School of History, Philosophy and Culture

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  • The Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History

    The Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History (OCMCH) is part of the School of History, Philosophy and Culture in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and promotes historic links between Brookes and the Methodist Church through archives, artworks, publications and research.

    The OCMCH’s collections are a resource of global standing for research into Methodism and aspects of religion in Britain from 1700.

    We are home to the Wesley Historical Society Library, the second most significant collection of Methodist published works in Britain. Its strengths include material on British Methodism, serials of Methodist history, historic circuit plans, and more.

    Our extensive archives include the records of the Avec Consultancy, Westminster and Bletchley Park/Lady Spencer Churchill Colleges, collections relating to Anglican-Methodist Union, and papers of leading twentieth-century Methodists (Francis Bartels, Donald English, William ‘Bill’ Gowland, Colin Morris, R. W. ‘Reg’ Ward).

    Artworks held by the OCMCH include the James Smetham collection, portraits and pictures relating to the history of the Methodist Church, and works by Evelyn Dunbar, Duncan Grant, and John Piper.

    The OCMCH is also home to two significant digital resources. British Methodist Buildings is an unparalleled visual library of over 10,000 freely-accessible images of Methodist buildings around the UK. OCMCH Digital Collections includes the Methodist Portrait Prints Collection, Wesley family manuscripts, 1930s Methodist Conference cartoons, Westminster College wartime records, and more.

    The OCMCH also caters for the supervision of research students who wish to study aspects of religious and Methodist history. Recent projects have investigated early Methodist finances, John Wesley’s ideas of education, and religion in eighteenth-century workhouses.

    We also work in partnership with other centres of research into religion and Methodism to deliver lectures, seminars, and conferences.

    Each year we appoint visiting research fellows whose interests relate to the OCMCH’s collections and expertise. Recent fellows have researched aspects of eighteenth-century revivals; evangelical literary culture; Anglicanism in the eighteenth century; Non-jurists, and Anglican-Methodist re-union.

    Our publications programme includes two journals, Wesley and Methodist Studies and The Journal of Religious History Literature and Culture. Professor William Gibson is also editor of the Routledge Methodist Studies series.

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