Oxford University.

Right: The Clarendon Building.

Left: The Sheldonian Theatre.

The Clarendon Building (1) was formerly the Clarendon Press. Designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor it was opened in 1715 to house the printing operations of the Press, which was formerly in the basement of the Sheldonian Theatre.

The Clarendon Press became Oxford University Press, now the largest university press in the world. In 1975 the Clarendon Building was handed over to the Bodleian Library.

William Hopkins Pearce (1794-1840) was the son of Rev. Samuel Pearce, one of the founders of the Baptist Missionary Society, and was trained at the Clarendon Press by the Superintendent Mr. William Collingwood. The presses were in the basement.

Today the Sheldonian Theatre is where Oxford University holds recitals, lectures and graduation ceremonies.

“In his [Pearce's] day, we were printing thousands of Bibles and Prayer Books for missionary society usage.  Also, we were beginning our extensive work in Indian languages, which would lead to Friedrich Max Muller's edition of the  "Rig Veda"  and the other  "Sacred Books of the East"  in later years of the Victorian era - so Pearce would have found much of his new work (though not his surroundings) familiar.”

Dr. Martin Maw, Archivist, Oxford University Press.
July 2004.


(1). See: Clarendon Building in Wikipedia.