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One of the main street in Oxford is Broad Street. Landmarks on this street are of course the Clarendon Building which is part of the Bodleian Library and the Sheldonian Theatre. The street is lined with many shops and at the other end of the street the shopping street starts. Broad Street has a very rich history dating back to 911 AD. If you are interested in reading more about this I suggest you follow the link which will give you a tour of the street and the the buildings it houses.
- Historical Travel
The statues outside Sheldonian Theatre
There are statues of bearded men outside the Sheldonian Theatre. Apparently nobody knows who they are - very strange, isn't it? I mean there's always smart people who find out everything and in Oxford there is these statues and nobody found out who they are!
The Sheldonian Theatre is Oxford's centre for university ceremonials.
One for Bibliophiles everywhere
Broad street is the location for one of the finest bookshops in the word. They began life in 1879 with a store of just 12 square feet. It's exapnded a little since. For this reason it has a 'tardis' feel about it - it is dramatically bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside.
For the geeks amongst you, the following fact may interest you :
It now has about 200,000 volumes on display at any one time. The Norrington room which was excaved under the bowels of a nearby college has three miles of bookselves and claims to be the biggest display of books in the world in any one room. I somehow doubt this, but that's Oxford for you.
For the non-geeks amongst you :
It has a coffee shop
Broad Street runs parallel to High Street and is connected by a number of back lanes, alleyways and the busy Cornmarket Street at its western end.
Wider than High Street, its more eclectic in style but there's still a number of college buildings lining both sides of the street. It's hard to get a full perspective - modern day demands have resulted in a central parking zone. But the alternative method of transport - the bicycle - usually outnumbers cars...
At the eastern end, the stunning Sheldonian Theatre and the colonnades of the Clarendon Building dominate - head west and you'll see Exeter College and, on the other side of the road, the open vistas of Trinity (the grounds are fenced rather than walled) followed by Balliol - 2nd oldest college in the city.
There's also a selection of shops - including the first Oxfam (established in 1947) at #17 and Boswells, the largest independent department store and which was established in 1738.
- Historical Travel
Designed by Hawksmoor (Wren's greatest pupil and designer, among others, of Christ Church Spitalfields and St George's Bloomsbury, both in London) and built between 1711 and 1713 and housed the Oxford University Press.
The Press moved out in the 19th century and, after more than 150 years of university administrative offices, became part of the Bodleian Library in 1975 and is used for offices.
It's not open to the public.
Home to sights such as Bailiol College and the Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street is one of the more picturesque streets in Oxford City Centre. It is also home to the original Blackwell's bookstore- a reminder of Oxford's connections with publishing.
The Bearded Statues
Among the most striking sights on Broad Street are the 13 (?!) statue heads at the entrance to the Sheldonian Theatre. I think the official name for these is 'The Emperors' Heads' though I prefer 'The Bearded Statues'. I can't decide what these guys represent and neither, it seems, can any of the historians. Have you any ideas??
This rather grand street contains many University buildings, and is bordered by Balliol & Trinity College.
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