Leisure and entertainment

“…habitual drunkards induced to spend their evenings in the library”: Leisure and entertainment in Victorian and Edwardian Oxford

In the mid nineteenth century changes in employment practices and rising real wages meant that ordinary working people found themselves, usually for the first time, with leisure time and with spare money to spend on recreation. All sorts of establishments arose to fulfil the new demand for entertainment, many of them aimed at keeping people out of the pub. Come and find out where and how Oxford citizens spent their free time, and how the middle classes attempted to impose ‘rational recreation’ on their working-class contemporaries.

“The walk made us see Oxford in a new light and yet again you’ve shown us the richness of the history all around us, or indeed just above us!”
Sharon Murray, South Oxford WI, April 2022.

“Thank you so much for the brilliant guided walk. None of us has any excuse for being bored in Oxford ever again!”
Judith Fontaine, Marcham Society, June 2014.

“I found the walk stimulating and entertaining, making me look at familiar Oxford buildings in a new light.”
Alastair Lack, Oxford Civic Society, August 2011.

“Plenty of information, vividly described and well researched…a very revealing glimpse of a side of Oxford which is easily overlooked.”  Jo Acty, Artist, September 2010.

Contact me on 01865 242760 or liz@lizwoolley.co.uk to book this walk.

An illustrated talk on this topic is also available.

A downloadable version of this walk is available on the Royal Geographical Society’s Discovering Britain website.

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