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Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

4.5
#27 of 236 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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Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • This is one of Oxford's most iconic buildings situated in the cobbled Radcliffe Square opposite the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. It is a library building (Bodleian) of Oxford University...  more »
  • A very nice square, which you will definitely come across if you are in Oxford. And if you do not come across it, you have not explored the university grounds thoroughly.  more »
  • This is a beautiful building to walk around and take some pictures of. Unfortunately we couldn’t get in, as it was closed to the public.  more »
Google
  • Although it's not open to public, but the view and the story behind this library where mr Radcliffe himself didn't have the chance to see the building is just inspiring.
  • Oxford is fabulous for a day trip - there's something about the golden stone, the winding cobbled streets, punting and the architecture that is great to visit. Radcliffe Camera is iconic, though if anything the tourists wading through in large groups, all each asking you in turn to take their photo, that makes it a little claustrophobic dependent on what time you go. Worth a trip in the sun of the early morning.
  • Beautiful for either the interior or the exterior space. Make a RESERVATION at least 2 weeks ahead on the website or go to the ticket office at the earliest time for the ticket for the guided tour, which is the only way to visit inside.
  • Landmark of Oxford. It is a library, actually! So grateful to have access to the building. It is easy to be captivated by the ambience of the place; makes you feel smarter just to be there! A place you must visit in Oxford.
  • A nice building to look at.
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