Access to the Archives
Welcome to the archives of Magdalen College, which contain over eight centuries of history about the College, its estates, and its community
The Archives of Magdalen College are currently staffed by the College Archivist Dr Charlotte Berry (full-time) and the Archives Assistant Mr Ben Taylor (part-time – Thurs/Fri). We welcome visits from all interested in the College’s history.
Enquiries and research
The Archivist is willing to answer simple enquiries about the archives, preferably by email (email@example.com) but also by post (Magdalen College, High St, Oxford, OX1 4AU). We are not able to do extensive research on your behalf and we do not offer a paid research service due to the small size of our team.
Readers are welcome to arrange to visit the archives in person, and you will be asked to do so if your enquiry is complex. We require advance warning prior to your visit (at least two weeks, preferably longer) – our collections are stored in several sites around College at some distance from our Reading Room and some of the collections are uncatalogued, so it may take some time to produce the items you would like to consult. Any house history or local history enquiries relating to the College’s estates and land holdings may require additional notice to the Archivist.
The Archives of Magdalen College are usually open, by advance appointment only, on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10.00-12.30 and 2.00-4.30 (no longer Thursdays and Fridays). This may vary due to staff availability, so please do not make any travel or accommodation arrangements before you have confirmed your visit with the Archivist.
Please note that the Archive team are running an oral history project during July and August 2019, and we are also busy preparing a major exhibition for September 2019-May 2020 to mark 40 years of co-education at Magdalen. These projects may result in some restrictions to normal opening hours and enquiry work during this period. Please check with the Archivist for details when planning your visit during this time.
Please report to the Porter’s Lodge on the High Street when you arrive and ask to be directed to the Old Library, where our Reading Room is situated on the first floor of the Cloister. Lift access is available by prior arrangement, so do get in touch to discuss your requirements.
If you are coming to Oxford by train, take the no. 5 bus – this sets off from just outside the station and has a stop at Queen’s Lane/High Street (outside the Queen’s College) only a short walk from Magdalen across Longwall Street. If you are coming into Oxford by car, we recommend that you use one of the Park and Ride car parks: the Thornhill Park and Ride on the east side of the city will bring you to a bus stop on the High Street which is a 3 min walk away from Magdalen College. Please ask the Archivist if you would like to arrange a disabled parking space (usually located in the staff car park off Rose Lane/High Street and adjacent to Oxford Botanic Garden).
Reader registration and reprographics
You will need to fill in a short Reader Registration form on your first visit, but no letters of introduction or ID are required. Most documents in the College’s archives are generally available for consultation, if they are in a good enough condition. Records of a more confidential or very recent nature, especially relating to persons still living, are usually closed due to Data Protection legislation.
You may only take notes in pencil, not in ink. We also ask you to obey the rules of the Reading Room about the safe handling of documents and to comply with current copyright legislation when arranging reproductions and publication.
During your visit, you may usually take your own images of items on request and by filling in a short form. If you require images of publication quality or you wish to image an item which is problematic to photograph, we can arrange for a professional photographer to do so (fees payable to the photographer by prior agreement).