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This article considers the agricultural depression of 1873-96, and its implications for college finances and educational provision at Oxford from 1871 to 1913. Most colleges’ agricultural income decreased markedly in money terms, particularly between 1883 and 1893, but the depression’s impact was unevenly spread across the colleges. A general fall in the cost of living index mitigated the colleges’ loss of income. No marked redistribution of income occurred. Collegiate contributions to the university proved less than anticipated and consequently university teaching, including scientific education, suffered.