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www.jerichocentre.org.uk
Community site for the Jericho district of Oxford, UK
Mon, December 22, 2014

Last Bookshop

Quality remainder titles

From children’s books and cookery to art, literature and philosophy - with a café space

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Table tennis

Table tennis in St Barnabas Church. Available to Jericho residents on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Sign up in the church porch.

ABOUT JERICHO - HISTORY ITEM

A brief history of Jericho

The Jericho Tavern from whcih this district may have derived its name

Item posted: January 07 2013

The origins of the name Jericho remain clouded in the mists of time.

In the Bible, Jericho signifies a ‘remote place’ and could have referred to the area’s location just outside the Oxford city walls. In the 17th Century, people coming to Oxford from the north after the city gates were shut could take refuge in ‘The Jericho House’. This inn, which was subsequently rebuilt in its three-storey form in 1818, is now called ‘The Jericho Tavern’.

Most of Jericho’s first round of housing development took place in the 19th Century as a means of accommodating workers in expanding local businesses. Their numbers increased after the construction of the Oxford Canal (1790), the building of the Jericho Iron and Brass Foundry, now Lucy’s (1825), and the arrival of Oxford University Press (1826).

Their houses were small and basic, lacking even basic drainage. As a result most of Jericho was little more than a squalid slum and vulnerable to outbreaks of cholera. The worst area was a block of small houses behind the Jericho House in an area called ‘Jericho Gardens’. These tenements were demolished in 1937 and the land they stood on is now occupied by the school.

Initially, building was only possible on the higher land closer to Walton Street. It was only after the 1860s, as the land closer to the canal was steadily drained, that the area below Albert Street was developed. This included the building on Canal Street of St. Barnabas Church (1870)— whose arrival provided some moral uplift and started to dispel the area’s sordid reputation. A lot of the housing was, and remains, two-up, two-down terraced housing, built by speculators or by landlords such as St. John’s College or Lucy’s.

Jericho faced a major crisis in the 1960s with proposals to demolish most of the fairly dilapidated houses and turn the area over to offices and light industry. This was resisted vigorously by the Residents’ Association, with the support of the Church and local councillors, particularly the late Olive Gibbs.

While some of the housing by then was too far gone and had to be destroyed, most of the area was saved and renovated. As result of its convenient location close to the city centre, Jericho has now become a desirable area for young professional people, though it also retains many residents who have spent all their lives here.

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Did you know ...

Why Juxon Street?

Juxon Street is named after William Juxon, President of St John’s College from 1621-33.

Who has a car?

According to the 2001 Census, only 47% of Jericho households have a car compared with 67% for Oxford as a whole.

What St Barnabas Church cost to build?

Thomas Combe the Superin­tendent of OUP and it was he who commissioned and paid for the construc­tion of the church in 1869 at a cost of £6,492. All the interior fittings were provided for about £900. The campanile was erected in 1872 for £800.

 

Other recent postings

About Jericho Online

Jericho’s links with OUP

Jericho census profile

Frances Wright

Ted Harris

Cyril Pead

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