Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy


The Turl Street Mitre renovation is complete

19 Feb 2021

The Rector receives the keys from Sara Murray, Director of Benfield and Loxley

The renovation of the Mitre accommodation is one of the largest and most complex projects ever undertaken by Lincoln College. Working with TSH Architects, the development has involved the modernisation of a landmark Oxford building. This week saw the completion of this very complex project; in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, we are delighted that we have been able to keep to our original timescale and budget.

History of the buildings

The Mitre is a complex of buildings that includes the inn on the corner of the High Street and Turl Street, the adjacent buildings to the west and north, and Turl Yard to the rear. The College acquired the property in 1475 as part of a benefaction from Thomas Rotherham, although the building itself is much older, with some parts dating back to the thirteenth century.

As Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings, much of the Mitre is of historical and architectural significance, but it is the inn that is the oldest part of the site. Underneath the inn there lies a network of medieval vaulted cellars from the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Other important historical features include the buildings’ sixteenth- and seventeenth-century timber panelling, the stone fireplaces, and the decorative plasterwork. The surviving fabric of the Mitre illustrates the evolution of the building as a prominent Oxford inn. In its heyday, it was frequented by both locals and students, and was famously depicted by Lincoln alumnus Osbert Lancaster in his illustrations to Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson.

In 1969, the rooms above the Mitre were acquired by the College and turned into student accommodation, along with a couple of rooms for Fellows, and an alumni guest room. For 50 years, our undergraduate students and a few Fellows have called the Mitre home.

The renovation project

In July 2018, the College embarked upon a complete renovation of the site with a view to increase the number of en-suite bedrooms and create two new accessible bedrooms, as well as upgrading the overall quality of the accommodation and improving the buildings’ energy efficiency. The refurbishment has created 54 en-suite bedrooms, 2 accessible bedrooms, 13 further bedrooms, as well as accommodation for resident academics. A new entrance and Lodge have been created in Turl Street, along with a communal room and reading room.

All of this has been done while preserving the listed buildings and their unique features and restoring the historic elements where possible. The rooms retain their quirky character and original features, but have been modernised with new and improved furnishings and fittings.

These considerably improved rooms will be home to our students during term time. In the vacations, they will be available as guest rooms to visitors, providing comfortable and convenient accommodation in central Oxford.

This has been an immensely complicated project, taking into account the Grade II* listing and the many historical features of the building, and is the most expensive construction project Lincoln has undertaken. The overall cost of £16m has been funded through borrowing, and from a large number of very generous alumni donations. We are grateful to all those who have supported the project and delighted that it has been completed on budget, and, in the circumstances, on time.

Press enquiries should be directed to Alex Spain. Photos are by John Cairns Photography.

With thanks to: Benfield and Loxley, Donald Insall Associates, Gleeds, Method Consulting LLP, Ridge and Partners LLP, SFK Consulting, TSH Architects.

Where next?

  • Read more about the Mitre projectRead more
  • Explore the Mitre floor plans and room-naming opportunitiesRead more
  • Learn more about the College buildingsRead more