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Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

4.5
#29 of 260 in Things to do in Oxford
The Radcliffe Camera is a building of Oxford University, England, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737–49 to house the Radcliffe Science Library. It is sited to the south of the Old Bodleian, north of St. Mary's Church, and between Brasenose College to the west and All Souls College to the east.
The Library's construction and maintenance was funded from the estate of John Radcliffe, a notable doctor, who left £40,000 upon his death in 1714. According to the terms of his will, construction only began in 1737, although the intervening period saw the complex purchase of the site. The exterior was complete in 1747 and the interior finished by 1748, although the Library's opening was delayed until 13 April 1749.
Upon completion, Francis Wise was appointed as its first librarian. Until 1810, the Library housed books covering a wide range of subjects, but under Dr George Williams it narrowed its focus to the sciences. Williams brought the Library from a state of neglect up to date, although by 1850 the Radcliffe Library still lagged behind the Bodleian. It was at this point that Henry Wentworth Acland, then librarian, laid out plans for the Radcliffe Library building to merge with the University and the Library's collection of books to be moved to the newly constructed Radcliffe Science Library, which were accepted by the Library's trustees and the University. It was at this point that the building became known as the Radcliffe Camera, serving as a reading room for the Bodleian.
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  • Designed by James Gibbs, whose other work includes St Martin's in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, and St Mary le Strand opposite the World famous King's College London, the building was constructed betw...  more »
  • If you are in Oxford city centre the Camera buildng will be within easy walking distance. Visitors are not allowed to enter the building but it is nice enough to take a walk around the outside and adm...  more »
  • As mentioned several times by others, the library is not open to the public. But this does not detract from the matter, the building is also absolutely worth seeing from the outside. As we noticed during our visit in August 2018, it is even used as a background for wedding pictures. Since we did not want to put the newlyweds "too much on the pelle" we did not take the photographing.
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  • This building is stunning. Unfortunately, visitors can't go in, but it is completely understandable. A must-see in Oxford!
  • One of the most inspiring places for studying in Oxford. Beautiful architecture, eduroam access, plenty of bibliographic resources. Access is granted for all Oxford Students and other registered readers.
  • Radcliffe camera is the part of Bodelian library. It is a science library and serves as reading room as well. If you wish you to see the insides of the library the only way you can do is by taking the extended guided tour of Bodelian library. We could not go inside as we were not aware of this information that time ! But we did manage look it from outside !! Hope this review helps
  • Beautiful building. Didn't get to visit inside. Lots of tourists taking pictures at this spot.
  • Such grandeur and such history oozes out of every brick of this marvelous structure! Felt like starting at it got hours together!
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