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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


CCTV released following GBH incident

Thames Valley Police is releasing CCTV images in relation to an incident of grievous bodily harm in Oxford.

The victim, a 19-year-old man, was in the White Horse public house, London Road, Oxford, at about 7.10pm on Sunday 1 March when he became embroiled in an altercation with two men.

Police want to speak to this man in connection with an incident on GBH in Oxford Credit: Thames Valley Police

One of the men threw a glass at the victim, after which the second man punched the victim in the face.

The victim sustained injuries to his face and was treated at John Radcliffe Hospital. He has since been discharged from hospital.

Thames Valley Police would like to speak to the man pictured in the CCTV images as he might have vital information regarding the incident.

“If you recognise yourself as the man in these images, or believe you know the man pictured then please come forward either to a local police station or by calling 101. We believe that he has vital information that will aid our investigation. If you don't want to speak directly to the police then you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.”

– Investigating officer, Det Con Matthew Hodgetts

Warrant carried out at suspected brothel

Thames Valley Police has carried out a warrant on a suspected brothel in Oxford.

Officers entered the Cowley Road property at 11am on Tuesday. They departed at 1.30pm.

Two women were found at the house and have been safeguarded.

Independent Trauma Advisers from the Elmore Community Team provided practical and emotional support for the women and have put a care plan in place for them.

Seven officers and two Special Constables took part in the warrant.

Property, including telephones and two laptops, was seized and no one has yet been arrested.

“We are working with our community partners in order to identify vulnerable women and to ensure that they are safeguarded and that any potential perpetrators are brought to justice.”

– Inspector Rachel Patterson, of Cowley police station

Consultation opens for Oxford tram system

Oxford city centre trams are part of the county council's vision for Oxfordshire Credit: Oxfordshire County Council

A consultation on city centre trams and a new train station has now been opened by Oxfordshire County Council.

The council's Connecting Oxfordshire plans are designed to cope with the growth in population expected by 2031, with 80,000 new jobs and 100,000 new homes.

Ideas include city centre trams, a new railway station and larger buses.

Cycle super-routes could be introduced across the city along with a new A40-A44 link road as well as improvements to Junction 9 of the M40.

The consultation on the council's website is open until Thursday, 2 April.


Police appeal for help in finding missing teenagers

Thames Valley Police is appealing for the public’s help in finding two teenage girls missing from Oxford.

The girls haven't been seen since yesterday

Danica Du Plooy, aged 14, and Andrayah Corfield, aged 15, have been missing since 9pm yesterday evening and are thought to be together.

Danica (right), is white, around 5ft3ins, of medium build with brown hair. She was last seen wearing black and white leggings, a pink hooded top, a navy blue coat, with an ankle brace and is using crutches.

Andrayah (left) is white, 5ft6ins, slim with blonde hair. She was last seen wearing black leggings, a light blue jumper, black coat with leopard print inside, grey Puma trainers and carrying a pink shoulder bag.

Police are concerned for their welfare due to their young age and the amount of time they have been missing.

It is thought that they may be in either Oxford or have travelled to Bicester.

1,500 pupils to visit 'Careers Fest' in Oxford

The previous Oxford City Learning Careers Fest took place in 2014

The MINI car plant at Cowley in Oxford is hosting a two-day jobs fair to introduce teenagers to the world of work after they leave school.

The fifth annual Oxford City Learning Careers Fest will feature 50 exhibitors. The firms are offering chances for school pupils aged 14 - 18 to explore potential job and career opportunities. The organisers 'Oxford City Learning' (OCL) have invited 1,500 children from schools across Oxfordshire to the event.

"With Oxfordshire's Strategic Economic Plan indicating that up to 75,000 new jobs could be created in the county between 2014 and 2031, this event will showcase a host of exciting employment opportunities over the next few years, together with the types and levels of qualifications required.

"As in previous years, we'll be encouraging students visiting to 'have a go' at the range of activities run by the exhibitors, who will also provide information and advice to help young people understand and consider a full range of career pathways including apprenticeships, further and higher education and employment."

– Alison Robb-Webb, OCL Project Director

Funding boost for Oxford's City Centre Ambassadors

Funding boost for Oxford's City Centre Ambassadors Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Oxford's City Centre Ambassadors will continue for another year after a funding boost.

Oxford City Council has allocated £32,000 in its proposed budget for 2015/16 to keep the ambassadors patrolling the street, welcoming residents, workers and visitors.

They also help promote the City Council’s Kindness Can Kill anti-begging initiative and keep an eye out for illegal street traders and unauthorised buskers.

Councillor Dee Sinclair, Board Member for Crime and Community Response at the council, says: 'I am delighted we are able to continue supporting the Ambassadors. They will work in the city for seven days a week during peak times.

'They will be the face of the city centre for tourists and visitors but they will also be the eyes and ears of the community. They will also be looking at issues like graffiti, litter, illegal street trading and any other anti-social behaviour.'

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