The College Museum

The museum at Oscott was founded by Augustus Welby Pugin. From 1837 he lived partly at Oscott, and gave lectures here as Professor of Ecclesiastical Art and Architecture. The Middle Ages represented to him the spirit of the age of Catholic faith. To restore the medieval setting for Catholic worship was, to Pugin, the means of restoring people to that faith.

Pugin’s aim in establishing the museum was twofold. Firstly, it was a means of preserving and displaying objects of Christian art, mainly from the Middle Ages, for the benefit of the college members and their visitors. As he wrote to a friend in June 1839, “We shall have a school of art at Oscott after the vacation and a very interesting ecclesiastical museum which will be arranged during the vacation. To these any of the boys [in the school] may have access at stated periods and under certain regulations. I hope great things from these as I think it will inspire the rising generation with true taste and make them duly appreciate the works of their Catholic ancestors”.

Secondly it was as a means of education, to stir the imagination of the visitor to appreciation and understanding of the Christian message which the objects reflected. By entering into the creative world of Christian art, the visitor could be brought to a deeper appreciation of the faith which inspired it. That twofold purpose is still reflected in the museum today.

Beggars bush Oscott College Museum

In the spirit of Augustus Welby Pugin, we hope that the Oscott museum will be a source, not only of knowledge about the past, but of inspiration for the future. We welcome visitors from all religious traditions and none, who have an interest in the eternal values which the objects here represent. Everything in this museum has been made holy by its use in the life and worship of the Church, and so they are not dead objects but living reminders of the faith which we share with those who have gone before us.


The college museum is a private collection, to which access is permitted to groups visiting the College by prior arrangement. It is not possible to offer individual tours, and the museum is not open to the general public. Individual research visits by scholars wishing access to specific items may be arranged with the museum curator, Naomi Johnson;

Tel: 0121 321 5021