Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts

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The Annual Report of the Fellow Archivist 2009

This is the twenty-eighth and final (so far as JHJ is concerned ) Annual Report under the arrangements approved by the College in 1981 It covers Archive-related business from the end of Hilary Term 2008 to the end of Hilary Term 2009. For the first time it is made jointly.

It has been an immense privilege for JHJ to have been allowed this interest on the side all these years,: it is, in his mind at least his most significant and rewarding contribution to the College; in his hyperactive early days he must have been a real pain to his elders .

ACS has done nearly all the work and has written practically all of what follows.


Notable accessions this year include:

Oct 08 – copies of material about the history of St Cross (Holywell) parish, kindly sent by Mrs J Nedderman of Chapel Hill, Queensland, daughter of a former incumbent. The material has been scanned in full and the originals returned to Mrs Nedderman.

2008-9 passim – several accessions of historical and administrative material about St Cross church from parish officers and former parishioners, including this drawing showing the interior, particularly the paintings on the chancel arch and east wall, as they would have appeared in the early 20 th century. Some of the originals will be retained and others passed to the Oxfordshire Record Office.

2008-9 passim – accruals to the papers of Prof Leslie Woods, deposited by Dr J Ashbourn, most notably his WW2 flying cap and goggles, which would have seen action over the Pacific. A good example of an exception to the usual ‘two-dimensional objects’ remit of archival collection policies.

Mar 09 – 13 part 2 (undergraduate) Chemistry theses by Balliol men, 1925-1939, deposited by Dr W. Barford. While not strictly speaking college records, copies of such theses will not have been permanently retained anywhere else, and their serendipitous survival in this case may well provide useful information about the development of modern chemistry teaching in Oxford.



Portraits conservation work

Nothing to report. ACS is a member of the Committe but JHJ is not.

Stained glass conservation work

Nothing to report. It is hoped that the programme can be resumed soon. The great east window in Chapel ( parts are of ca 1525 ) and the Chace panel in the Chapel (of ca 1425) are the most evocative things the College has custody of .We hope that they will be restored in our lifetime.

Conservation Consortium

All of the outsize maps on parchment in the Archives, the early maps and plans on paper and some of the modern maps on paper have been cleaned, and most flattened. Those that are still rolled have been individually boxed. The ongoing project for the next couple of years will be to clean and repackage the medieval title deeds before the move to St Cross.

Balliol’s oldest document (Archives B.22.1, from Robert, Abbot of St. Sauve, Montreuil, to John de St. Lawrence, re a grant of the Church of St. Lawrence-Jewry, London, with rents, etc. ca.1200) is currently being cleaned, mounted and boxed. This is an extremely attractive document and an excellent one for occasional exhibitions. The repackaging will make it safe and secure to display and improve its normal storage conditions as well.

Environmental monitoring using Hanwell Instruments dataloggers is in place in the main archive repository, the ground floor Library grille housing mainly archive items, the Library annexe and the Library basement. Readings are downloaded and sent to the conservators monthly.


During January – May 2009 there have been 233 enquiries to the archives. The total for 2008 was 544 enquiries. The mix of enquirers is similar to previous years: requests for historic administrative documents from within the college, a wide range of enquiries from academics in Oxford and other universities in the UK and abroad, and a solid base (about half of all enquiries) of amateur family, local and military historians from around the world enquiring about individual past members and former Balliol properties. It is clear to us that answering these enquiries as helpfully as we can is an important contribution to the College’s PR .


Progress on continuing project of creating detailed lists of the ca. 800 unsorted collections in the Miscellaneous Bursary Papers, Miscellaneous College Office Papers and General Miscellany classes. These lists are entered on the ADLIB database; an increasing number of college archives are using ADLIB software and we have recently discussed the possibility of an online union catalogue of college archives. This is still some way down the road. As yet there is a summary catalogue of archive holdings online and enquirers can request more detailed lists of relevant catalogue sections.

Several large new accessions from the last couple of years (e.g. Musical Society papers, JCR records) have also been listed in detail. Listing of the Pathfinder scheme papers sent by Mrs Lastavica is complete, and arrangement nearly so. A number of catalogues of personal papers collections in the Library have been made available in full online.



  • College tours, displays, exhibitions, talks, publications, web exhibitions and pages
  • Display: Head of the River history – SCR for Headship Dinner, Buttery, OCR for Gaudy and private function for Peter Sowden who was rowing the Thames to raise funds for a cancer charity, June 08
  • Display: Gaudy, (1975-7) June 08
  • Talk & tour: on college history for Brita Water Filter representatives, Sept 08
  • Talk & tour: on college history for John Blackford and Probus group, Sept 08
  • Exhibition: for Balliol Society (1958) October 08
  • Talk & exhibition: with PAB, about Old Synagogue site & deeds, displaying original documents from Library and Archives for Oxford Jewish History society, Oct 08
  • Display: on St Cross project for Balliol reception as part of Bodleian ‘Beyond the Work of One’ exhibition private view evening, Oct 08
  • Study day: with Helen Deeming (Royal Holloway) and Paul Binski (Cambridge), for Parish Councillors and diocesan officers on the Ranworth Antiphoner, St Helen’s, Ranworth, Norfolk, Dec 08
  • Exhibition: for International Adam Smith Society conference, in Chapel Jan 09. Also open to Civic Society tour members and Balliol people. At least 250 people visited the exhibition. St Cross display in antechapel.
  • Talk & tour: on college history to Oxford Civic Society Jan 09
  • Exhibition: JHJ’s Research Consilium, display of original archive documents HT09.
  • Talk & exhibition: on Balliol’s history with the advowson of Abbotsley (from 1340) for current incumbent and parishioners, Feb 09.
  • Display: Spring Gaudy (1965-7), Mar 09
  • Tour: for Dean’s guests, Apr 09
  • Exhibition: with PAB, for benefactors private event, St Cross project display and exhibition of original books & documents from Library and Archives in the OCR, Apr 09

While we are always working to update and improve the website, we regularly receive pleasantly surprised emails from enquirers about the (relative to other colleges) large amount of information about the content of the archives available online.

Members of OAC (Oxford Archivists Consortium) staffed the usual table at the annual History Thesis Fair, held in May in the Exam Schools, and at the Graduate Thesis Fair in October.

The Adam Smith exhibition was visited by ca.60 members of the Society’s conference, with a dozen returning for a more detailed view and discussion the next evening. Ca.150 members of the Oxford Civic Society also toured the exhibition, as did at least 25 Balliol Fellows, staff and students for a minimum total of 235.


Work placements

ACS has again been fortunate to work with several excellent current student assistants this year:

Corrina Connor (MPhil Mus, St Hilda’s) worked on the Concert Programmes database on Tuesday mornings during most of the 2007-8 academic year.

John Erde (2005, Modern History) did an excellent job finishing listing the Coolidge papers, and numbering up George Malcolm Papers and several boxes of Balogh. We are delighted to report that John was appointed to the post of archives trainee in the archives of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, for 2008-9.

Julia Savage (Queen’s) worked on rationalising the photo collection.

George Chambers (LMH 2007) and Mike Webb (Balliol 2008, PPE, Organ Scholar) invigilated the Adam Smith exhibition.

The 2008 Report omitted mention of James Rawles’ work on collating the Index of the College Record, which has now been completed as an Access database. Copies are now in use by the Development Office, Publications Officer and Editor of the Record, as well as the Archives office.

Continuing Professional Development

ACS continues to sit on the Computing and Portraits Committees.

ACS attended the Archive Fervour/ Archive Further conference on literature, archives and literary archives in Aberystwyth, July 2008; AMARC annual conference on literary archives, British Library, December 2008; HE Archivists’ Group meeting, Cambridge, May 09; OAC meetings on external storage of semicurrent records, management of student records, Adlib cataloguing software.

On completion of ACS’ initial four-year contract in October 2008 her position as Lonsdale Curator of Archives and Manuscripts was made permanent. She received Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (settlement, permanent residency) from the Home Office in December 2008.

On top of all this much time and effort has been spent by both of us considering details of the St Cross project; and JHJ has been much engaged with the complexities of Trusts and Charity Registration, which involves much archival delving .

Enquiries about the archives can be directed to Anna by post or by email at
Enquiries about living old members should be directed to the Development Office.

- John Jones and Anna Sander

You do not need to request permission to download or print one copy of any of the images on these pages for your personal private study or research purposes.
You do need to request permission in writing to use any of these images for any publication in any format, including any use on a website.

The archives and manuscripts of Balliol College are open by appointment to enquirers in person at the Historic Collections Centre in St Cross Church, Holywell.
Enquiries should be sent in writing (email or post).
There is no charge for Archive enquiries, but donations for Archive purposes are always appreciated.
Updated 11.viii.14
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