Last week, on the TOG work experience placement, we visited St Benet’s, a permanent private hall (PPH), for lunch, to find out more about PPHs, and to demystify some of the rumours you hear about St Benet’s and other PPHs.
We were shown around and it struck me as a really lovely place to be, like a second home – you even enter through a proper front door! Everyone seemed to get along so well and everything was really relaxed. (Can you get college envy for a PPH?!).
We had a chat with two current undergrads, Natasha and Joe, to find out more…
R: Firstly, what is the difference between a college and a permanent private hall (PPH)?
J: The short answer is size – PPHs are a lot smaller.
N: That’s definitely the only one we notice.
J: The long and complicated answer is that colleges are self-owned by their Fellows. We’re not; we’re owned by Ampleforth Abbey, and so we’re not operated by Fellows. Our Master has a perpetual licence from the University to operate St Benet’s.
N: We’re hoping to be a college one day, which will be an exciting change! Teddy Hall used to be a PPH but is now a college.
R: Do you have to be religious to be offered a place at Benet’s?
J: PPHs themselves don’t actually have to be religious, but they all happen to be. You don’t have to be religious to come to St Benet’s, though! Our chapel is open to anyone of any faith, or no faith at all.
R: What subjects does St Benet’s offer for undergraduates?
J: We offer Classics, History (and History & Politics), Oriental Studies (language options for this include Arabic, Turkish, etc.), Theology, Philosophy & Theology, and Politics, Philosophy & Economics.
R: How many students are there at Benet’s in each year group?
J: There are 20, plus graduates.
N: Graduates are a big part of our hall, so it’s important to include them.
J: There will be 82 of us in total this October.
St Benet’s was a completely lovely place – it’s well worth a look around!