Wadham's 17th Century Library

26th September 2016

News, Alumni news

Back to front books, chained in place on the desks and only available to graduate students…these were normal features of seventeenth century libraries explains bibliographic historian Will Poole in a new short film about Wadham Library.

Play Will Poole in the library

“When you start a College you need four things – people, buildings, money and books”, explaims Will Poole of New College, Oxford.

Wadham was lucky when it was founded in 1610 as the founders, Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham had persuaded one man to give his entire library to the College. By deed of gift in his lifetime, Bisse gave Wadham more than two thousand books, one of the largest libraries in the country, enabling the College to have a good library from the moment its doors opened to students. Bissse’s library started a trend of giving books to the college and the then ‘private library could only be accessed by students undertaking postgraduate studies who were issued with keys.

Will goes on to talk about other donors of books including Warden Wilkins and benefactor Maria Dimmock.

Watch the film on You Tube

  • Philip Bisse

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