Tour Locations | Know your Oxford: tour without AR for new prospective students
The modern, sandstone building on your left is the Weston Library and it's a great place to know. Find a spot that's out of the way and I'll tell you about it.
The Weston is part of the Bodleian Libraries, a series of libraries that holds every book ever published in the UK since the 17th century. So, needless to say, you need quite a lot of space for all these books.
This extension was built in 1940 to accommodate the overflow, but instead of books, it was World War 2 operations that moved in. From here, the Blood Transfusion and Intelligence Services operated, and the entire bottom floor of the Weston even served as a large air-raid shelter!
When the war ended, King George VI finally came to inaugurate it. But the silver key got stuck and broke in the lock! A bit awkward. After a bit of fumbling around, they finally managed to open it, and enter the library.
Today, a lot of books are stored in warehouses, and are brought here in vans for people who order them, or delivered to one of the university’s many reading rooms. The Weston still holds lots of special items - it even has the first folio of Shakespeare’s plays.
There's usually a free exhibition on, so if you're feeling up to it, pause the audio and go and check it out. While we’re here, I should also say that if you’re looking at the Weston Library and you take the road to the right of it, you’d eventually come to the science area, where some of you will have your lectures. The University Parks are also up there - it’s another lovely place where students play sport and relax.
Now, turn around so your back is toward the Weston Library.
Do you see that large, circular building across the road, with a small white tower on top? That's the Sheldonian Theatre. Cross the road and head towards it. There are a couple of steps on the far pavement that lead to the Sheldonian. They're the steps guarded by all those Emperor heads. Stop when you reach them.