Editorial note

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 4, the City of Oxford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1979.

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'Editorial note', in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 4, the City of Oxford, (London, 1979) pp. xiii. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol4/xiii [accessed 29 February 2024]


The University of London again places on record its indebtedness to the Oxfordshire County Council, the City of Oxford, which became part of the County under the Local Government Act, 1972, and the University of Oxford for providing the funds for the compilation of another volume of the Victoria County History, the tenth to be published on Oxfordshire. The General Introduction (1970) outlines the structure and aims of the History as a whole, and the partnership between the University of London and the Oxfordshire County Council is described in the Editorial Note to the History of Oxfordshire, Volume IX (1969). When the intention to include the history of the City and the University of Oxford in a single volume was abandoned, as recorded in the Editorial Note which prefaces the volume on the University (Volume III, 1954), a considerable amount of work had been done towards the history of the City. A plan for the completion of the history was made by the then County Editor, Mrs. Mary D. Lobel, but while work was proceeding with the history of various rural parts of Oxfordshire only limited progress was made with the City's history. The greater part of the research and writing has been done since 1971, along with the thorough revision and rewriting of what had been complied earlier, under the supervision of an Advisory Sub-Committee. Until 1974 that Sub-Committee was responsible to the former County Council's Records Committee. When the new Oxfordshire County Council took over in 1974 Mr. J. N. Banbury succeeded Mr. C. J. Peers (whose death in 1977 is recorded with regret) as chairman of the Advisory Sub-Committee; he was also Chairman of the new parent committee, the Libraries, Museums, and Archives Committee.

From 1966, when Mrs. Lobel retired as County Editor, research for the present volume was continued by Mrs. Mary Jessup until her retirement from the staff of the Oxfordshire History in 1969. Not long afterwards the whole attention of the rest of the staff was brought to bear on the City. Mr. A. F. Butcher resigned as Assistant County Editor in 1974, and in his place Mr. C. J. Day joined Mr. Crossley (County Editor) and Dr. Janet Cooper (Assistant County Editor) in 1975.

The help of many institutions and private persons who gave information or advice or granted access to documents in their care is acknowledged with gratitude. Many of them are named in footnotes to the relevant passages, but special thanks are offered to Bodley's Librarian and the staff of the Bodleian Library, the Librarian and staff of Oxfordshire County Libraries, the Oxford City Council, the Oxfordshire County Archivist and her staff, the Keeper of the University Archives, and the governing bodies of various Colleges of the University. Much valued advice by Mr. H. M. Colvin, C.B.E., F.B.A., and Mr. Julian Munby on architectural matters, Mr. T. G. Hassall and the staff of the Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit on the early history of Oxford, Mr. Malcolm Graham on the City archives and on modern Oxford, Mr. D. G. Vaisey and Dr. D. M. Barratt on Bodleian manuscripts, Miss Ruth Vyse on the University archives, Mrs. Valerie Jobling and Dame Lucy Sutherland, D.B.E., F.B.A., on the history of the University, Dr. C. I. Hammer on early modern Oxford, and Dr. Mary Prior on the history of the river Thames and St. Thomas's parish is gratefully recorded. Mr. D. H. Merry and Mr. E. H. Cordeaux kindly gave access to drafts and proofs of their Bibliography of Printed Books relating to the City of Oxford.

It is appropriate also to record the great debt to the late Dr. H. E. Salter, who was instrumental in the revival of the Oxfordshire V.C.H. in 1932, under whose editorship the present volume was begun, and whose own research and writings have provided a foundation on which to build.