Old Clarendon Building
The Old Clarendon Building
(3) The Old Clarendon Building (Plate 60) stands
on the S. side of Broad Street at the W. angle of Catte
Street. It is of two storeys with basement and attics;
the walls are ashlar-faced and the roofs are lead-covered.
It was built between the years 1711–13 from the profits
of Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion and
is from the designs of Nicholas Hawksmoor. Until
1830 it was occupied by the University Press and is
now used for various University offices. The S. and
W. fronts were restored in 1909.
The building is symmetrically designed. The N.
Front (Plate 93) has a central portico approached by a
flight of steps; it has four Doric columns supporting an
entablature and pediment with a semi-circular window;
on this and the other pediments are standing lead figures
of the Muses, one on the W. being missing; the
entablature is continued along the front. The round-headed central doorway is fitted with wrought-iron
gates with foliage scroll-work and a shield-of-arms of
the University in the head; flanking it are round-headed niches with plain imposts and key-blocks;
there is an upper range of round-headed windows
within the portico. The side-bays of the front have
segmental-headed windows to the ground and first
floors and square-headed windows to the basement.
The S. Front is similar in general design but in place
of the portico are four attached Doric columns supporting the entablature and pediment and the niches
are replaced by windows; in place of the middle
window on the first floor is a niche with a lead figure of
Lord Clarendon as Lord Chancellor, ascribed to Sir
Henry Cheere, with the inscription "Edwardus
Comes Clarendoniae Summus Angliae, Summus
Academiae." The E. and W. Ends are uniform and
are finished with pediments. The ground and first
floors have both a central segmental-headed niche,
flanked by segmental-headed recesses or windows;
the basement has windows like those on the two
Interior. The central passage has a barrel-vault.
The two staircases have twisted balusters, close strings
and square newels with pendants. The lobby on the
W. of the central passage is panelled and gives access
to the Delegates' Room; the doorway is flanked by
Doric pilasters supporting a cornice. The room (Plate
64) is lined with bolection-moulded oak panelling and
fluted Corinthian pilasters supporting the enriched entablature; the fireplace has a moulded marble surround, and in the panel above is a painted portrait of
Queen Anne, given by George Clarke in 1723. Above
the doorways on each side are bronze busts of Archbishop Laud and Lord Clarendon; the panelled doors
have early 18th-century rim-locks of brass. The basement has segmental-headed openings and a system of
groined vaulting. In the attics, part of the roof-trusses
are exposed; they are of queen-post type.
On the N., E., and W. sides of the building is a low
stone wall, bounding the basement-area, with a simple
iron railing and restored stone piers at the angles. On
the E. side this enclosure is continued to the angle
of the Schools Quadrangle; in the middle is a pair of
wrought-iron gates with a scrolled overthrow.