"The warmth of the yellow interior light works well against the rich blue paintwork and the cold grey and white of the snow and ice." J J Marshall
URBANPIX CAPTION for this Oxford card:
The Blackwell family opened its first bookshop at 50 Broad Street, Oxford, on 1 January 1879. It was one room in one shop, but soon expanded into three neighbouring shops. Blackwell’s is like a tardis in that most of it cannot be seen from the street: in 1966 a 10,000 square foot subterranean extension was built under Trinity College Quad to house another 160,000 books along three miles of shelving. It was named the Norrington Room after the President of Trinity College Sir Arthur Norrington.
Blackwell’s is one of the few bookshops to feature in poetry:
‘There in the Broad, within whose booky house
Half England’s scholars nibble books or browse.
Where’er they wander blessed fortune theirs:
Books to the ceiling, other books upstairs;
Books, doubtless, in the cellar and behind
Romantic bays, where iron ladders wind.
(John Masefield 1878-1967)
Broad Street is broad because it was built outside the city wall and hence was not constrained by lack of space. In 1667 the east end of the street was made broader by the demolition of a central row of houses removed to improve the view of the Sheldonian Theatre. The breadth of the west end was enhanced in 1772 when a wall and garden in front of Balliol College were removed. This left a lovely wide expanse which in 1885 was filled by a portable wooden cabmen’s shelter (for horse-and-cab drivers) luxuriously furnished with books, seats and a ‘substantial tea and dinner service’. An example of one of these wooden shelters can be seen in St Giles, though it has been converted to sell refreshments.