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MARKS OF GENIUS Blackwell’s Bookshop is honoured to support the Marks of Genius exhibition. Our involvement continues the fine tradition of friendship and collaboration between two of Oxford's oldest and most famous institutions.

The Blackwell family has been intimately connected with the Bodleian Library since my grandfather, Benjamin Henry Blackwell, opened his shop on Broad Street 135 years ago. Our relationship since then has been a close and happy one, the two institutions sharing the common goal of supporting the work of scholars and readers all over the world. Toby Blackwell


The HERITAGE OF BLACKWELL'S Since opening its doors on January 1st 1879, Blackwell's has become a beacon for book lovers the world over. Trading over four floors it has a unique proposition of new, used, rare and antiquarian books for sale. Sir Basil Blackwell, son of the founder Benjamin Henry Blackwell, was knighted in 1956 - the only bookseller ever to be so honoured.

Shop front 1910

Sir Basil Blackwell

Shop front present day

The shop is mentioned in numerous books and has been used in a variety of films, most notably as a favourite haunt of Inspector Morse.

Blackwell’s was involved in publishing ventures since its inception. On 1st December 1915, Basil Blackwell was the first to publish JRR Tolkien when ‘Goblin Feet’ appeared in ‘Oxford Poetry’. JRR Tolkein. Portrait by John Wyatt


the norrington room Constructed under the supervision of Toby Blackwell in 1966, our vast basement is the academic heart of Blackwell’s Bookshop. Named after Sir Arthur Norrington, then President of Trinity College, it is quite simply, one of the world’s greatest rooms of books and is an essential place to see if you are visiting Oxford.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, we began to redefine our horizons a little bit by putting on our most ambitious events. We collaborated with the wonderful Creation Theatre, transforming our Philosophy Department into a theatre. Thousands of people have witnessed versions of ‘Doctor Faustus’, ‘Hamlet’, ‘The Odyssey’ and ‘Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde’.


authors at blackwell’s We care deeply about our relationships with the many authors here in Oxford and across the world. Over recent years, we have been honoured to host events with such figures as Lord Alan Bullock, Lord Kenneth Clark, Marilynne Robinson, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sir David Attenborough, Philip Pullman and Kazuo Ishiguro to name a handful.

Images courtesy John Cairns

Donna Tartt

Malorie Blackman

Muhammad Ali

We run a nationally-renowned author events programme consisting of over 200 events per year, including talks, panel discussions, book launches, reading groups, a writer’s group, and much more besides!


the bawden mural Celebrated English artist Edward Bawden was commissioned to create a mural for the shop, which he completed in 1972. His last major piece is freely available to view by any visitor to the shop. The figures represented here include King Charles I and his wife the Queen Consort, Henrietta Maria. Eagle-eyed observers may even spot Sir Basil, ‘The Gaffer’.

Photography by Eve Swanevelder / Isha Photography


Blackwell’s of Oxford Whilst Blackwell's is a nationwide chain serving 56 institutes of Higher Education with Flagship Stores in Cambridge, London and Edinburgh it is our Oxford branch that is the heart and soul of the company. Our booksellers are passionate experts who love nothing more than sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for books.

Situated across four floors, including the vast Norrington Room, is an unrivalled range of departments, from Anthropology to Zoology. Placing the customer at the heart of every decision means that we aspire to the very highest standards of customer care. Become a Blackwellian today!


worldwide book supply Whether you are an individual customer or buying on behalf of an institution our position at the forefront of international book supply for over a century ensures that we have a tailored service to suit your needs. We offer credit accounts, personalised account management and online ordering. Distance is no barrier to you benefiting from the full Blackwell's experience.

Blackwell’s can offer access to 500,000 titles for immediate despatch. For further information about our international book supply service and our credit facility arrangements for libraries and companies, please contact sean.pratley@blackwell.co.uk or telephone +44 1865 333 671


visit us We love it when customers from afar take the time to visit the shop - let us know that you are coming and we can arrange a tour of the shop or book you onto one of our famed Literary Walking Tours. You can keep up to date with news, events and book recommendations by visiting our shop page www.blackwell.co.uk/oxford

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

Blackwell’s Bookshop 48-51, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BQ @blackwelloxford +44 1865 333 671

Blackwell.co.uk/oxford broadconversation.com oxford@blackwell.co.uk


Blackwell's of Oxford - Marks of Genius