John Radcliffe (1652–1714) was a phenomenally successful Oxford-educated physician who, in the words of his acerbic contemporary Thomas Hearne, had “little learning but … a great sagacity [and] he never had his equal by which he got such a vast sum of Money.” Radcliffe left the bulk of his wealth to his alma mater with the provision that the greatest part should be spent on building a new library in central Oxford, the remainder being set aside for a new quadrangle at his old college. The largest part of the bequest, £40,000 ($62,537), led in 1737–47 to the construction of the library now known as the Radcliffe Camera. Oxford’s first hospital, the Radcliffe Infirmary, followed in 1759–67 on what was then the northern fringe of the city, and in 1773–94 the Radcliffe Observatory went up on an adjacent site. The Radcliffe Trust continues to do valuable charitable and scientific research...

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