HRH The Duke of Cambridge opens Bodleian’s Weston Library
The Weston Library, which is part of the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, opened to the public in 2015 and is now a 21st-century research library where scholarship, research, digitization and conservation take place under one roof.
The £80 million renovation of the building also created stunning new public spaces that include exhibition galleries, a lecture theatre, event space, café and shop. The Library has proved hugely popular with everyone from local residents to tourists from around the world, and has welcomed more than 800,000 visitors in the last year.
During his visit, Prince William was given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Library’s state-of-the-art facilities, accompanied by Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University, Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University, and Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian.
In the Library’s conservation studio, he was shown several treasures including a magnificent 13th ‘Glossed Bible’ covered in red velvet, which came to the Bodleian from the Library of King Henry VIII in the 16th century and has been expertly restored by staff conservators. The Duke also visited the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room where he was shown a display of historic objects, including a key used by King George VI, the Prince’s great-grandfather, to officially open what was then called the New Bodleian Library in 1946.
More than 250 invited guests, including many of the donors who supported the project, gathered in the Library’s new Blackwell Hall to watch as the Duke unveiled a plaque to mark the major transformation of the building.
In his speech, the Duke said: ‘Everything stored here, or placed here for special exhibitions, for students and non-students alike will help us come into a better understanding of the past so that we may go into the future more fully equipped to deal with the challenges that face us.’
While in Oxford, Prince William also formally opened the University’s new Blavatnik School of Government and Magdalen College’s new Longwall Library.
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