ABOUT JERICHO - ARTS

Making memories

Portrait of the artist. Behind Jim Wright, looking up Jericho Street in the early 1960s, is what was then Tomes’ grocery store (now flats). “They sold everything there, but you had to chase out the rats”.
Portrait of the artist. Behind Jim Wright, looking up Jericho Street in the early 1960s, is what was then Tomes’ grocery store (now flats). “They sold everything there, but you had to chase out the rats”.

Posted - September 03, 2005

Cine record of the evolution of Jericho

In 1962, when Jim Wright was 16, his uncle, who worked at Harwell, gave him what was then a remarkable present, an 8 mm Bolex colour cine camera. “Always carry it with you”, he said, “and you will make some nice memories”.

Jim, who was born in a house in Jericho Street, and has lived there all his life, took his advice. “I realised that Jericho was changing, so I purposely went round and filmed the streets”.

Fancy dress at the Silver Jubilee in 1977. Left, a cardboard teapot; right, Britannia

Over the years, Jim also acquired other cine, video and still cameras and used them to keep a record of Jericho. Now he has put much of this material together in a new video/DVD: Jericho: As time goes by. Running for one hour and 48 minutes, this shows, for example, Jericho’s streets with some intriguing juxtapositions of old and new views of, among others, Cranham Street, Jericho Street and Nelson Street.

Jim filmed local events. such as the Silver Jubilee parties in 1977. There is also covererage of Guy Fawkes night in 1965. Jericho’s boys would go round collecting rubbish, using a cart borrowed from Peedell’s builders yard, and make a massive bonfire. Nowadays, a fire on that scale would bring the fire brigade roaring into action-and even in those days Jericho bonfires had been known to burn down telephone wires. Less incendiary events covered include maypole dancing at the school and rousing performances from our local entertainment group: the Jericho Rejects.

Preparing the site for the school, the telephone box is positioned as now

The presentation is available as a video for £10.95, or as a DVD for £11.95, from Jim Wright, 8 Jericho Street, Oxford OX2 6BU. Tel: 513048.

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Did you know?

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.

Cranham Street used to be a blot on the city

Before Grantham House was built, the site became notoriously derelict, making Cranham Street according to the local press a ‘blot on the city’ – wrecked by local children, and a refuge for rats and for ‘layabouts sleeping off the drink’ who were repeatedly evicted by the police.