3 February 2015
The Bodleian showed off its treasures, 'old, new and rare', as part of BBC2's Great British Railway Journeys last week.
The television documentary series, in which Michael Portillo visits various destinations across Britain by train, featured the Bodleian Libraries on 30 January as part of a journey from Oxford to Luton.
For the episode, Bodley's Librarian Richard Ovenden hosted Michael Portillo in Duke Humfrey's Library where he presented some of the Bodleian's Victorian treasures, including the earliest surviving draft of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and a pocket-sized, first edition of Bradshaw's Railway Companion. It was this little book, a mix of railway timetables and travel guide, which inspired the Great British Railway Journeys series, and the guide mentions the Bodleian's extensive collection of books 'old, new and rare.'
Focusing on the future, the Bodleian's segment continued with a look inside the newly refurbished Weston Library, which opened to the readers last autumn and opens to the public on 21 March.
'It's really going to be future proofed for very high bandwidth to enable the highest level of digital scholarship, the new exhibition galleries are going to be freely open to the public. You name it, it’s going to be open to the world,' Ovenden said about the Weston Library.