Oxford, England

Radcliffe Camera

In a city that is choc-a-bloc with majestic rectangular buildings, the circular Radcliffe Camera stands out distinctively. This magnificent beauty with its unique dome set on an octagonal drum is truly iconic for the sheer beauty of its architecture.

Enriching generations

The Camera, Latin for room, is just that, a mini-library of sorts but predominantly a reading room for the Bodleian Library. The two buildings are linked by an underground tunnel called the Gladstone Link.The Rad Cam, in Oxonian lingo, was born when John Radcliffe, a royal physician bequeathed substantial sums for the construction of a library. The building was designed by James Gibbs and inaugurated in 1749.

Modernity encased in history

The library’s two levels, Lower Camera and Upper Camera, are supported by beautiful Corinthian columns that make it easy to picture faded manuscripts on worn out shelves. However, Radcliffe Camera is as modern a library as any. Equipped with state-of-the- art infrastructure, the library is used extensively by the students of the University.

Unfortunately, Radcliffe Camera is not normally open to visitors but guided tours are available on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. On other days, all are welcome to admire the splendid exterior.

Handy tip:

  • Tour tickets are available online at their website.