The Magdalen Archives are open five days a week (Mon-Fri, 9.30-12.30 and 14.00-16.30), although those wishing to consult items must make a booking in advance to do so.
Due to high levels of demand across the year, it is advisable to contact the Archives staff up to three weeks before any visit. Further information can be found in the sections below.
The Archivist can answer straightforward enquiries about the archives, preferably by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) but also by post (Magdalen College, 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 during busy periods responses to enquiries may take as long as three weeks.
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 (preferably three 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.
There are currently two reading rooms in operation, with one or the other being used depending on the material being consulted.
Readers allocated a slot in the Old Library should report to the Porters’ Lodge on the High Street. The Old Library 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.
Readers allocated a slot in the Holywell Ford Stables should come to the entrance gate on St Cross Road (OX1 3TX for Google Maps) and should press the intercom button marked ‘Archive’. The Archives building is at the far end of the driveway.
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 adjacent to the Holywell Ford Stables).
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 only take notes in pencil, not in ink. 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. Please contact the Archivist and Records Manager for further information (email@example.com)