Wolfson College

Wolfson College officially came into being on 26 July 1966. It had started out as ‘Iffley College’, one of two Colleges founded by the University in 1965 (St Cross College was the other) to provide for members of its academic community who held no college Fellowship. The College changed its name following generous benefactions from the Wolfson Foundation (and also the Ford Foundation), which had been received largely thanks to the efforts of the first President, Sir Isaiah Berlin. These enabled the College to make provision for graduate students, the first of which were admitted in October 1968.

Buildings designed by architects Powell & Moya were constructed on a site at the end of Linton Road by the River Cherwell (where Professor JS Haldane’s home, Cherwell House, had once stood). By 1974, when the new buildings were formally opened by the Chancellor, Harold Macmillan, the College possessed a hall capable of seating 200, and a library, buttery and cellar-bar, in addition to the usual range of rooms and offices. It also had living accommodation for graduate students (single and married) and Fellows; later on, a day-nursery and family accommodation were added.

The College received its Royal Charter in 1981.

In June 2013, the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium was opened. Construction of the new Academic Wing, including a substantial extension to the College library, has recently been completed.

The College Archives holds a variety of material relating to Wolfson’s history, including administrative documents, architectural drawings, photographs, recordings and ephemera. We also hold copies of College publications, including the Record and the College magazine, Romulus.


Archivist: Bethany Hall

Opening hours: Tuesdays 9:00-17:00, Wednesdays 9:00-12:00 and Fridays 9:00-13:30 (by appointment only)

Address:  Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford OX2 6UD

Phone:  00 44 (0)1865 274117 (College Lodge: 274100)

E-mail: archives@wolfson.ox.ac.uk

Web: https://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/history/archives

Further reading:

Wolfson College Oxford: The First Fifty Years, John Penney & Roger Tomlin (Wolfson College, Oxford, 2016).

Isaiah Berlin: Building: Letters 1960-1975, Henry Hardy and Mark Pottle (Chatto & Windus, 2013). [Contains sections on College history.]

Isaiah Berlin & Wolfson College, eds. H. Hardy, K. Hiruta and J. Holmes (Wolfson College, Oxford, 2009).