Preserving the Past, Empowering the Future
The Spencer Building stands as the most ambitious construction project at Corpus Christi College in over three centuries. As the permanent home for the Library, Archives, and Special Collections, the building promises to facilitate new research opportunities, advancing the College's academic and scholarly pursuits. For over 500 years, the treasures contained within the Library have remained largely inaccessible to the public, hidden away in vaults beneath the College. The opening of The Spencer Building will change this, making these rare and valuable materials available to researchers and scholars, inspiring innovation and fostering an environment of learning, all while safeguarding the Library's exceptional and historic collections, ensuring their preservation for posterity.
The Spencer Building will be fully Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant with the layout designed to suit the turning circles of a wheelchair, power assisted doors, disabled toilets, and two ‘rise and fall’ DDA compliant desks. Lift installation will allow direct disabled access to the first floor of the Old Library for the first time in its 504-year history.
The Spencer Building will be a place where students and researchers interact, a place of quiet study, where new research is undertaken, and where the learning of the past is accessed and shared to create the knowledge of the future. The top floor of the building will serve as a dynamic hub, where research can be transformed into a fully interconnected learning experience through immersive studies, hands-on learning, and dynamic collaborations.
The building structure has been designed to satisfy the rigorous standards of Passivehaus, with the aim of achieving ultra-low energy consumption by minimising the need for space heating. This has been accomplished through several measures, including the incorporation of high-quality insulation, the elimination of thermal bridges, the installation of high-performance triple-glazed windows with insulated frames, and the implementation of an airtight building envelope.
The Spencer Building has been conceived with the Special Collections at its heart. Corpus collections are among the finest of any Oxford college.
Our collection boasts works by some of history's greatest minds like Aristotle and Galileo, but it's our Hebraica and Judaica that truly set us apart. We're honoured to be the caretakers of one of the most important collections of Anglo-Jewish manuscripts in the world, as well as a collection of early printed books relevant to Jewish history.
Corpus, founded in 1517, was the first truly Renaissance institution in Oxford, envisioned by Bishop Fox as a "bee garden." Throughout its history, the College has remained committed to collaborative working, a core component of its founder's vision. With your support, we aspire to transform the way our students study at Corpus, by creating exceptional learning spaces that inspire and elevate their educational experience. The total cost of the building project is £16.76 million, of which we have secured £9.11 million so far, including a leading gift from Lord Michael Spencer and several other generous donors.
In this exciting final phase of the campaign, building on these significant contributions, we seek the involvement of passionate donors to help us successfully reach our fundraising goal of at least a further £3.15 million through philanthropy. Thanks to our sound financial management, Corpus is prepared to draw on its reserves to cover any remaining funds. For a visual representation of the opportunities available, please click here. If you are interested in learning more about major philanthropic donations, starting from £25,000, please feel free to email our Development Director, Liz Lyle, at email@example.com, and our Development Executive, Begina Cox, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Treasures of our library
Corpus Christi College Library is composed of modern, special and historical collections. The Special and Historical Collections include 500 medieval manuscripts, 20,000 early printed books, and the Archives, with over 10,000 items. The Library also holds approximately 70,000 modern books. Click on the images below to explore Corpus' library and its collections, which boasts unrivalled holdings collectively spanning continents, ages, languages and subjects.
Special & Historic
Hebraica & Judaica
Corpus holds a collection of 13 Hebrew manuscripts that is of profound significance in the field. Written in 12th-century England these manuscripts provide unprecedented evidence of the intellectual contacts between Jews and Christians and illustrate the early history of the Jews in England before their expulsion in 1290s.