Oxford landmark notches up its century | University of Oxford

Oxford landmark notches up its century

Celebrations begin this week to mark the centenary of one of Oxford's most recognisable landmarks.

Design and construction work on Hertford Bridge – popularly known as the Bridge of Sighs – began in 1913, and Hertford College is making sure the famous structure will be reaching its milestone in style.

The Bridge of Sighs – so called because of its apparent resemblance to the structure of the same name in Venice – links Hertford's old and new quadrangles across New College Lane.

It was officially opened in January 1914 and has since gained worldwide renown as an Oxford icon. The bridge has regularly featured on the big and small screens, making an appearance in X Men: First Class and frequently being visible on Inspector Morse.

To kick off the celebrations for the bridge's centenary, Hertford College is hosting a series of events on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 September that will showcase its distinctive character.

The programme begins with an access day for potential applicants from state schools, followed by an exchange on the future of higher education between Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, and Mary Curnock Cook OBE, chief executive of UCAS.

The celebrations will also include: talks on Hertford academics' current research; Hertford's vision for the future, presented by college Principal Will Hutton; a lecture on the history of the Bridge of Sighs by Dr William Whyte; and the screening of a new film about Hertford by the award-winning film producer Anthony Geffin, chief executive of Atlantic Productions.

Throughout the celebrations a sound installation composed by Dr Benjamin Skipp, Hertford's music tutor, will be played under the bridge. Titled Sospiri (Sighs), the piece is based on samples of sighs uttered by current members of the college and promises to be an intriguing experience for passers-by.

Will Hutton, Principal of Hertford College, said: 'Who would have thought the bridge was just 100 years old? It captures perfectly the way in which Oxford – and Hertford in particular – is surprisingly modern, despite the appearance of antiquity.

'Hertford has a proud tradition of leading the way in admitting women and applicants from state schools and the centenary is the perfect way to celebrate that forward-looking mentality and to assess how we can build on the progress already made.'