Women at Balliol Sundial
A new sundial engraved with the words About Time celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of women undergraduates arriving at Balliol, one of Oxford University's oldest colleges.
History professor Lyndal Roper (on the right in the photo), who has written on women of the Reformation, and Balliol alumna, Nicola Horlick (left) unveiled the sundial in the quad of Balliol College, Oxford, England, on 2nd December 2010.
The apt engraving About Time - on the base of the sundial and reflected on the globe of the sundial itself - won a competition amongst women students at the College for an inscription which captured the spirit of what it was all about. The base also bears the words: For all women at Balliol: past present and future – to denote that all woman involved at Balliol are part of the celebration, and not only students and academics.
A time-capsule within the sundial contains the names and signatures of current Balliol women – fellows, graduates, undergraduate and staff. There is also a list and signatures of that first 1979 cohort of women undergraduates.
A line on the dial that marks the day that the first woman undergraduate entered Balliol lights up each year on that date – 11th October – thanks to a special notch on the time telling gnomon.
Balliol College was the first of the traditional all-male Oxford colleges to elect a woman as a Fellow and Tutor in 1973, with students following six years later. A booklet, Women at Balliol, published to mark the anniversary, tells their story.
Set on a plinth of Purbeck Stone, the sundial, a shimmering silver orb, tells the time during the day but also doubles as a moon dial on the nights of the full moon, and on the three or four nights before and after as the moon waxes and wanes. At other times, the moon does not cast enough light to be able to tell the time.
The 70cm diameter stainless steel, mirror-polished moon dial is etched with lines representing the Polar circles, the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer and an Equatorial Line.
Three bands above the Equator depict the three days before the Full Moon (waxing), the central Full Moon scale and the three days after (waning).
The sphere also has a lattice of thin lines representing the lines of longitude in 15 degree intervals and latitude in 15 degree intervals.
Celebrating the Thirtieth Anniversary
of the first admission of women undergraduates to Balliol 1979 - 2009features on either side of the gnomon.