Radcliffe Camera

Radcliffe Camera is a building from the 18th century in Oxford, England. The rotunda at Radcliffe Square near the city center was originally home to a library and is now used as a reading room.


The idea for the round building goes back to Nicholas Hawksmoor, but died in 1736 before work began on the library. The building was then built by James Gibbs in the years 1737-1749 on the basis of his plans.

The building is named after its founder Dr. John Radcliffe (1650-1714), the personal physician of Queen Anne. He asked for the construction of the library 40,000 pounds available. John Radcliffe was also the founder of Oxford's first hospital, the Radcliffe Infirmary. Camera comes from Latin and means room, vault.

Since 1860, the Radcliffe Camera of the Bodleian Library. In 1927, the two-storey building of the university was left to use. In it, two reading rooms are housed in which books of English literature and history can be viewed.

An underground corridor in the north connects the Radcliffe Camera since 1912, with a further library of the University and also serves as a storage and reading room for books and journals in political science.

Today's use

The access to the reading room is students of the University of Oxford reserved. The lower of the two floors is Lower Camera denotes the upper floor with its remarkable arc Upper Gallery Camera. The building, framed by the Bodleian Library and the University Church of St Mary, is one of the main attractions and most photographed buildings of Oxford.