The College Archives hold a wealth of papers created by Eton College in the course of day-to-day business, kept permanently for their historical importance. These records detail some of the most significant events in Eton’s history and provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those connected with the college. They can also shed light on national and international events, viewed through the eyes of those at the college.
They make history tangible, and give access and evidence of the everyday life of people.
Records date from the 11th century to the present day and fall into four categories: College, School, Deposited records and Other records.
approximate number of items in the College Archives
Records generated by the everyday business of the Provost and Fellows (the governing body of Eton College), relating to all areas of their activities, including the foundation and administration of the estates. This category consists of accounts, minute books, correspondence on policy matters and title deeds for properties. A highlight is the Foundation Charter, dated 11 October 1440, stating Henry VI’s intention to found a school and naming the first scholars.
These records concern all aspects of school life, from curriculum to sports, societies to the running of the boarding houses. Dating from the late 18th century onwards, they give a picture of who studied here, what they studied and what they did outside the classroom. Key are the Head Masters’ registers dating from 1791, giving us a complete list of boys who have studied at Eton College since then.
The published registers giving names of boys from 1440 to 1919, and the Eton College Chronicle, the school magazine, have been digitised and are available to search online.
This category represents a diverse collection of records given to the college. It includes letters home from boys, diaries, reminiscences and school reports. These supplement the official papers and are an important source for the lives of those who have been at Eton.
The Archives is delighted to accept donations of relevant material that increase the richness of the collections, such as diaries, correspondence and photographs. Should you wish to donate any items relating to your or a relative’s time at Eton, please get in touch.
These are the records of bodies closely linked to Eton College that were separate organisations with their own administration, such as the Old Etonian Association, Eton Mission and War Memorial Fund. Also here are records of external agencies employed by the college, such as lawyers, school doctors and estates managers.
date of the oldest item in the archives
Research and Enquiries
Whether you are exploring your family history, researching the history of your local area, or undertaking scholarly research in other areas, you are very welcome to use the archives as a reader or to explore them online through our digitised records or our catalogue. We also offer an image service. Please contact us if you need more information.
Please note that administrative records are generally closed for 40 years. The Archivist will advise readers wishing to see records relating to boys.