Rhodes House

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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 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.


The will of Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902) created scholarships that became known as Rhodes Scholarships, administered by the Rhodes Trust.[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",[2] 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.[3] Rhodes House featured 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.[4] 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,[5] formally presented by Sir Francis Wylie, the Warden of Rhodes House at the time.

Rhodes House was the location for one of the gigs of the band Ugly Rumours in the early 1970s, of which former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was a member. The Oxcentrics jazz band also played at Rhodes House.

Rhodes House Library

When Rhodes House was completed all the material relating to the British Empire and U.S. were transferred from the Bodleian Library.[2] Also known as the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth & African Studies at Rhodes House. In 1990 the library held more 300,000 books and the archives relating to USA and other former colonies and dominions of the British Empire. The Library was a key research centre in the UK.[6]

In 2014 the Library moved to the Weston Library.[7] The Library is now known as the Commonwealth and African Studies Collections.

Portraits at Rhodes House

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

The Rhodes Trust

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[8] 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.[9] Cecil Rhodes' goals 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.[10]

In 2002, the Rhodes Trust partnered with Nelson Mandela to establish The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship.[11] The Rhodes Trust provides the Rhodes Scholarships in partnership with the Second Century Founders, John McCall MacBain O.C. and The Atlantic Philanthropies, and other benefactors. In 2016 the trust announced a partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies to create an Atlantic Institute which is hosted at the Rhodes House. Funding for this project allowed the Trust to expand the total number of Rhodes Scholars and offer scholarships to students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, China and West Africa.[12] In 2017, Eric and Wendy Schmidt of the Schmidt Family Foundation announced a partnership with the Trust to create Schmidt Science Fellows, committing 25 million US dollars to train outstanding young scientists for scientific leadership.[13][14]

The Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees.[15] The current Warden of Rhodes House is Charles R. Conn, who acts as Secretary to the Rhodes Trust.[16] Elizabeth Kiss will succeed Conn as Warden beginning August 2018.[17]

Current trustees

The following are trustees:[15]

Emeritus trustees

  • Julian Thompson (Diocesan College, Rondebosch and Worcester, 1953) (trustee since 2002, emeritus since 2015)
  • Professor Sir John Bell (Alberta & Magdalen 1975) (since 2002) (trustee since 2002, emeritus since 2015)

Notable former trustees

List of Chairmen of the Trust

List of Wardens


  1. ^ History, The Rhodes Trust, Oxford, UK.
  2. ^ a b Pearson, James Douglas; Jones, Ruth (1970). The Bibliography of Africa: Proceedings and Papers. Psychology Press. pp. 216–217. ISBN 9780714623948. 
  3. ^ Driver, Felix; Gilbert, David (2003-10-17). Imperial Cities: Landscape, Display and Identity. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719064975. 
  4. ^ Albert Einstein — Honours, prizes and awards: Oxford University, Albert Einstein in the World Wide Web, Germany.
  5. ^ Albert Einstein, Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, UK.
  6. ^ Maylam, Paul (2005). The Cult of Rhodes: Remembering an Imperialist in Africa. New Africa Books. p. 76. ISBN 9780864866844. 
  7. ^ "Bodleian Libraries | UPDATED Moves of Special Collections". www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-06. 
  8. ^ Charity Commission. RHODES TRUST - PUBLIC PURPOSES FUND, registered charity no. 232492. 
  9. ^ The Rhodes Trust, Rhodes House, Oxford, UK.
  10. ^ 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, 2013.
  11. ^ Mandela Rhodes Foundation (2010) The Mandela Rhodes Scholarships Archived 19 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1 October 2012
  12. ^ Bothwell, Ellie (1 June 2016). "Rhodes Trust to launch new institute and expand scholarships". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 2018-01-18. 
  13. ^ "Eric and Wendy Schmidt seek to build the next generation of scientific leaders". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-01-18. 
  14. ^ "Eric and Wendy Schmidt Launch Science Fellows Program". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2018-01-18. 
  15. ^ a b Rhodes Trust Board of Trustees, Rhodes House, Oxford, UK.
  16. ^ "The Rhodes Trust and Trustees". Rhodes House. 
  17. ^ http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2018-01-18-dr-elizabeth-kiss-selected-next-warden-rhodes-house

Further reading

Books 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.

External links

  • Official website
  • Virtual tour of Rhodes House

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

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