Tour Locations | Know your Oxford: tour with AR for new and prospective students
This magnificent courtyard is one of my favourite parts of Oxford. The impressive stone facade on your right is part of the Bodleian Library. You should spot a statue of a bearded gentleman near its entrance. That’s William Herbert, a former Chancellor of the University, who was closely connected to William Shakespeare! Go and stand by that statue while you hear from someone who works inside the Bod.
N: Hello I'm Natasha Kennedy, the Reader Services Librarian of the Bodleian Library and we are currently stood in the Old Schools Quad of the Bodleian Library.
It's called the Old Schools Quad because originally students used to come here and have their lessons in the rooms of all the different doors you can see around the court. These rooms were used starting in 1610.
So now I want you to stay out here and I'm going to go into the Briscoliam, which is the big gate at the entrance into the Bodleian Library and we're going to walk through the reading rooms. If you'd like to visit the reading rooms yourself, you can come on a library tour during the university open days. Or you can pay for a tour through our venue services through the ticket office underneath the great gate.
AB: Of course, if you’re a student, you can come in whenever!
N: If you look up above the library entrance you'll see a big window and that is where I am stood now. This is Duke Humphreys Library, the oldest part of the Bodleian Libraries and it was built in 1488. It is also extremely recognisable from being used as Hogwarts library in the Harry Potter films. There are floor to ceiling shelves of special collections, which are rare books. And the ceiling is decorated in the University of Oxford crests. I would recommend coming and visiting Duke Humphreys Library as only then can its full splendour be appreciated.
AB: There’s another 3D object you can interact with here. Just open it up and place it on a flat surface, like you did at the Ashmolean.
This is a leather deed box that dates back to 1621, not that long after the Bodleian was first opened to scholars in 1602, through the efforts of Sir Thomas Bodley. It’s called a deed box because it was made to store four legal bonds that were drawn up by the library in an unsuccessful attempt to recover money that Bodley had left to it in his will – but one of the will’s executors refused to pay out.
If you’re working hard to read the words on the lining, I’m afraid they aren’t significant. It’s waste paper recycled from an almanac of 1621.
When you’re ready, stand with your back to the Bodleian Library, head to your right and exit the courtyard. So you're leaving via the door on your right.