Oxford Tour...

Interior con'd, pg 3

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Part V: Motte

[092]: This is the motte or mound of the original Oxford Castle, which was the site of the earliest Norman occupation in the Upper Thames area. A defensive position near the river was chosen, at the edge of the Saxon town defences which were already in place. Built in 1071 by Robert d'Oilly for William the Conqueror, the mound would have been constructed from earth and stone that had been removed to build a moat to surround the motte and bailey (the open area inside the outer wall of a castle). On the summit would have been the castle keep, initially built of wood, and then of stone. This surviving motte is over 64' high and about 250' at its base, and would have been adjacent to Nikki's garden just outside the boundary wall of the prison.

If you look at the thumbnail to the right you can see where D-wing and Nikki's garden would have been in relation to the base of the motte. In the thumbnail you can also see the remains of the prison boundary wall to the left of the photo, behind yet another green and white stripey cart. To the right of the photograph is St George's Tower, which may have served as the keep in the early stages of the castle development, until it was replaced by the motte and the keep on its summit. The arrow loop to the left at the top of the tower, is the one from which you saw the aerial view of G-wing in photo [68]. The entrance to the Unlocked Museum is directly to the right of the red and white stripey cart, below the tower. The area to the right of the stripey cart is approximately where Nikki's shed would have been—just inside the boundary wall.

You may well think that you haven't ever seen the motte in Bad Girls, but if you look closely at the aerial shot of the entrance courtyard in S2 Ep5 [28:04-28:08] in a sequence of the cattle truck driving into the yard (the end of the sequence being the same stock shot that they use in S3 Ep16 (28:14) and also in S1 Ep6 (00:10 to 00:13) )—you can see the green grass and a tree on the motte at the top right-hand corner of the shot. At the very top of this shot, just right of centre, you can also just make out the top of the crenellated parapet of the Debtors' Tower and its conical lead roof, at the far end of the G-wing gable and behind the so-called hospital wing.

[093]: [click on photo to enlarge] Moving up the motte, this is the view from the northeastern side of it looking south. (Apologies for the builders' mess and the porta-loo near the foreground of the shot!) The building directly behind the builders' mess and to the left of the photo, is the other side of the Governor's House, which you saw in photo [36]. The pair of towers to the left are those just behind the front entrance to the hotel. The cream-coloured building just behind the Governor's House is the new building, part of which could be seen to the left of the shot in photo [27]. You can again see the remains of the outer perimeter wall in the foreground near the base of the motte; just behind it the end of G-wing, and to its right the Debtors' Tower and part of D-wing.

[094]: [click on photo to enlarge] Moving slightly higher up the motte now and looking from its southwestern side looking down at the end of G-wing and the Debtors' tower, with D-wing and St George's Tower partially obscured by the motte and a tree.

[095]: At the summit of the motte—unfortunately, the large trees obscure a full view of the whole expanse of the buildings below, but from between them you can see this view of G-wing and the Debtors' Tower. The area behind the railings next to G-wing is where the steps are that Dominic ran up to speak to Nikki (photo [26]). Just behind the remains of the outer wall at the lower left of the photo is where Nikki would have been sunning herself in S1 Ep6 [01:41], in the area of the garden that would originally have been the 1st Class Debtors' Yard.
To view slightly gratuitous thumbnail,
click to enlarge:

[096]: Still at the summit of the motte, but looking at the motte itself now—this is the entrance to the well, which in the 13th century was covered by a groined chamber, which you can see if you click on the accompanying thumbnail.

[097]: Looking through the gate down the flight of steps to the well chamber—sadly the gate was locked, and there was no getting down the stairs to have a look at the chamber itself.

PART V: Restaurant

Having left the D-Wing museum, we now head to the Malmaison restaurant in the lower reaches of the old A-Wing. (Bad Girls' G-Wing of course.)

[098]: An old cell door entrance—looking rather different than what we're used to! The main dining area is in the central floor space, but they have also broken down some of the internal walls between cells and joined a few of the cells together, to create separate dining rooms.

[099]: Looking down the side of the wing towards the arched gable-end window of [60] and [63]. There is a bar to the right, and the restaurant seating is beyond that. Note the artwork on the walls—naked women in black ink. They have them in the loos too! These 'cell doorways' look decidedly more glamorous than the ones in S2 Ep7 [21:15], S2 Ep3 [09:42] and S2 Ep3 [09:44].

[100]: The base of the arched gable-end window from inside the restaurant. It is below ground level here—you can see the glow of light from the barred light well that you saw in photo [061] of the exterior tour.

[101]: Another shot of the base of the arched window; without the flash it's easier to see just how far below ground level it is (even if it does make it a bit blurry!) You can just see the little space at the top that is above ground.

[102]: Entrance to another cell. Note the low black ceiling—unfortunately this shot is very dark as I didn't want to be caught 'flashing' in the restaurant. The ceiling is an industrial-looking thing with big pipes or ducts running along it. The walls have a rustic-looking plaster finish.

[103]: The ironwork staircase, now painted black, which inexplicably leads up to end at the new low ceiling! I was wondering if that isn't a trapdoor or something at the top of it. Note the huge black duct pipe overhead (we brightened the photo overmuch so you could see it).

Coda: Odds 'n Sods

[104]: So there I was, about to eat my distinctly un-prisonlike meal in the hotel restaurant, when I reached for the salt.... Imagine my delight then when the salt & pepper mills turned out to be Peugeot ones! Okay, okay! They weren't red, they didn't have wheels and they weren't operated by a woman called Helen—but it was good enough for me! In the twilight world of Bad Girls fandom they deserved to be recorded for posterity.

So I set about trying to get them and their logo in focus without using a flash, which at such close quarters at our little table only served to burn out the shot. I'm afraid that after several efforts, I realised that the watchful stares of my dinner companions meant they were witnessing possibly the final stages of my slide into Bad Girls muppet-dom (yes I know, they were a bit slow to notice, but I suspect they were wishing it wasn't true); I could only hope the other diners were not witnessing it too. It takes a fairly brave lot to remain seated, looking like you know the person who is taking a whole bunch of shots of salt & pepper pots, trying to get the logo in focus. This was the best that I could come up with: a pair of brunette Peugeot salt and pepper mills!

I have since discovered that Pizza Express, located in what was the Bad Girls Reception building, has blonde Peugeot salt and pepper mills. And of course... I photographed those too! Don't believe it? Look, look!! Remember this shot from Item 56? Behind the head of the eighth person in from the left, the woman with the rose appliqué on her shirt...!

[105]: Leaving the restaurant now and heading for home. This is a very tiny lapel pin or something, just over a half-inch in diameter, we discovered cemented in to the foundations of the building, which on the 20th century prison plan featured in [087] in the Maps section of our Interior tour, is referred to as the Governor's House. It is the building at the far right-hand side of the Malmaison façade. If you refer to the old 1878 map [see blow-up, next tour item below] it is the structure situated to the left of the Governor's House caption (see small red circle on map). There are a few steps on the outside (shown on the 1878 map), and it is at the top of those, to the lower right-hand side of the plaque. Peugeot salt & pepper mills! A Scottish flag pin! Was there to be no end to my photographic opportunites?

(Note: Tragically, there was an end: in a flagrant act of architectural wickedness, when I returned to take more photos... the Scot pin had been covered over! A close-up of this has not been included so as to spare the delicate sensitivities of any younger members of the household who may be tuning in to join us—or, for that matter, any right-thinking fans who may not wish to sully their eyes with such pointless defacements.)

[106]: Location of the now-less-visible Scot-pin: if you can see the little steps that come out of the building on the left at the top left corner of the image on the left, it was imbedded in the foundations at the top of those stairs. In the photo on the right it is just around the right-hand corner of the building—see the accompanying thumbnail. All that's left is the tiny rusted spot visible above the pin in our Now Historic Photo. Honestly, what point did this serve? We thus conclude our own argument for historic preservation in all its many guises.

[107]: Well, it was inevitable I suppose—all the signs were there. I turned around after several trips' worth of taking 850 or so photographs, including Peugeot salt and pepper grinders and Scottish flag pins buried in foundations, to cross Paradise Street to return to the car—and there it was, directly opposite, a building with this sign above the door.

"You ain't gonna put me on the Muppet Wing! I ain't a bleedin' loony!

For a view of the fate that I suspect awaits me, you can click on the accompanying thumbnail, to see the fetching designer-wear that I shall be sporting this summer—complete with delicate arrow designs, to mark it as Crown property! ('Wearing the broad arrow' was Victorian slang for being in prison.) Hmmm...yes, I can see Her Majesty turning up at the Opening of Parliament in this little number! Definitely not very dressy!
Click on thumbnail
for chilling little afterthought:


Thanks to JT for very helpful suggestions about structure & for being so patient and supportive; On the Drift for technical assistance and feedback; & Jeanna for the twist on the idea that made the pseudo-easter-egg come to life. (You do realize there are several others hidden on this site, don't you?)

Also, Kerry has been a saint & shown enormous fortitude & determination throughout the parts that were Ordeal-like, although she wouldn't like me saying so 'cause it sounds too wanky to thank each other so I had to sneak it in under the wire.

Phew! After all that, we're in need of a drink!


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