Books and pamphlets at Oxfordshire History Centre

Our collection includes information on modern life as well as county history.

Newly-published resources are constantly being added to our extensive range of books and pamphlets.

To discover what is available, check our online catalogue Heritage Search.

County, town and village histories

Histories of Oxfordshire county and of individual towns and villages have been collected over many years.  Important among these are the volumes published by the Victoria County History. 

Currently 18 volumes have been published for Oxfordshire, covering two thirds of the county, and work is progressing on further volumes.  Four books were produced for Berkshire, and these contain information on parts of the county which were transferred to Oxfordshire in 1974.

In addition, histories have been written about individual towns and villages, many of which are shelved in the searchroom, where they are arranged alphabetically by place-name.

Only a selection of the books in stock can be displayed on the open shelves so, if you cannot find what you are looking for, members of staff will be pleased to produce additional books for you from the strongrooms.

The online catalogue Heritage Search can be searched by author’s name, title, keyword or subject.

Oxford City and University histories

Because of its national and international importance, the collection includes a wide range of histories of the City and University of Oxford.

Works on the city include:

  • Anthony Wood’s ‘Survey of the antiquities of the City of Oxford’ (1661-6, reprinted 1889-90)
  • Encyclopaedia of Oxford (1988)
  • volumes of historic photographs, and others on topics such as churches, schools and the motor industry.

Works on the University include an eight-volume History of the University of Oxford (1984-2000) as well as histories of individual colleges, faculties and institutions, and topics such as the education of women.


As well as modern guidebooks to Oxford and other parts of the county, the collection also includes historic guides.  Of particular interest is the series of guides to the City of Oxford, the earliest of which date back to the mid-18th Century.

There are also walking and cycling guides to the county, including those covering national routes such as the Thames Path and the ancient Ridgeway

Topical works

As well as general histories, the collection also contains books and pamphlets on a wide range of topics including religious history, education, transport and communications, agriculture, industries, buildings, archaeology, and biographies of Oxfordshire people.

Record transcripts

  • Transcripts of Oxfordshire parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials; nonconformist registers – we hold a full set of these, as published by Oxfordshire Family History Society
  • Transcripts of Oxfordshire church and churchyard monumental inscriptions – as published by Oxfordshire Family History Society
  • Catalogue records for many of these transcripts can be found listed on Heritage Search, by searching for the place-name and keywords “OT transcript”

Official publications

As well as historical information, the collection also includes information about the present and future of Oxfordshire.  Often this is published by official bodies.  As these documents are kept permanently, they eventually achieve historical significance.

Central government and legislation

The collection includes  many documents generated by central government.  These include local Acts of Parliament enabling the building of roads and railways, the development of utility companies, and the enclosure of common land.  Many of these date from the 18th and 19th centuries.  Most of these are held in printed format, but the enclosure maps and awards are microfilm copies.

More recently, there has also been local legislation regarding the establishment and running of the National Health Service in the county as well as numerous education acts.

Local authorities, health and emergency services

Minutes, reports and plans, as well as individual documents published by local authorities, the police and the fire and rescue service in Oxfordshire.

More information can be found in our online catalogue, Heritage Search.


Statistical information about Oxfordshire can be found in many sources, and is often published in documents produced by official bodies.

Examples include:-

  • The Office of National Statistics (previously known as the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys) has published local tables for the census returns.  Early records were produced in print, and more recent ones appear on their website.
  • Oxfordshire County Council’s Insight website includes useful information about life in the county.
  • The collection also holds daily and monthly weather statistics for Oxford published by the Radcliffe Meteorological Station .