1869 – Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford

Architect: Thomas Newenham Deane


“The museum built at Oxford, under the direction of Messr. Deane & Woodward, a few years ago, attracted, as onr readers will remember, much attention, partly becanae of its architectural character, partly because of the battle which raged in the University between the New and the Old as to the introduction or exclusion of complete means of scientific education. It seems strange that already within ten years the fine accommodation requires extension. The department of physics, ably presided over by Professor Clifton, F.R.S., ia to be wholly remodelled — indeed created. Mr. T.N. Deane, who also designed the new buildings at Christ Church, is the architect of the work. The funds were provided by the judicious wisdom of Mr. Gladstone, Lord Carnarvon, and Sir William Heathcote, trustees of a fund left by the great Lord Clarendon, and arising from the sale of his works. The fund had been long accumulating, and in consequence of the terms of the will the disposal of it came absolutely into the trustees’ hands. Looking at the needs of national scientific education, they acted wisely in erecting the Clarendon Laboratory for the study of physics, the most precise and the moat fundamental of the circle of natural sciences. The building is arranged to meet the requirements of the three courses into which the study of physic must bo divided, viz., experimental lectures on the principles of the science, mathematical lectures on the physical theories, and praclical study of experimental methods.

In the portion of the building to bo used as the Laboratory, arrangements have been made for properly fixing the different instruments used in accurate experiments, the apparatus required for each branch of physics being placed in a separate room. A student wishing to use any instrument, will perform his experiments with the apparatus thus fixed, and will not move it to a place allotted to himself; in this respect a physical laboratory must differ from a chemical laboratory, as It is often impossible to move physical apparatus without causing great delay, and often injury to the instrument.

On the ground-floor, the theatre for experimental lectures occupies tho east side, and is joined at the south end by a store-room, to be ; used also as a laboratory for preparing experiments for the lectures; joining this on the sonth side, are two rooms for spectrum analysis and radiant heat. At the south-west corner and half the west side, are the private laboratories of tbo professors, and the remainder of the west side ia devoted to the entrance passage, the porter’s room, and the staircase. At the north west corner is the room for instruments used in weighing and measuring; and joining this, on the north side, are two rooms for heat, one room for statical electricity, and a room for acoustics. On the first floor, on the south side, is a large room for the study of optics. At the south-west corner ia the private room of the professor, and joining it, on the west side, the library and it students’ common room. At the north-west corner is a lecture-room for theoretical lectures, «and on the north side are the rooms for dynamic electricity.

In the roof of the west side is a long gallery for optical experiments, and over the sonth end of the theatre are the photographic rooms. The central space, which ia open from the ground to the roof, and is surrounded by a gallery, is to be used for storing the apparatus which is not in use; and in it experiments, for which a considerable height is required, are to be performed. The basement contains a room for the study of magnetism, store-rooms, and battery-rooms. Some small workshops are attached to the building, and a covered passage connects it with the museum. The theatre will accommodate l00 students, and forty students can work simultaneously in the laboratories. The cost of the building will be about 10,300. The builder is Mr. Symm, of Oxford; the local superintendent, Mr. Bramwell.

Last Updated June 21st, 2024 at 4:45 pm