Go to the nearby University Church of St Mary the Virgin and you can climb the bell tower. Enjoy looking down on the Radcliffe Camera, and the rest of Oxford
Nestled between Brasenose and All Souls Colleges, the Radcliffe Camera is one of Oxford’s iconic buildings. It was designed by James Gibbs in the neo-classical style and built in the mid-18th century.
It was the first example of a circular library in England. It consists of three main stages and two stories internally, the upper one holding a gallery. Overhead there is a lofty dome, with beautiful and slightly dizzying geometric patterns across it, shifting like a kaleidoscope. Unfortunately, you will need to recruit a student if you want to go in!
Still, the view from outside is a treat in itself. During the summer, students lounge on the steps and cobbles outside, and the Bodleian library is just few steps away.
Jekyll & Hyde
John Radcliffe, a famous doctor, bankrolled the building — he had the John Radcliffe hospital up the road named after him too. However, Radcliffe’s contemporaries were amused that a man who scorned book learning should bequeath a large sum for a library. Sir Samuel Garth quipped that the endowment was “about as logical as if a eunuch should found a seraglio.” If you don’t know what a seraglio is, your imagination surely has an idea.
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