Percy Elford

Burcote Church of England School and St Mary' Church, Burcote, Oxfordshire - view of the porch end and side from the road, with school pupils and car, 1905

Percy Elford, creator of an Oxfordshire schools Domesday survey.

Key Facts

  • Size: 3,000 images
  • Coverage: Oxfordshire elementary schools
  • Date range: largely 1903—1914


  • Percy Elford (1867-1950) was born in Exeter and got a First in Natural Sciences at Christ Church in 1889. He became a Fellow of St John’s College, lecturing in Chemistry and helped to organise technical education for Oxfordshire County Council from 1893.
  • He was appointed Oxfordshire's chief education officer in 1903 when the county council took over the county's elementary schools.
  • Elford and his staff built up an amazing card index of information about each school, now safely housed by Oxfordshire History Centre
  • An early motorist and a keen photographer, Elford added to the index over 3,000 photographs of every elementary school in the county inside and out, many of them showing children and teachers. Elford retired through ill health in 1920, taught for a few years in Yorkshire and Kent and lived on until 1950.
A cartoon showing Percy Elford, by Nagel, St John's College collection