Radcliffe Square is a square
in central Oxford, England.
completely surrounded by historic Oxford University and college buildings.
The Radcliffe Camera in Radcliffe
Square, with the spire of St Mary's, the University church,
The square is
cobbled, laid to grass surrounded by railings in the centre, and is
pedestrianised except for access.
is named after John
Radcliffe, a student of the university who became doctor to the
King, made a large fortune, and left a significant legacy to the
University and his college (University College), which is nearby in the High
Street to the south.
centrepiece of the square is the circular and imposing Radcliffe
Camera, a library (originally for science) paid for by
John Radcliffe's legacy, built 1737–48. This is part of the
Library, the main building of which is situated immediately
to the north of the square.
The two are connected by an
underground tunnel and there are many books stored under the square
(with space for around 600,000 volumes). These books may be
requested by readers. There used to be a small underground railway
to transport books between the Radcliffe Camera and the main
Bodleian site.To the west is Brasenose College, one of Oxford's older colleges.
east is All Souls
College, which only has fellows and no students, and is
thus largely dedicated to research.
A good view can be had
through the gate leading to the square, since although these are
normally locked, they consist of metal railings. The eastern side of
the square forms part of Catte Street.
southern side of the square is the University
Church of St Mary the Virgin, with its tall spire.
This is the official
church of Oxford University and is where the Oxford Martyrs
were tried for heresy. A good
view of Radcliffe Square and the rest of central Oxford is
available from the tower, which is open to the public for a
The square is widely regarded as the most beautiful in Oxford, and
is very popular with tourists. There are no modern buildings to be
seen, so it is also used as a setting for period films (e.g.,
, in which Brasenose featured as Sherlock Holmes
The square is also rumoured to be part of the venue for the
Brasenose Ball 2009 which celebrates 500 years of the
ornamental railinged gate of All Souls College on Radcliffe
Square.Image:Radcliffe Square towards church of St
Mary the Virgin.jpg|The south east corner of Radcliffe Square,
looking towards St Mary's.Image:The mid eastern side of radcliffe
square.jpg|The mid eastern side of Radcliffe Square, towards
College.Image:The south east corner of Radcliffe
Square from above.jpg|The south east corner of Radcliffe Square, as
viewed from St Mary's, with All Souls College at the top of the picture.
- Geoffrey Tyack, Oxford: An architectural guide. Oxford
University Press, 1998. ISBN 9780198174233. Page 166.