I have to be honest. The title of this post is my attempt at ‘click bait’. No pun intended! But I do promise you that there is a shark involved. I was looking for some inspiration for a post on Oxford, where Oxford English Academy’s flagship school is located. I was thinking about something that potential students might want to hear about. What interesting activities, sights and landmarks can they visit when they choose to learn English with us? There are the usual touristy things like the Carfax Tower, the Radcliffe Camera, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Harry Potter and the Oxford University. There are many reasons to visit Oxford, but what about a quirkier, weirder Oxford? Does this exist? As a matter of fact it does and one such example is The Headington Shark.
The shark is an enormous sculpture that is sticking out of an ordinary house in an ordinary street in Headington, just outside of Oxford. Bill Heine, a radio presenter, commissioned sculptor John Buckley to create this surprising and peculiar piece of art in the 1980s. It was meant to speak of the fear, helplessness and desperation of nuclear war and reactor accidents, especially in light of Chernobyl and Nagasaki. Apparently the city council were initially aghast and horror-struck that such a 25 foot monstrosity should be protruding into their pristine sky and environment. Luckily they were convinced to allow the shark to stay and the shark has since become a major celebrity. In 2014, it was ranked in the top 25 of the most creative statues and sculptures, worldwide. Now that has to be good for tourism and the overall coolness of Headington! So if you are planning to learn English in Oxford with Oxford English Academy, then ask our students services coordinator to include the Heading Shark in your social programme. It will be well worth the visit!