Rhodes House

Coordinates: 51°45′27″N 1°15′18″W / 51.75750°N 1.25500°W / 51.75750; -1.25500
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rhodes House from South Parks Road
The great hall (Milner Hall) in Rhodes House, being used for the Price Moot Court competition

Rhodes House is a building part of the University of Oxford in England. It is located on South Parks Road in central Oxford, and was built in memory of Cecil Rhodes, an alumnus of the university and a major benefactor. It is listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England.[1]


The will of Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902) created scholarships that became known as Rhodes Scholarships, administered by the Rhodes Trust.[2]

Construction of Rhodes House began in 1926 after the Rhodes Trust purchased the two-acre plot from Wadham College the previous year. The mansion was designed by architect Sir Herbert Baker and modelled on the Cape Dutch farmhouse design and traditional English Country mansions.[3] This is reflected in the large beams, trans-domed windows and its Tetra-style portico. The square rubble walls were designed to be consistent with the Western European 17th century architecture of the Oxford University campus. Other features include the open-well staircase constructed from oak, featuring shaped balusters and carved eagle finials.[3][1] Construction was completed in 1928 and the building and its library were handed over to Oxford University.[4][1]

Rhodes House was commissioned by the Rhodes Trust as a memorial to Cecil Rhodes, to act as a centre for research for the "British Empire and Commonwealth, of African and the United States of America", and to be the headquarters of the Rhodes Scholarship system and Rhodes Trust.

Sir Herbert Baker, described as "Cecil Rhodes' own architect",[5] was the sole-architect of Rhodes House. Architectural sculpture was provided by Charles Wheeler, who also worked on other inter-war colonial buildings including: India House, South Africa House and the Neuve Chapelle Indian Memorial.[6] Rhodes House features a series of public rooms included a library, reading room, lecture hall and seminar rooms, a hall in which the Rhodes Scholars hold their annual dinner and the residence for the Rhodes Trust Oxford Secretary or Warden.

During 1931, Albert Einstein delivered a series of three lectures at Rhodes House.[7] Edmund Bowen, a chemistry don at the university, saved the blackboard used in the second lecture (on 16 May). Einstein's Blackboard, now an iconic object, can still be seen at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford,[8] formally presented by Sir Francis Wylie, the Warden of Rhodes House at the time.

Rhodes House Library[edit]

When Rhodes House was completed all the material relating to the British Empire and U.S. were transferred from the Bodleian Library.[5] Also known as the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth & African Studies at Rhodes House. In 1990 the library held more 330,000 books and the archives relating to US and other former colonies and dominions of the British Empire. The Library was a key research centre in the UK.[9]

In 2014 the Library moved to the Weston Library.[10] The Library is now known as the Commonwealth and African Studies Collections.

Portraits at Rhodes House[edit]

Rhodes House houses a significant collection of paintings and photographic portraits and busts, including of:

The Rhodes Trust[edit]

The Rhodes Trust is based at Rhodes House. The Rhodes Trust, established in 1902 under the terms and conditions of the will of Cecil Rhodes, and by subsequent Acts of Parliament, is an educational charity[21] whose principal activity is to support scholars selected from the citizens of 14 specified geographic constituencies to study at the University of Oxford. Rhodes Scholarships for up to three years have been awarded annually since 1903.[22] The goals of Cecil Rhodes in creating the Scholarships were to promote civic-minded leadership among young people with (in the words of his 1899 Will) "moral force of character and instincts to lead", and (in the words of a 1901 codicil to his Will) to help "render war impossible" through promoting understanding between the great powers.[23]

In 2002, in partnership with Nelson Mandela, the Rhodes Trust established the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship.[24] The Rhodes Trust provides the Rhodes Scholarships in partnership with the Second Century Founders, John McCall MacBain O.C., the Atlantic Philanthropies, and other benefactors. In 2016 the Trust announced a partnership with Atlantic Philanthropies to create an Atlantic Institute, which has offices at Rhodes House. Funding for this project allowed the Trust to expand the total number of Rhodes Scholars and to offer scholarships to students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, China, and West Africa.[25]

In 2017, the Schmidt Science Fellows programme was launched as a partnership between Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust.[26] The programme was established to facilitate cross-discipline research that could lead to scientific breakthroughs.[27][28]

The Rhodes Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees,[29] and the Warden of Rhodes House acts as Secretary to the Trust.[30]

Current trustees[edit]

The following are trustees:[29]

  • Dapo Akande (professor of public international law at the University of Oxford)[31]
  • Mr Andrew Banks (Florida & St Edmund Hall 1976) - Co-Founder, ABRY Partners
  • Ms Neeti Bhalla (Kenya & Templeton 1998) - Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for Liberty Mutual Insurance Group
  • Mr Mike Fitzpatrick (Chairman of Pacific Current Group)
  • Dame Helen Ghosh - Master of Balliol College, Oxford
  • Mr Don Gogel (New Jersey & Balliol 1971) - Chairman and CEO of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice
  • Mr Glen James former partner of Slaughter and May
  • Dr Tariro Makadzange (Zimbabwe & Balliol 1999) - Director of Biology at Gilead Sciences
  • Ms Swati Mylavarapu (Florida & Wolfson 2005) - Founder of Incite.org, a values-based investor and co-founder of Arena
  • Professor Karen O'Brien (Head of Humanities Division and Professor of English Literature)
  • Kate O'Regan (Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at the University of Oxford)
  • Mr Chris Oechsli - President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies
  • Dilip Shanghvi - Co-founder of Sun Pharmaceuticals
  • Judge Karen Stevenson (United States Magistrate and Judge)
  • Dr Peter Stamos (California & Worcester 1981) - Founder, Chief Executive Officer of Stamos Capital Partners
  • Mr Bob Sternfels (California & Worcester 1992) Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company
  • Sir John Hood (New Zealand & Worcester College, 1976), Chairman (since 2011)
  • Professor John Bell (Alberta & Magdalen College, 1975) (since 2002)
  • Professor Ngaire Woods (New Zealand & Balliol College, 1987) (since 2009)
  • Dominic Barton (British Columbia & Brasenose College, 1984) (since 2010)
  • Don Gogel (New Jersey & Balliol College, 1971) (since 2010)
  • Professor Margaret MacMillan (since 2010)
  • John McCall MacBain (Quebec & Wadham College, 1980) (since 2010)
  • Karen Stevenson (Maryland & Magdalen College, 1979) (since 2010)
  • John Wylie (Queensland & Balliol College, 1983) (since 2010)
  • Glen James (since 2014)
  • Andrew Banks (Florida & St Edmund Hall, 1976) (since 2014)
  • Professor Dame Carol Robinson (since 2015)
  • Nicholas Oppenheimer (since 2015)
  • Professor Elleke Boehmer (South Africa-at-Large and St John's College, 1985) (since 2016)
  • Dilip Shanghvi (since 2017)
  • Mike Fitzpatrick (Western Australia & St John's College, 1975) (since 2018)
  • Peter Stamos (California & Worcester College, 1981) (since 2018)

Emeritus trustees[edit]

  • Julian Thompson (Diocesan College, Rondebosch and Worcester College, 1953) (trustee since 2002, emeritus since 2015)
  • Michael McCaffery (Pennsylvania & Merton College, 1975) (trustee since 2007, emeritus since 2018)

Notable former trustees[edit]

List of chairmen of the Trust[edit]

List of wardens[edit]

List of Rhodes Scholars[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Historic England, "Rhodes House (1076964)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 8 June 2020
  2. ^ History Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, The Rhodes Trust, Oxford, UK.
  3. ^ a b Laidlaw, Zoë (October 2001). "Briefing: Rhodes House and the Rhodes House Library: An Historical Survey of the Intentions of the Rhodes Trust". African Affairs. 100 (401): 641–651. doi:10.1093/afraf/100.401.641. JSTOR 3518705.
  4. ^ Howard, Jeanne. "The library of Rhodes House Oxford". Library Review. 39–2.
  5. ^ a b Pearson, James Douglas; Jones, Ruth (1970). The Bibliography of Africa: Proceedings and Papers. Psychology Press. pp. 216–217. ISBN 9780714623948.
  6. ^ Driver, Felix; Gilbert, David (17 October 2003). Imperial Cities: Landscape, Display and Identity. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719064975.
  7. ^ Albert Einstein — Honours, prizes and awards: Oxford University Archived 2 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Albert Einstein in the World Wide Web, Germany.
  8. ^ Albert Einstein, Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, UK.
  9. ^ Maylam, Paul (2005). The Cult of Rhodes: Remembering an Imperialist in Africa. New Africa Books. p. 76. ISBN 9780864866844.
  10. ^ "Bodleian Libraries | UPDATED Moves of Special Collections". www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Philanthropist John McCall MacBain O.C. receives the University of Oxford's highest award - Oxford Thinking - University of Oxford". www.campaign.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Zambian activist Lucy Banda becomes first female Rhodes scholar to have portrait displayed at Oxford University," The Independent, 9 December 2015; "Somervillian becomes the first female Rhodes Scholar to have portrait displayed at Rhodes House". Somerville College, Oxford. 14 December 2015.
  13. ^ Bench, Bar & (19 September 2017). "Portrait of Menaka Guruswamy unveiled at Rhodes House, Oxford University". Bar & Bench. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Wasim Sajjad honoured; Rhodes Trust portrait - The Royal Society of Portrait Painters". The Royal Society of Portrait Painters. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  15. ^ "True Grit". Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  16. ^ Patterson, Moira (21 August 2012). "Dom Mintoff obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  17. ^ "For The First Time, An Indian Woman Scholar's Portrait Hangs At Rhodes House In Oxford". HuffPost India. 19 September 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture 2017: Can South Africa's Constitutional Democracy be Sustained? | African Studies Centre". www.africanstudies.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Alastair Adams portrait painter". ALASTAIR ADAMS portraits. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  20. ^ "A. Michael Spence - Biographical". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  21. ^ "RHODES TRUST - PUBLIC PURPOSES FUND, registered charity no. 232492". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  22. ^ The Rhodes Trust, Rhodes House, Oxford, UK.
  23. ^ See, e.g., "To 'render war impossible': the Rhodes Scholarships, educational relations between countries, and peace" in Donald Markwell, "Instincts to Lead": On Leadership, Peace, and Education (Connor Court Publishing, 2013)
  24. ^ Mandela Rhodes Foundation (2010) The Mandela Rhodes Scholarships Archived 19 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 1 October 2012
  25. ^ Bothwell, Ellie (1 June 2016). "Rhodes Trust to launch new institute and expand scholarships". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  26. ^ Muslimin, Anis. "Former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Announces New Science Fellows". Forbes. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Eric and Wendy Schmidt seek to build the next generation of scientific leaders". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  28. ^ "Eric and Wendy Schmidt Launch Science Fellows Program". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Trustees". Rhodes House. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  30. ^ "Warden" (PDF). rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  31. ^ "Dapo Akande". Oxford Law Faculty. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  32. ^ "Dr Elizabeth Kiss selected as next Warden of Rhodes House". Oxford University. Retrieved 16 November 2018.

Further reading[edit]

Books and articles by former Wardens of Rhodes House, Oxford:

  • Anthony Kenny, The History of the Rhodes Trust. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Donald Markwell, "Instincts to Lead": On Leadership, Peace, and Education, 2013.
  • Charles R. Conn, Thinking About Historical Legacies: Looking for Just Principles and Processes: IHJR, 2018.

External links[edit]

51°45′27″N 1°15′18″W / 51.75750°N 1.25500°W / 51.75750; -1.25500