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.