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Explore the OU's heritage this Charter Day

A close up shot of the OU CharterOn Tuesday 23 April 2024, we will be celebrating the OU’s 55th birthday – marking the anniversary of the day the OU received the Royal Charter.

If you’re interested in learning more about the OU’s fascinating history, you can visit the OU Digital Archive to access nearly 8000 online archive items, including video, audio, images, print items and sample archived module websites (with the full collection to follow). There’s also a range of exhibitions to explore, including:

  • The OU Story: A journey through the history of the University - from Harold Wilson's initial plans in 1963, the creation of the University in 1969 and developments through to the present day.
  • PhD Pioneers: The stories and lived experiences of twelve of the OU’s first PhD graduates from 1973-79.
  • Philosophy in the Open: Videos from a golden age of mid-to late 20th century British philosophy, accompanied by newly commissioned commentaries by leading contemporary thinkers.

The OU community can also use the University Archive service to access: 

  • Archived print and audio/visual OU course materials for re-use or research.
  • Historical committee papers, images, university publications or magazines for speeches, presentations, reviews of old policies or for other purposes.
  • Collections for research (among others we have the papers of Jennie Lee, Walter Perry and Betty Boothroyd).

Start your treasure hunt over at the OU Digital Archive. If you have any queries about the University Archives, please contact the team at