New Book | The Historic Heart of Oxford University

Posted in books by Editor on July 28, 2022

Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Geoffrey Tyack, The Historic Heart of Oxford University (Oxford: Bodleian Library Publishing, 2022), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-1851245284, $55.

Over eight centuries, the University of Oxford—the third oldest university in Europe—gradually came to occupy a substantial portion of the city, creating in the process a unique townscape containing the Bodleian Library, the Sheldonian Theatre, and the Radcliffe Camera. This book tells the story of the growth of the forum universitatis, as the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor called it, and relates it to the broader history of the University and the city. Based on up-to-date scholarship, The Historic Heart of Oxford University draws upon the author’s research into Oxford’s architectural history and the work of Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, James Gibbs, and Giles Gilbert Scott. Each of the eight chapters focuses on the gestation, creation, and subsequent history of a single building or pair of buildings, relating them to developments in the University’s intellectual and institutional life, and to broader themes in architectural and urban history.

Accessible and well-illustrated with plans, archival prints, and specially commissioned photography, this book will appeal to anyone who wishes to understand and enjoy Oxford’s matchless architectural heritage.

Geoffrey Tyack is an emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford, and President of the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society.


1  The University Church and the Congregation House
2  The Divinity School and the Duke Humfrey’s Library
3  The Schools Quadrangle
4  The Sheldonian Theatre
5  The Old Ashmolean Museum
6  The Clarendon Building
7  The Radcliffe Camera and Radcliffe Square
8  The New Bodleian and the Weston Library

Further Reading
Picture Credits

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