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Founded in 1624, Pembroke was Samuel Johnson’s college, as well as J. R. R. Tolkien’s and Senator J. William Fulbright’s. 

Situated in the very heart of Oxford, the main Pembroke site is based around three principal quadrangles - Old Quad, Chapel Quad and North Quad - grouped around which are a series of 'staircases' providing accommodation for Fellows and students, administrative offices, and teaching rooms.

Old Quad, as you enter Pembroke through the Lodge, dates from the 1600s and includes an entrance to the 15th century Broadgates Hall. The south side of the quad was built in the 1620s on the City Wall and the east side was added in 1673. An archway leads from Old Quad to Chapel Quad which contains the Chapel (1732) and the Hall (1848). North Quad, which was formed by the closure of Beef Lane and the incorporation into the College of a row of houses on Pembroke Street, was opened in 1962.

The main site is complemented by the smaller Library Quad, giving access to the McGowin Library and the Almshouses which incorporate the Master's Lodgings. In 2013, Pembroke extended the College’s main site to the south by providing a further 96 en-suite bedrooms, a new multi-purpose auditorium, café and other facilities.