking part will additionally need to supply not more than £10 a day, besides purely personal expenditure.

Ray Ockenden, who has helped to organise the trip for many years, says: “The success of such a venture depends on those taking part being good at getting on easily with others in an unfamiliar environment; having the capacity for sustained periods of work without disturbing others; being able to enjoy a week in a remote spot, cut off from the blessings of urban civilisation (no internet access, poor mobile phone coverage); and making practical contributions, without needing to be urged, towards the running of the household and the corporate welfare of the party. It is not the sort of working holiday that suits everyone; but hundreds of Wadham students have derived great pleasure and academic benefit and from it.”
If you are free then and think you would enjoy being on the Reading Party, please send an email to by the end of third week, Friday 7th February 2014, giving your name, subject and year, a brief idea of your activities and interests, and, if you wish, any credentials you think you have for being a contributive and helpful member of such a group. It would be helpful to know if you drive and if you might have access to a car, and also if you have a student Railcard. If there is anything else you would like to know about the Reading Party, please send an e-mail to Peter Thonemann.
It would be sensible to consult your tutor(s) before applying, as they are generally consulted by us about intending participants. Once the final list has been selected, the applicants will be informed and we would like to call a meeting of those joining the party on Monday of 7th week, 3rd March, at 6 p.m. in the Trapp Room.

  • Lamledra House in Cornwall

    Lamledra House in Cornwall