A Tale of Two Properties

Archival and documentary research of two historic buildings now in private sector led commercial use. The project will form part of a proposed larger research project, evaluating the impact of private sector led commercial uses on historic buildings.

Department: Real Estate & Planning

Supervised by: Henry Russell

The Placement Project

One student is required for this project. S/he will carry out documentary research into two historic sites, Oxford Castle and Prison and Breakspear’s brewery in Henley-on-Thames. The former includes nationally important heritage assets comprising a Scheduled Monument and Grade I and Grade II listed buildings. The latter is a Grade II building. Both have experienced major changes of use in the last 10 years. Oxford Prison has become a hotel and restaurant area, and Breakspear’s brewery has been converted to housing. This project will contribute to the development of a wider research proposal to the British Academy or AHRC evaluating the impacts of modern private sector led commercial uses on historic sites. Understanding the history of the sites is a requirement for this further research. The student will carry out archival research to discover the history and development of the two sites. Data about ownership, occupancy and changes to the development over time will be essential to gain a temporal perspective of the heritage significance of the two sites which will allow us to evaluate the modern changes and uses. The relevant data is expected to be held in Oxford Archives (the country record office), the English Heritage Archive at Swindon and the National Archives at Kew. The student will prepare a fully referenced report of the chronology of their findings.


Archival and documentary research at Oxford Archives and the National Archives to understand the history of two sites mentioned above. This will involve the following steps: 1. Catalogue search to identify relevant documents 2. Scrutiny of documents and drawings to prepare a chronological description of changes to the heritage property. Preparation of an illustrated fully referenced report including images where relevant. To assist the student, the induction will comprise an initial supervised visit to Oxford Archives and the English Heritage Archive. During the induction we will support the student by: • Explaining the scope of the project • Set up short exercises to - interrogate online catalogues, - read historic handwriting from samples held by the project team, - prepare a written summary of findings • Provide feedback to train the student in the above archival skills. • Provide carefully selected and limited reading to be carried out in the first week which will then be discussed with the project team. • Prepare a time schedule of activities. Weekly progress reviews will be conducted as follows: - The student will prepare a short presentation every week consolidating progress to date. - The project team will discuss progress made, issues encountered and plans for the next step.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

• The willingness to enquire and follow the trail of documents. • Interest and ability to read and understand historical documents of the 18th and 18th centuries • Skills to interpret drawings and plans

Skills which will be developed during the placement

• Practical skills of archive based research, including identifying relevant documents. • Knowledge of what local and national archive holdings comprise. • Skills to query online and hard copy catalogues to source relevant documents. • Skills to analyse an archive and prepare a fully referenced and coherent narrative of a site’s history.

Place of Work

Henley Business School Oxford Archives, English Heritage Archive and National Archives at Kew

Hours of Work

6 hours /day for 30 days.

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 15 July 2019 - Friday 27 September 2019

How to Apply

The post will be advertised centrally on the UROP website between 25th February and 1st April 2019. Students should submit their CV and Cover Letter directly to the Project Supervisor (click on supervisor name at the top of the page for email). Successful candidates will then be invited to interview, scheduled to take place on 11th April.

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