Published 11 May 2016

The Duke of Cambridge visited the University of Oxford today to see the results of three major investment projects.

The Duke of Cambridge visits the University of Oxford

The Duke visited Magdalen College, Oxford, to officially open the College's new Longwall Library.

Originally built to house Magdalen College School in the 1850s, this building became the College's library in the 1930s. It was first opened by HRH Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) in 1932, who was himself an alumnus of the College. In 2014 construction work began to fully renovate the old library building, and a temporary library, nicknamed 'the tent' by students, was set up in St Swithun's Quad. £8 million was raised to fund the project which was completed in February this year, providing double the work space for students compared to the previous building.

The Duke looked around the library's new facilities, and will met students at work, as well as benefactors and those involved in the renovation project, before unveiling a plaque to mark his visit.

His Royal Highness then toured the Weston Library, one of the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries, before officially reopening the Library after a substantial
remodelling project.

Oxford University’s Bodleian Libraries are among the oldest in Europe, and in Britain second in size only to the British Library, with more than 12 million printed items.

The Weston Library has been reopened following a three-year £80 million transformation by Wilkinson Eyre Architects. The redesign has created a 21st-century library where scholarship and research, conservation and digitization take place and where members of the public can explore the Bodleian’s national and international treasures. The revamped special collections library now provides a world-class centre for scholarship and research, with three reading rooms, a centre for digital scholarship, and a Visiting Scholars’ Centre. The library has state of the art storage facilities that now hold more than one million items from the Bodleian’s historic collections. Members of the public can visit its two exhibition galleries, café and shop.

The Duke toured the Library, including visiting the Conservation Studio and a Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room. The Duke viewed a display of historic objects, including the key that King George VI used to first open the Library (then called the New Bodleian) in 1946, which broke off in the lock during the ceremony. At the end of the visit there was a short presentation and plaque unveiling.

At the Blavatnik School of Government The Duke met students and opened the School's new building.

The Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford is the UK’s first school of government, dedicated to inspiring and supporting better government and
public policy around the world. The School was made possible thanks to a gift of £75 million from industrialist and philanthropist, Leonard Blavatnik. It is housed in a brand new building designed by Swiss-based architects Herzog & de Meuron, with lecture theatres, exhibition and flexible teaching spaces. 

The School offers graduate students from across the world the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge for addressing global public policy challenges, combining insights from a range of disciplines including economics, law and science, as well as evidence from case studies.

The Duke met those involved in the design and construction of the new building, and spoke to students in various locations throughout the School before a short presentation and unveiling.

The Duke of Cambridge last visited Oxford University when he opened the Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre Building in September 2014.