The Mechanics Institute movement was begun by Dr George Birbeck of Glasgow University in the early 19th century. Finding that he could not buy the apparatus he needed he invited workmen to make the items and started lectures and classes for their instruction. Banbury Mechanics Institute was formed in 1835 and membership grew rapidly to 193 by the end of the year. by 1884 the Institute had outgrown their original premises in Church Passage and new premises were provided by Sir Bernhard Samuelson on Marlborough Road. The library of the Institute was popular reaching over 10,000 volumes in 1894. In 1923 the name was changed to the Banbury Institute and Library and after the Second World War the Borough Council took over its running; opening Banbury Library in 1948.
The records were deposited by Banbury Library as Acc 5632 in April 2007 and Acc 6624 in October 2017. Catalogued by Alison Smith in October 2017.