Remembering Radcliffe: 300 years of science and philanthropy

An exhibition at the Bodleian Library,
28 November 2014 - 20 March 2015

This exhibition is now closed.

Remembering Radcliffe exhibition poster

John Radcliffe is one of Oxford's greatest benefactors. Five of its buildings bear his name: the Radcliffe Observatory, the old Radcliffe Infirmary, the new John Radcliffe Hospital, the Radcliffe Science Library, and, most famously, the Radcliffe Camera.

After studying at University College in Oxford, Radcliffe went on to become the most successful doctor of his day, and built up a large fortune. On his death in 1714 Radcliffe bequeathed the bulk of this fortune to his old University: for an extension to his old college, for setting up two travelling fellowships in medicine, and for building and maintaining a new library. He stipulated that the residue of his estate be used for charitable purposes, forming the basis of the Radcliffe Trust, which continues to this day.

Radcliffe was a practical man. He owed his success, wrote the Oxford antiquary Thomas Hearne, not to learning, but to a 'strange sagacity'. His legacy to Oxford, however, has not only given the city some of its finest buildings, but furthered three hundred years of medical and scientific research.

Explore the exhibition

Sketch of the Radcliffe Camera
Back to top