In 1884, Bradley finally joined Murray's team and became his most important colleague. In that year Oxford Press suggested that the ‘Scriptorium’ should move from Murray’s home town to Oxford. In the following year a new Scriptorium was built in the yard of the house at 78 Banbury Road. (OED, xvii)
In their new domicile the team immediately started working on Part II which included the words from ‘Ant’ to ‘Batten’. Oxford Press wanted them to increase the rate of progress. It was obvious that this request could only be fulfilled by introducing more editors to the project. Impressed by Bradley, who assisted working on the letter ‘B’, Murray selected him to be in charge for a second independently working cell. These two cells worked simulaneously from 1888 on and split up the letters. This enabled them to publish more parts, as the following list shows:
C 1888-93 | E 1888-93
D 1893-97 | F 1893-97
H 1897-99 | G 1897-1900
Although the work of these two cells had increased the rate of progress the Press was not satisfied yet. Therefore in 1901 a third editor was introduced, William Craigie. He had already assisted Bradley with the letter ‘G’ and Murray with ‘I’ and ‘K’. Craigie started editing the letter ‘Q’ independently in 1901.
These three separate cells led to a good and friendly competition between the editors. They published their monthly pages “to see who was the fastest” (Winchester, p. 227). Murray always won.
In 1914, a fourth cell was establish under the guidance of Charles Onions. He had already joined the dictionary staff in 1895 and started his independent work on the words between ‘Su’ and ‘Sz’. (OED, xviii)
Having four separate cells working eagerly to finish the Dictionary Murray gained hope that he would live long enough to see the completion of the work (he was almost 80 years old).
The outbreak of World War I quickly reduced the Dictionary staff because many young members were withdrawn. The loss of these well trained members was noticably for the next couple of years. Additionally, Murray succumbed to cancer of the prostate which made his further work very difficult. On July 26th, 1915, James Murray died. The last word he edited was twentieth and his Dictionary is memorized as a twentieth-century achievement.
After the War some members returned and Bradley succeeded Murray as senior editor. But his succession only lasted eight years, because on May 23rd, 1923 Bradley died as well. There was no way in replacing both, Murray and Bradley, so Craigie and Onions and some already well trained assistants kept on working on the Dictionary. (OED, xix)
The following chart shows the publications from 1900 on:
|I J K 1899-1901|
|O 1902-1904||Q 1902; R-Re 1903-1905|
|P 1904-1909||M 1904-1908||N 1906-1907; Re-Ry 1907-1910|
|T 1909-1915||St 1914-1919||Si-Sq 1910-1915|
|V 1916-1920||Su-Sz 1914-1919|
|W-We 1920-1923||U 1921-26||X Y Z 1920-21|
|Wo-Wy 1927||Wh-Wo 1922-1927|