You might remember our Wednesday Word camera from a few weeks ago. Reader Fran recently took an entirely unnecessary trip to England — a frivolous jaunt with “friends,” not including me — and ran across an Oxford edifice named the Radcliffe Camera.
As you’ll recall, the Latin root camera means “room” or “chamber.” The Radcliffe Camera is a former library, now a reading room, referred to by irreverent students as the Rad Cam. Wikipedia describes it this way: “The Radcliffe Camera’s circularity, its position in the heart of Oxford, and its separation from other buildings make it the focal point of the University of Oxford.” This camera takes no photos but is a big room, reflecting the word’s Latin root.
In 1714, a physician named John Radcliffe left 40,000 pounds for the building’s construction in his will. Radcliffe was a member of Parliament and, for a time, physician to King William III. He was also a rich guy. The library that took his name was finished in 1749.
Thanks for the heads up, Fran. Next time, take me.