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). The part-time post of Archives Assistant is currently vacant. We welcome visits from all those interested in the College’s history.
Enquiries and research
The Archivist can answer straightforward enquiries about the archives, preferably by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) but also by post (Magdalen College, High St, Oxford, OX1 4AU). Due to the small size of our team, we are unfortunately not able to do extensive research on your behalf and we are unable to offer a paid research service.
Please note that due to Covid restrictions, the Archivist is working partly from home, with reduced access to the collections. As a result, it may take longer than usual to respond to email enquiries or digitisation requests. Due to the volume of enquiries being received, we are not able to undertake large digitisation requests at this time. The Archive remains closed to readers for the foreseeable future, mainly as the Archivist is prioritising time spent in College to enquiry work.
Readers are welcome (in Covid-free times) 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 (preferably two weeks for large amounts of material. The archival collections are stored in several sites around College at some distance from our Reading Room, 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 or any enquiries relating to uncatalogued collections may require additional notice to the Archivist.
The Archives of Magdalen College are usually open (in Covid-free times), 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 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, and this confirms that you agree to abide with the Reading Room Regulations and the Handling Guidelines. No letters of introduction or ID are required to access our archive collections. 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.
During your visit, you may usually take your own images of items once you have filled in a short copyright 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 are payable to the photographer by prior agreement). Permission from the College will be needed if you wish to publish any images from our collections – this is usually possible as long as the material is no longer in copyright.