History of the Archive

Until the 1960s, there was no single archive repository at Christ Church. The records of the Dean and Chapter were kept in a small Muniment Room over the Chapter House; the deeds and other estates papers were retained in the Treasury where they would have been in daily use; the Common Room held and maintained its own records, as did the other administrative departments until at least the 1970s.

In 1772, part of the cathedral cloister was converted into a Muniment Room - the designs for its sash windows are in the archive - but in 1871, George Gilbert Scott returned the cloister to its late medieval state and the archive was ejected, presumably to the relevant offices.

When Dr Geoffrey Bill was employed in 1950 to catalogue the Treasury's deeds, one of the rooms in Peckwater Quad was set up to accommodate the papers on which he was working. This was always a temporary solution, however, and when it was decided to build on the old Coal Yard, a new muniment room was always part of the plan.

In 1968, Powell and Moya incorporated a space for the archive in the basement of Blue Boar Quad. Dr Bill disapproved of this location from the start; basements are never good places for archives. He suggested a number of possible sites, including the room in Tom Tower beneath the bell and the rooms beneath the Hall (now the Law Library). His ideas were not implemented and his fears proved correct.

The environmental conditions in the Blue Boar semi-basement were not good and, by the early years of the C21, with the addition of records not expected by Bill, the archive was full. With the refurbishment of the Quad in 2009, the collections were moved into the old sixteenth-century brewhouse which has been adapted to keep the records in good condition for many years to come with good security and effective environmental controls.