"The shape of the archway mirrors the shape of the dome and ground level arches of the Radcliffe Camera. The ironwork adds interest to this black and white photo." J J Marshall
Radcliffe Camera and Radcliffe Square are named after John Radcliffe, a student of University College and doctor to the King, who in 1714 bequeathed £40,000 (to be paid annually in £10,000 sums ‘after the decease of my two sisters’), to build a science library known today as the Radcliffe Camera.
In 1734 Nicholas Hawksmoor and James Gibbs were invited to submit plans and Gibbs’ circular, English Palladian style design was chosen. Externally, Gibbs divided the building into three stages: the ground stage which has eight pedimented projections; the central stage with bays divided by coupled Corinthian columns; the top stage decorated with a balustrade and vases. Work began in 1737 and finished in 1749. In 1909-12 a two-floor underground book store was added with a tunnel to connect it with the Bodleian Library on the north side of the square. Today, the Radcliffe Camera is used as a reading room for the Bodleian and isn’t open to the public.