Jericho Street

Jericho Street
Jericho Street

Posted - January 15, 2013

Jericho Street appears to have existed long before the district was built up.

Jericho Street seems to have marked the northern boundary of the tract of land bought by the Revd. Wellington Furze when Walton Manor Farm was abandoned. The farm belonged to St. John’s College and, apart from the site of the Jericho House, the land on the north side was not leased out for building until 1863. An open sewer carrying the discharge from the Radcliffe Infirmary ran down the street and south west across Jericho to Ward’s fields in the vicinity of Nelson Street. It was common practice to use natural streams as sewers in the 18th century and the fact that the lane marked a boundary does suggest that it was once a path along one of the streams draining down into the Castle Mill stream but there is no written evidence for such a supposition.

The land south of Jericho Street was built upon early in the development of Jericho despite the proximity of the sewer, cheap tenements being erected by a local bookseller. These were the notorious Jericho Gardens. Even so Mr. Wetherstone was not responsible for Rose Cottages, a double row of twelve one-up, one-down cottages, facing each other across an open sewer between Jericho Street and Cardigan Street. Built directly on to the earth they had no amenities and little light. An old resident of Cardigan Street described them as hovels, the occupants being forced to stand in the doorways to see to work. Until the 1860s Jericho Street only extended as far as the junction with Hart Street, then known as Union Street. It did not continue to Albert Street until 1864. As the land on the north side of the street belonged to St. John’s College it was not until 1863 that workmen’s cottages were built. Until then the land was used as allotments.

Jericho Gardens were demolished in 1939 as part of the first stage in slum clearance but work was stopped by the imminence of war. The move was also extremely unpopular with the residents, not because they opposed the destruction of the tenements, but because it involved re-housing them in Rose Hill, breaking up family links and leaving relatives without carers. The houses along the northern side of the street were part of the estate sold by St. John’s College to a property company in the mid-1950s. The Company cleared the site and then re-sold it to the City Council which developed it for sheltered housing. The homes in the western section of the street have been renovated but have altered little in appearance since they were built. The same cannot be said for the style and income levels of the inhabitants!

Based on article in the Jericho Sketchbook

Did you know?

About the church bells?

Originally the Church only had the single ‘Barney’s Bell’. In 1890, when the clock was installed, it was decided to add a set of tubular bells to ring the chimes and the hour strike, as well as a tune or ‘carillon’. The are driven by an elaborate mechanical contraption.

The origins of Walton?

Walton is derived from “wall town” which was used centuries ago to indicate a location outside the Oxford city walls. The ancient manor of Walton was certainly in existence before the Norman conquest in 1066.