Rhodes House Library

Yes, that Rhodes. Founder of the diamond company De Beers, the imperialist’s imperialist and namesake of both the country of Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe) and the Rhodes Scholarship. This was not his house, but built as a memorial to him and a home for the scholars in 1928. It’s more Arts and Crafts than 1920s Gothic; its rotunda is not exactly part of the building and it looks blocky and awkward from some angles, like a set of bedroom furniture in a too-small room (you can rent it for your wedding!). Nevertheless the library is lovely: now called The Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House, it “specialises in the history and current affairs – political, economic and social – of the Commonwealth and sub-Saharan Africa including the offshore islands.” Even Oxonians are surprised to find that anyone can use this library–just wave to the porter and try not to make too much noise in the rotunda (photo 2, it echoes). Once inside note the beautiful William Morris textile, with figures designed by Edward Burne-Jones (photo 3) on the way to the library upstairs. Happy studying!


Find out more about the library:


Find out more about the building here:

http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/rhodes-house  (You can take a virtual tour! But not including the library)


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