The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university. It has no known foundation date. Teaching at Oxford existed in some form as early as 1096, but it is unclear when a university came into being. It grew quickly from 1167 when English students returned from the University of Paris, having been banned by Henry II from attending there. The historian Gerald of Waleslectured to such scholars in 1188 and the first known foreign scholar, Emo of Friesland, arrived in 1190. The head of the university had the title of chancellor from at least 1201, and the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation in 1231. The university was granted a royal charter in 1248 during the reign of King Henry III. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled from the violence to Cambridge, later forming the University of Cambridge.
The Radcliffe Camera (colloquially known as the "Rad Cam" or "The Camera"; from Latin camera, meaning 'room') is a building of Oxford University, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737–49 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.
The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With over 12 million items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library.
The bridge links together the Old and New Quadrangles of Hertford College, and was designed by Sir Thomas Jackson. It was completed in 1914, despite its construction being opposed by New College. The bridge is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because of its supposed similarity to the famous Bridge of Sighs in Venice.