Sir Christopher Wren and Oxford
Christopher Wren was first at Oxford as an undergraduate but later designed a number of buildings, most notably the Sheldonian Theatre. Not wanting to give it a Gothic roof, and unable to span the width of the roof with single timbers, he used a novel "grid floor" system developed by an Oxford Professor and mathematician, John Wallis. This involved trusses supporting each other in a network, and was so ingenious the Bodleian were able to store a great weight of books in the roof space. These caused the ceiling to sag a little, but it stayed intact.
The Georgian period
Eighteenth Century Oxford saw the coming and going of many great men, with or without their degrees: Dr Johnson, William Pitt the elder, John Wesley, Jeremy Bentham ... During this period, however, the University had a reputation for idle hedonism, and one Whig critic wrote of "debauchees professing Moral Philosophy, and teachers of Astronomy who never looked soberly on the stars." Student numbers fell. In 1765 only 170 matriculated (compared with about 4,000 a year today); of the 170, only 98 received their degrees.
Worcester College was founded in 1714 by a Worcestershire baronet; it was known as 'Worcester College, near Oxford' and sometimes even as 'Botany Bay' because of its remoteness. Beaumont Street was not a thoroughfare until the 1820s, so the nearest approach was across Gloucester Green.
The Radcliffe Camera is now part of the Bodleian. The architect was James Gibbs, who also designed St Martin-in-the-Fields, in London. In the Oxford novel Verdant Green (now, sadly, out of print), the gullible young fresher has the Camera pointed out to him: "That is the Vice-Chancellor's house. He has to go each night up to that balcony on the top, and look around to see if all's safe."
The Holywell Music Room claims to be the oldest concert hall in Europe. Handel's oratio Esther was performed for the opening in 1748, since when it has given hospitality to many great musicians. One of the strangest moments in its history occurred in the 1920s, when Thomas Driberg recited his poems through a megaphone to an accompaniment of typewriters. The climax was the loud flushing of the lavatory, which in those days was just behind the platform.