Jul 242017

In today’s Oxford Mail, news that Colin Harris, one of our Vice-Presidents, has been awarded an Honorary Master of Arts degree by Oxford University, in recognition of his 50 years of “continuous and exemplary service to the Bodleian.”

The university said: “The outstanding feature of his career has been his truly dedicated service to all types of library reader – from senior academics to masters’ students, professional writers to amateur historians – whom he has advised with expertise and unfailing patience.”

Currently, Colin is Superintendent of the Special Collections Reading Rooms.


Congratulations, Colin, from Oxfordshire FHS!


Mar 172017

Tomorrow, Saturday 18 March, there will be a pop-up history exhibition at Bicester Library under the aegis of Oxfordshire Museum Service and Bicester Local History Society.

Details are at

Visitors can:
Enjoy a short talk about the history of Bicester at 11am and 2pm, or join in with the family activities spread throughout the day.


In connection with Bicester Library, a mention of our Family History helpdesks there. Pat Ford, one of the OFHS advisors, is at the library on Wednesdays and Fridays. Slots to have an advice session with Pat may be booked by phoning 01869 252181.

Mar 012017
Posted on the Oxfordshire History Centre Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OxfordshireHistoryCentre/ with permission received for circulation.

We would like to clarify Oxfordshire County Council’s plans for the future delivery of Oxfordshire History Centre’s services from late 2017 onwards.

A staffed public service for the consultation of archive and digital collections, including the existing on-site strongroom storage, will continue to operate at St Luke’s, Cowley. A staffed public service for the consultation of local studies and digital collections, including the photographic archive, will be relocated to the Westgate library in central Oxford in October. This will give the History Service a prime location in the new Westgate development, with increased footfall and exposure. Staff will be working across both sites and detailed plans are now being formulated to ensure that the service is as integrated as possible.

Feb 042017

Cameras in the Sky     21 January – 26 March

Aerofilms Ltd was the first British company to make a business out of aerial photography.

Established in Hendon, London in 1919, Aerofilms’ founders were pioneers of the air. A collection of adventurers, showmen and aviation enthusiasts, the firm married the fledgling technology of flight to the discipline of photography.

From the very start of operations, Aerofilms took photographs of villages, towns, cities and landscapes all over the country. Continuing this far-reaching programme for 80 years, its photographs provide a unique view of the development of Britain’s urban centres and rural landscapes throughout the 20th century.

This collection of photographs shows Oxfordshire from above, featuring town and country, special events, industry and transport. The development of Oxfordshire, chronicled from above by Aerofilms is history like no other!

EPW000827 The Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, All Souls College, St. Mary’s Church and Brasenose College Oxford ,1920 ©Historic England (Aerofilms Collection)

 The Oxfordshire Museum hopes you will be able to come along

Mar 012016

blue-question-markThe Westgate library has now closed til late 2017, and with it our advisor Helpdesk service.  Thanks to all the team who gave helpdesk cover there over four days a week.

Irrepressible, they have all volunteered to help in local libraries around the county, which so far has led to our introducing helpdesks at Botley, Kidlington and Bicester libraries.  At some the helpdesks don’t start straight away – see the rota at http://www.ofhs.org.uk/#meetus

The monthy helpdesk at Abingdon library will continue, as will the Tuesday, Thursday and some Saturdays when help’s offered at the Oxfordshire History Centre at Cowley.

If you’re not local to Oxfordshire, and have something you’d like to ask about your family history, or about the Society, you can always contact the helpdesk at help@ofhs.org.uk or 01865 358151 (+44 1865 358151 from beyond the UK).

Jan 132016
Members may be interested in a new exhibition: Tokens of Love which opened at the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock on Saturday 9 January and continues until 13 March 2016.
The exhibition features objects from the Oxfordshire Museum’s collection which were used as love tokens including bobbins and corset stays to rings and photographs, via smocks and samplers and Valentine cards from Shell, who began sending Valentines greetings cards to their lady drivers in 1938. They were designed by artists of the day and carried witty jokes and rhymes on motoring and petrol themes. The tradition continued into the 50’s, 60’s and up until 1975. Shell extended their collection in 1964 when the company acquired 200 cards from the collection of the late Miss Jane Samuels, collector and founder of ‘The Valentine Shop in the Strand’, London.
This exhibition traces the history of the Valentine from early nineteenth century onwards; it has romance and gushing sincerity with the liberal use of lace, ribbon and guilt cupids!
Free entry
Jan 092016

20160107_142007The exhibition – 66 Men of Grandpont 1914-1918 – has been set up at Oxfordshire History Centre by Liz Woolley, the project co-ordinator.  It will be available to view 7-23 January 2016.

This free exhibition is about the men from Grandpont in south Oxford who died in the First World War The exhibition is part of an innovative community history project which is commemorating the 66 men named on the First World War memorial in St Matthew’s Church in Grandpont. A team of volunteers has researched the lives of the men and their stories give a fascinating insight into the War and how it affected one small suburban community. The exhibition includes maps, photographs, copies of contemporary documents and a wealth of interesting and accessible information. It also provides a model of how other local communities could carry out similar projects. For more information see

May 302015

On Monday, 1 June 2015, Guy Grannum, Discovery Product Manager at The National Archives, will talk to OFHS on “An introduction to using Discovery: The National Archives catalogue “.

The meeting will be held at the Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 1AB, with the talk starting at 7:30pm.

Discovery is The National Archives online catalogue and holds more than 32 million descriptions of records held by The National Archives and more than 2,500 archives across the country. Over 9 million records are available for download. Guy Grannum will be giving an overview of Discovery which aims to help you to understand what it holds and how to make best use of this valuable online resource.


Guy is an experienced genealogist with English and Bajan roots. He has worked at The National Archives for over 25 years and is the Discovery Product Manager with responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Discovery service.

Both members and non-members of OFHS are very welcome.

May 212015

OHCWiFiOxfordshire History Centre and Oxford Central Library are now WiFi “hotspots”, as part of the UK’s “Super Connected Cities” program.

Within Oxford, there is now free WiFi in all community centres, libraries, Park and Ride sites, the visitor information centre and museums such as The Ashmolean and Museum of Natural History.


More details of the scheme are available at http://www.oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decB/WirelessHotspots.htm


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