ROBERT Sephton, who has died aged 90, was a successful historian and published a number of groundbreaking works on Oxfordshire's past, and also a talented musician and professional librarian.

Mr Sephton's final work, an account of the Chipping Norton Tweed Mill strike of 1913-14, was shortlisted for an award by the British Association for Local History in February.

Sadly, he didn't live to hear the news, but his friend Chris Hall said the 'modest and shy' man would have been proud of the recognition.

His 2007 article on district nursing revealed a voluntary organisation of district nurses providing a health service in South Oxfordshire villages before the advent of the NHS in the 1920s and 30s.

In his younger days he worked as chief librarian at the former Oxford College of Further Education for nearly 20 years.

Robert Sephton was born on January 16, 1927 in Southport, Merseyside, to parents Eleanor - nee Kennerley - and Robert Sephton, a driver in the removals trade.

The second eldest of four sons, he grew up in the seaside town with his three brothers William, Arthur and James.

Mr Sephton's passion for music began with the family's piano - they could only afford for one of the boys to have lessons and Robert was the lucky one after his older brother William turned it down - he would later gain a diploma at Trinity College, London.

When he left the local grammar school he was chosen at random to work in the coal mines as a 'Bevin Boy' instead of joining the armed forces on National Service.

Ten per cent of all more conscripts aged 18-25 became Bevin Boys and Mr Sephton worked at the Bickerstaffe colliery in Lancashire.

He then began work at his local branch library before moving on to posts around the Midlands and North West - at this time he continued his love of music by playing the organ at local churches, and was choirmaster at Wolverhampton.

He moved to Kennington at the end of 1960s and became chief librarian and tutor at the former Oxford College of Further Education, a role he would carry out for the next 19 years until his retirement.

Despite being deaf for some 30 years her regularly played in a musical quartet performing in the county.

It was in his retirement that the unmarried Sephton would become a prolific and respected local historian, joining the Oxfordshire Local History Association.

A degree from the Open University led to the publication of his first book 'Oxford and the General Strike of Oxford in 1926', in 1992.

He would published many books over the next 25 years, including biographies of notable Oxford Victorians such as the maverick mayor John Towle, and Wallingford MP William Seymour Blackstone.

Perhaps his most influential work were his articles disentangling the complicated story of Great Western Railway's arrival in Oxford amid opposition from Oxford University, along with his profile of district nurses in the 1920s and 30s.

But it was his final work, unbeknownst to him, that would bring him the most recognition.

His article The Striking Women, an account of the Chipping Norton Tweed Mill strike of 1913-14 was shortlisted for an award by the British Association for Local History in February, but sadly he never lived to hear the news.

In his later years he moved to Radley and was heavily involved with Radley History Club.

He died on February 20 and is survived by two nieces, Yvonne and Helen and a nephew, David.