Scope and Content

Milham Ford School (MFS) was established in the 1890s in the private house of the Misses Emma and Jane Moody in Iffley Road, Oxford. Originally established as a nursey school, by 1898 the school had expanded to take boys up to 10 years of age, and girls stayed until they were older. As the school grew, it moved from Iffley Road to a cottage in Cowley Place, and took the name 'Milham Ford' from the nearby ford.

In 1904, MFS was sold to the Church Education Corporation. New school buildings were added in 1906 and a preparatory department was founded in 1909. The school expanded further after the First World War and by 1921 there were 245 pupils. The school was sold again in 1923, this time to the City of Oxford and it was established as a girls' secondary school. Due to pressure on space, proposals were put forward for a new school building as early as 1928, but the school did not move to a new site in Marston until 1938.

The numbers of pupils continued to expand, and between 1940 and 1944, 300 additional students from Burlington School, Shepherd's Bush, shared the school with Milham Ford pupils. In 1947 MFS became a state grammar school, and the school's status changed again in 1975 when it was established as a comprehensive upper school, accepting female students aged between 13 and 19.

The school also expanded through a number of building projects, including the addition of a new gymnasium and art block in 1956, an outdoor swimming pool in 1964 and a separate Sixth Form block in 1968.

Despite its growing numbers, MFS was frequently under pressure from proposals to reorganize Oxford City schools. In 1973, it was suggested that MFS should become co-educational, a proposal that was later rejected, but the school did become comprehensive. In 1985 attempts were made to merge to six upper schools into five, or even four, larger schools, plans which again were rejected. Newscuttings relating to the 1985 campaign can be found at S126/5/8. A final decision to close the school was taken in 2000, as Oxford schools were once again reorganized. Papers relating to the campaign to save the school can be found at S126/5/9.

The collection was deposited with Oxfordshire Record Office as Acc 5165 in July 2003. Other records were deposited as part of Acc 5651 in December 2012, Acc 6141 in May 2007 and as part of Acc 6723 in December 2018. The records were catalogued by Hannah Jones in in September 2007 and December 2012 with additions by Alison Smith in July 2019.

It has been necessary to close some of the items in this collection for a fixed period, as they contain sensitive personal data. All items which are subject to a closure period are clearly marked.