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Oxford Randolph hotel fire believed to have started in kitchen

The MacDonald Randolph Hotel in Oxford

A fire which broke out at an Oxford hotel this afternoon is not thought to be suspicious.

Police have remained at the MacDonald Randolph Hotel this evening after the blaze, which is believed to have started in the ground floor kitchen.

Officers were called to the historic building on Beaumount Street at 4.37pm, following reports of smoke coming from the roof.

Three people were checked over by paramedics at the scene but they didn't require further medical attention.

“Following a fire at the Randolph Hotel, a major incident has been declared. We are supporting our colleagues in Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service who are at the scene.

“We are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum and would like to thank members of the public for their patience and their cooperation

– Supt Christian Bunt, LPA Commander for Oxford

ITV Meridian has learned a significant number of guests and staff from the Randolph and nearby buildings have been evacuated.

All of the floors and rooms in the hotel have been searched and it's not believed anyone remains inside the building.

Road closures in the area will remain in place in to the night, while officers say they are working to try to enable the city to return to normality 'as quickly as possible'.

Road closures in the area include Beaumont Street, Magdalen Street and St Giles.

A diversion for cars is in place via Walton Street and on to St Margaret's Road and Woodstock Road.

A diversion for taxis and buses is in place via Parks Road, Broad Street and George Street.

Motorists and members of the public are advised to avoid the area due to the ongoing disruption.


Reaction to large fire at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford

March by the English Defence League through Oxford

The English Defence League (EDL) will hold a march in Oxford today.

Thames Valley Police is working with the protest organisers to facilitate a peaceful demonstration and our aim is to ensure that the impact on local people, businesses and visitors to the city is minimised.

The protestors, along with a counter demonstration by Unite Against Fascism (UAF), are expected to be in the city centre from mid morning onwards. The Force does not at this stage have confirmation of the start time or the planned route.

Thames Valley Police is working with partners to facilitate a peaceful protest, and an increased number of officers will be available for deployment.

Demonstrations of this nature have the potential to worry local residents and businesses in Oxford. We have therefore been working closely with partner organisations and community groups to try and minimise disruption, provide reassurance and, as far as possible, maximise the safety of those taking part in the protest.

There are no planned road closures at this stage but drivers are advised to avoid the area as there are likely to be delays.

Man who fell overboard releases book about his dramatic rescue

Andrew Taylor was suffering from hypothermia and shock when he was rescued Credit: ITV Meridian

Exactly one year after he was rescued from the North Pacific, a novice sailor has released a book about his fight for survival.

Andrew Taylor who's 47 and from Oxford, was taking part in the Clipper round the world yacht race when he was hit by a huge wave and swept out to sea. A violent storm meant Andrew spent nearly two hours in the freezing water.

Today he is releasing his book 179West - named after the exact co-ordinates where he fell overboard.


Historic murder case reopened

Twenty years ago today, a mother of four from Oxford was murdered in her own home, her body was found by her young children.

In 1995 Nasreen Akhtar had been strangled, and although her husband Hakim Khan stood trial for her murder, he was acquitted due to the lack of evidence.

Well today, the case has been reopened, with an appeal from Nasreen Akhtar's family. Divya Kohli has this.

Makeover complete at Bodleian libraries

It's cost eighty million pounds and taken three years to finish but one of the world's leading research centres has had a major overhaul. The Bodleian libraries in Oxford are home to some of the most important books and manuscripts in history. From tomorrow, for the first time, one of its finest buildings along with its rare collections will be open to the public.

The Oxford Bodleians form the largest university library system in the country with more than 11 million printed items. The plan was to modernize the Grade 11-listed New Bodleian building and create a state-of-the-art facility for researchers to work with the special collections.

Five years ago a purpose built storage centre was constructed 30 miles away in Swindon. Millions of books were moved there as refurbishment work began. Now the volumes and manuscripts that are in high demand from students and academics have been moved back along the A420 to Oxford and are filling shelves in the renamed Weston library.

The building was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott - the architect behind Waterloo Bridge and Battersea Power Station and he designed the iconic red telephone box.

Millions of pounds have been spent bringing this Bodleian into the 21st century. After it opens its doors this weekend, millions of people will be able to enjoy the atmosphere of library that holds a special place in academic history.

Blue plaque unveiled for renowned Oxford biologist

Richard Dawkins Hon FSB, evolutionary biologist, Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile in Oxford in 1954, Nicola Blackwood, the Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, and the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mohammed Abbasi, also attended this celebration of the local hero. Credit: Society of Biology

A plaque celebrating JBS Haldane, a leading scientist of the 20th century, has been unveiled at his old school in Oxford this weekend.

He studied at The Oxford Preparatory School (now the Dragon School) at the turn of the century and went to win many prizes, including the French Legion of Honour, for his mathematical work on genetics, which was critical to acceptance of natural selection.

The Society of Biology installed the blue plaque as part of a new series of 10 plaques around the UK celebrating eminent but sometimes unsung heroes of biology.

Professor Sir Walter Bodmer, from the University of Oxford, said in a speech: 'JBS Haldane was one of the great founders of population genetics, the field that put the study of evolution on a firm mathematical basis on the assumption of Mendelian inheritance.

'The last time I met him was at the International Congress of Genetics in The Hague in 1963, the year before he died. He was the centre of attention dressed in flowing white Indian robes. He spent the last seven years of his life in India and is enormously appreciated there for what he did for science, and especially for his support for young scientists.'

The blue plaque celebrating JBS Haldane Credit: Society of Biology
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