Recommended resources on the history of Oxford

If you are wanting to study the (recent) history of Oxford, here is a list/bibliography of helpful resources:


One of the best places to start any historical study of Oxford is the Oxfordshire History Centre, which has a huge range of local resources, as well as knowledgeable staff to assist researchers. The Oxford Central Library has some resources (including newspapers), but not as many. The Victoria County History is the best overall summary of Oxford’s history and it can be read online for free. Whiting’s book on Oxford covers a range of topics relating to the city’s recent history, whilst the Bodleian Library is a copyright library that contains a vast number of sources.


One of the most prestigious archaeological, architectural and local history journals is Oxoniensia produced by the Oxfordshire Architectural and History Society, whilst the Oxford Local History Association also has its own journal, which has covered many topics relating to the local area.

Formal Academic Study

If you are wanting to study the development of Oxford (or the surrounding area), the University’s Continuing Education Department offers a wide range of academic courses in local history, from a diploma level up to postgraduate degrees.

Morris motors and topographical changes

  • T. Sharp, Oxford Re-Planned (London, 1948)
  • R. C. Whiting The View from Cowley: the Impact of Industrialization upon Oxford 1918-1939 (London, 1993)
  • T. Hayter and D. Harvey (eds), The Factory and the City: the Story of the Cowley Automobile Workers in Oxford (London, 1993)



  • B. Allen, Cooper’s Oxford: a History of Frank Cooper Limited (Oxford, 1989)
  • B. Allen, Morrells of Oxford: the Family and their Brewery 1743-1993 (Oxford, 1994)
  • B. Brown (ed.), The England of Henry Taunt: Victorian Photographer (London, 1973)
  • H. G. Carter, A History of the Oxford University Press (Oxford, 1975)
  • Ian Gadd (ed.), The History of Oxford University Press, 3 vols (Oxford, 2013)
  • P. W. S. Andrews and E. Brunner, The Eagle Ironworks, Oxford (London, 1965)
  • B. R. Law, Building Oxford’s Heritage: Symm and Company from 1819 (Oxford, 2007)
  • Launchbury, G. T., ‘John Allen and Sons (Oxford) Ltd, 1868-1952: a history of over 80 years’ progress’ in Allen’s Activities, vol 4. No. 13 (Autumn 1952) – vol. 5, no. 22 (Christmas, 1954)
  • A. L. P. Norrington, Blackwell’s 1879-1979: the History of a Family Firm (Oxford, 1983)
  • R. J. Overy, William Morris, Viscount Nuffield (London, 1976)
  • Wenham, S. M., Pleasure Boating on the Thames: a History of Salter Bros, 1858 – Present Day (Stroud, 2014)

Personal Records

There are a vast number of personal records (including diaries and autobiographies) relating to people who have lived in Oxford (especially those who have studied in the city), as well as biographies about many prominent figures.


There are many compilations of Victorian and Edwardian photographs by Malcolm Graham, including the use of some of those produced by Henry Taunt in the Victorian period. The ‘Picture Oxon‘ service of Oxfordshire County Council also has a large collection of online resources.

Social Surveys

  • A. Bourdillon (ed.), A Survey of Social Services in the Oxford District (2 vols., 1938 and 1940)
  • C. V. Butler, Social Conditions in Oxford (London, 1912)
  • J. M. Mogey, Family and Neighbourhood: Two Studies in Oxford (Oxford, 1956)

The University

  • H. E. Salter and M. D. Lobel (eds), The History of the County of Oxford, vol. 3 (London, 1954)
  • Brock, M. G. and Curthoys, M. C. (eds), The History of the University of Oxford, vols 3-7 (Oxford, 1997-2001)

Image by Barta IV, Flickr

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