Oxford at War 1914-1918

Inside cover page

Inside cover of Norman Sutton’s scrap book CC BY-SA © Liz Beith

On the inside of his scrapbook, Norman Sutton writes: “Pleasant Reminiscences of College and ‘Varsity Days 1913-1914, 1919-1920”.

One page in the album has “The Isis” written across at the top and pasted on the page are a set of charts of the Eights (lists of the boats that took part in the annual intercollegiate rowing regatta). There are three charts for the summer races, one for each of Sutton’s undergraduate years: 1914, 1919, 1920.

The Isis - boat races

Page from Norman Sutton’s scrapbook CC BY-SA © Liz Beith

The dates offer an indication of something that was typical for the time. Like many other young men and women, Norman Sutton left Oxford to serve in the War. He was fortunate to survive and returned to complete his studies. We can get glimpses of his Oxford days through his scrapbook and guess what life was like in Oxford at the time, both before and after the War.  What we cannot see here, however, is what life was like in Oxford while he was away. What happened here during the War?

Oxford at War is a project set up to fill in the gaps left by resources like Norman Sotton’s album and make it easier to find out about Oxford during the First World War. The project collects and makes available information and material that relate to Oxford, the city, the University, and the people, during the War. It uses a model developed in previous projects where anyone who has stories, pictures, letters, or other material is invited to share it through a dedicated platform. The Oxford at War platform (http://oxfordatwar.uk) allows users to type in or upload text, add digital pictures, audio and video, or simply link to material they already have online. Material can then be explored by anyone who visits the site http://oxfordatwar.uk.

The Oxford at War project also runs and takes part in events and activities to collect and disseminate information about Oxford during the War, such as the Remembering the Great War collection and digitisation event at the Museum of History of Science (26 September 2015) and the Wikipedia World War 1 edit-a-thon (10 November 2015). The project is part of the University’s First World War Centenary commemorations and activities, supported by the Van Houten Bequest. More information about related resources and activities can be found through the University WW1 Centenary page http://www.ox.ac.uk/world-war-1.

If you have something to share but are unsure how to add it to the Oxford at War platform, need help with creating digital copies of your material, want to know about future events and activities or want more information about any aspect of the project or the platform, please contact the Oxford at War team at ww1collections@it.ox.ac.uk.

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