About record offices
Record offices (some of which were later re-named history centres) were originally established to look after the records of their creators: the county, borough, district and parish councils. Subsequently, they encouraged other local bodies and individuals to give or deposit records that were considered valuable for researching the history of their locality and the people who lived there.
Each gift or deposit is regarded as a unique archive (for example, the records of an organisation, business or family). These have been grouped into categories of different types of depositor or donor.
The records deposited by the Church of England are covered under a separate heading. The other categories are listed on this page.
The Oxfordshire History Centre holds records for many nonconformist groups. These records are available to consult in the searchroom, though there may be closure periods on some records. To search the catalogues of these records please use Heritage Search
Oxfordshire History Centre houses a variety of business archives (pdf format, 22Kb) mainly covering the 18th to 20th centuries. Some of the chief examples include:
- Early’s Blanket Company (Witney)
- Frank Cooper, marmalade manufacturers (Oxford)
- Brakespear and Sons, brewers (Henley)
- Shepherd and Woodward, tailors and outfitters (Oxford)
- Hunt, Edmunds and Co., brewers (Banbury)
- Cape and Co., drapers (Oxford)
- Daniel Young, mechanical engineers (Witney)
- Morrells Brewery (Oxford)
- Symm and Co. Ltd., builders (Oxford)
- Business records (pdf format 200KB)
Oxfordshire History Centre holds a large number of solicitors records (pdf format, 17Kb). These records contain information relating to Oxfordshire people, places and premises in the forms of title deeds, wills and maps and plans. Amongst solicitors records you can often find a range of material including Manorial and estate records, personal papers and business records.
Oxfordshire History Centre holds a variety of documents deposited by a range of local organisations, societies and clubs. Some significant collections that we hold include:
- The Oxford Union
- Oxfordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes
- Oxford Playhouse
- Oxford Jewish Congregation
- Oxford Prison
- Wallingford Farm Training Colony/Turner’s Court.
- Find out more (pdf format, 20Kb)
Manorial collections (pdf format, 20Kb) are a good source for family and local history. The three main types of records c.1200-1945 are court records, business accounts, and surveys of lands and tenants. Oxfordshire History Centre (OHC) manorial collections include records from Bloxham, Chalgrove, Charlbury, Eynsham, Glympton, Headington, Horley & Hornton and Studley.
We hold a variety of estate collections (pdf format, 17Kb) from across Oxfordshire that include deeds, terriers, household records and maps and plans. These can often also include records relating to properties in other counties or of international significance.
Many records of Oxfordshire estates can be found at the Bodleian library or in the individual College archives.
Oxfordshire History Centre holds documents deposited by or relating to specific local families (pdf format, 20Kb). These can include:
- genealogical notes and family trees
- family bibles
- title deeds
- registration papers
- financial records
The records of health care provision for Oxfordshire are split between Oxfordshire History Centre and the Oxfordshire Health Archives. Oxfordshire Health Archives selects and cares for the historic archives of NHS hospitals in Oxfordshire. Their holdings, including a very useful list of Oxfordshire hospitals, can be viewed at their website.
The health collections (pdf format, 15Kb) held at Oxfordshire History Centre relate largely to the administrative bodies for healthcare provision in Oxfordshire.
Our private records (pdf format, 12Kb) are the personal papers of individuals who lived or worked in Oxfordshire. As you can imagine, this category can contain a wide range of items such as letters, diaries, photographs, financial papers, reminiscences, and testamentary documents.
Due to the contents of some of the records, it may be necessary to close them in order to comply with Data Protection legislation. Any item which has been closed should be clearly marked in the catalogue, but please check with staff if you have any queries.