A final opportunity to preserve

Conservation area proposed

Posted - November 04, 2010

City Council officers are proposing that Jericho become a Conservation Area. They will be holding surgeries at the Community Centre on Saturday 20 November and Saturday 4 December between 10 a.m. and 12 noon to answer questions.

The officers have concluded that Jericho is “under threat from inappropriate alterations to the fabric of its buildings” and are proposing an ‘Article 4’ designation which would control changes to features such as windows, doors, brickwork, chimneys, roofs and boundary walls.

The Central South and West Area Committee meeting will discuss this in January 2011 but the final decision will be taken by the Council’s Strategic Development Control Committee. If it votes for an Article 4 directive this would start a more formal consultation process with residents.

As part of the assessment the City Council has, with the help of local people, carried out a detailed appraisal of the area. This explains, for example, how Jericho’s architecture reflects the policies of the historical landowners. One was St Johns College which from the 1850s developed its extensive estate in Jericho on a leasehold basis so it could control the type of building. This was reflected in consistent architectural styles such as in the houses in Juxon Street, for example, now owned by Lucy’s, and the grander properties in Walton Crescent and Richmond Road which are more like other former St Johns properties in North Oxford.

Another major landowner, the Wellington-Furse family, exercised less control because it sold the freehold. One of its major sales, in 1825, was of three-and-a-half acres to the University for the construction of the Press. They also sold land to the Oxford Canal Company. In addition, the family sold off small plots in the centre of Jericho to speculative builders who generally rented out their hastily constructed houses. You can track the progress of these mini-developments in small breaks in housing style as you move along certain streets.

Some information from the assessment has been extracted below:

Did you know?

  • Oxford University Press was probably sited in Jericho to take advantage of the availability of coal from the canal for steam power for the presses.
  • In1951 the Census indicates that fewer than 10% of the properties were owner occupied. Many shared facilities – 25% shared piped water and 18% a WC. 70% did not have a fixed bath.
  • A lantern on 24 Great Clarendon Street at the corner of Hart Street, indicates the original style of street lighting.
  • Jericho has a number of listed buildings: St Barnabas Church is Grade I listed; the University Press is Grade II* listed and its railings are Grade II; numbers 96-101 Walton Street are Grade II Listed.
  • Shirley Place is a 1930s art-deco style development that replaced St Paul’s School.
  • Excavations for gravel for the rail embankment resulted in the undulating land around Polstead Road.
  • As a result of redevelopment in the 1970s, 30% of properties in Jericho ended up owned by the City Council.

Did you know?

Why Jericho still has such a mix of houses?

Jericho’s intriguing mix of housing today owes a lot, to the Residents’ Association in the 1960s and 1970s which together with the then Vicar and some local councillors resisted plans to bulldoze the whole area and turn it over to offices and light industrial use.

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.