Visiting the archivesThis page contains important information for all potential visitors. Please read the whole page carefully.
Balliol's archives and manuscripts are now accessible to researchers in newly restored and adapted premises in St Cross Church, Holywell. All archives and manuscript collections are at St Cross, while early printed books are still stored and consulted in the College Library on the main Broad Street site. More information about the St Cross Church project is here. For appointments to consult early printed books at Balliol, please contact the Librarian.
Planning your visit: All visits are by prior appointment. It is advisable to contact us at least a week in advance of your intended visit so that we can help to make the most of your research time. If you are visiting from overseas, please contact us as far in advance as possible. The Historic Collections is normally open during much of University vacations, but may be closed on some public holidays and during other advertised periods of institutional closure, including a fortnight at Christmas. Seating for researchers is limited and the Centre is occasionally closed to individual researchers for group visits, College events etc, so it is essential to plan research visits well in advance.
Making appointments: Since Michaelmas Term 2011 all archives and manuscript material are consulted in the Historic Collections Centre at St Cross Church. Once you have determined by correspondence and consultation of finding aids that you will need to visit the Centre, please make an appointment with with the archivist via contact details available here.
Identification: Readers are required to complete a registration form on their first visit and may be asked for proof of identity on all visits. Members of the University of Oxford or other universities should bring their University Cards. Students should bring a letter of introduction from their tutor. Other researchers should bring valid photo ID.
Practicalities: The reading room is situated in an old stone building and is essentially unheated, so readers will want to bring warm clothing at any time of year. Outdoor coats and jackets are not permitted in the reading room.
Computers and cameras: Readers are welcome to use laptops/tablets. Non-flash photography of manuscript and archive material is permitted whenever possible; see our Reprographics Policy. Please notify staff in advance of your visit if you wish to have access to the internet during your visit, so that you can be registered on the system in time for your arrival.
Food and drink may not be consumed in the Centre. The nearest, and numerous, eating places (both eat-in and take away) are in Holywell Street (300m from St Cross), the High Street (500m away) and the city centre (700m away). A good resource is the Oxford Daily Info.
Researchers may make appointments to consult archive and manuscript material in the Historic Collections Centre during business hours, Monday-Friday, 9.30am-1pm and 2-5pm* except Tuesday mornings* when the Centre opens to researchers at 10.30 am. The Centre is not open in the evenings or at weekends. The Centre is usually closed from 1-2 pm on weekdays, and researchers are asked to vacate the building for that period.
A member of staff will meet you and provide instruction on ordering and handling procedures on a first visit. Correct handling of ancient documents is the most important factor in helping to preserve them while also being able to make them available for research. Please help us to continue to do the best possible for both manuscripts and researchers by reading the following in preparation for your visit:
All users of archives or manuscript material are required to sign a form of undertaking prior to consultation of records that they will abide by the terms of the Data Protection Act. In particular they must agree to comply with the relevant conditions of access: that any information they obtain from the collections will not be used to support measures or decisions with respect to living individuals, and that it will not cause or be likely to cause substantial damage or substantial distress to any individual data subject who is still alive, or likely to be alive.
Please see the Reprographics Policy for information about photocopying, digital images and taking photographs.
Researchers should be aware that arranging to visit a small archive is like requesting a meeting rather than a trip to the public library. They should apply the usual courtesies of keeping appointments punctually and notifying the archivist of delays or changes of plan. Appointments not kept waste both a professional archivist's time and another researcher's opportunity to visit.
Since the new facility opened in Michaelmas Term (October) 2011, all archives and manuscripts are housed and consulted in the college's Historic Collections Centre at St Cross Church, Holywell.
Driving and parking in central Oxford are very restricted. However, the city centre is well served by public transport and the church's location is easily accessible by foot.
View St Cross Church, St Cross Road, Oxford OX1 3TP in a larger map
Walking/cycling directions from Broad Street: east along Broad Street, becomes Holywell Street. North (turn left) on Mansfield Road. East (first right) on Jowett Walk. North (first left) on Longwall Street / St Cross Road. You can now see St Cross Church at the junction of St Cross Road and Manor Road. Main entrance is at the west door on Manor Road.
Driving requires approach from the north via Parks Road and South Parks Road or from the south via Magdalen Bridge and Longwall Street / St Cross Road.
There is wheelchair access to and within the Historic Collections Centre. Please let us know in advance if you have mobility restrictions or other disabilities so that we can help you to plan your visit.
All images are copyright Balliol College.
The archives and manuscript collections of Balliol College are open by appointment to enquirers in person in their new accommodation at St Cross Church, Holywell.
Enquiries should be sent in writing (email or post) to the Archivist in the first instance.
There is no charge for Archive enquiries, but donations for Archive purposes are always appreciated.