The objectives of the Oxfordshire Buildings Record (OBR) are to advance education and promote research on the buildings of Oxfordshire, to encourage the recording of buildings and to create a publicly accessible repository of building survey records.
The (OBR) is a volunteer-led non-profit making organisation run by a committee elected annually at the AGM. Minutes of all meetings are published in the members area of this website. Read the constitution here.
We produce a quarterly newsletter which is circulated to members by email. Copies of past newsletters can be viewed here.
The OBR was launched in May 2000.
It grew out of the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society’s listed building casework, which often involves a detailed study of the buildings for which approval is sought. In the early days, caseworkers also received paper copies of building plans and it was felt that it was important that all this material and expertise should not be lost.
Once we had separated ourselves from the contentious business of commenting on planning applications opportunities to study and record buildings other than those undergoing alteration grew, with invitations frequently coming from house owners just interested to learn more of the history of their home. Our work soon attracted novice members keen to learn more about how to study historic houses and other buildings, and with some of our members part-time tutors at the Department for Continuing Education of the University of Oxford we eagerly adopted our second focus of activity of educating and informing people wishing to learn more about vernacular architecture.
We now have around 195 members and have recorded well over 400 historic buildings in Oxfordshire, most of their analytical survey reports now destined for preservation in the Oxfordshire History Centre.
As well as educating our members and recording buildings we also publish our work when the opportunity arises and in doing so we make a significant contribution to the study of historic buildings, a science which is young and still growing. As we learn more about the traditions and techniques of early builders we improve our analytical skills allowing us to more accurately date the buildings we study. By publishing our research we allow others to understand and build upon our work for the benefit of all. A list of some of our member’s publications can be read here.