East Oxford

Elm Tree pub, Cowley Road“…home to the thriftless, careless, lazy, ne’er-do-well sort…”: The Victorian and Edwardian development of East Oxford

Until the mid nineteenth century the land south-east of Magdalen Bridge was mainly open fields with a few isolated farmhouses on the roads leading out to Bartlemas chapel and to the villages of Cowley and Iffley. But enclosure in 1853 led to the rapid development of the area and streets lined with terraced houses sprang up with amazing speed. Within fifty years 2,500 homes had been built, attracting college servants, skilled artisans, labourers and what the local vicar Father Benson described as ‘the ignorant and rambling poor’. By the end of the century the suburb housed over a quarter of Oxford’s population and contained a lively mixture of shops, small factories, pubs, cinemas, theatres, schools, the city’s workhouse and Anglican and Non-conformist churches and chapels.

Watch a podcast of this talk given at Rewley House, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, on 1 September 2017 [move along to c. 3 minutes to find the start of the talk].

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

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