ABOUT JERICHO - HISTORY
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.
|Working Class Housing in Jericho||Oxford Boy - A Post-war Townie Childhood||Jericho’s links with OUP||Happy days at the Scala||Looking back at Jericho’s gardens||A suburb of Victorian Oxford||Open fields to narrow streets||A magnet for Jericho’s children, layabouts and rats||Jericho embraces the canal||Memories of wigs and cassocks||A Jericho childhood||Facing the past||Traces of ancient Walton||Living memories ... St. Giles Fair||Living memories ... shops and shopping||THE EAGLE IRONWORKS OXFORD||Thomas Combe||Press opens in Walton Street||The history of St. Paul’s Church||50 Years of Jericho||Memories from a resident of Jericho|
Margaret Thatcher used to live here?
In her Oxford days, she lived at 12 Richmond Road. It is alleged she shared the house with two red-hot communists who lived on a diet of sausages. This may account for her later views on socialists and known dislike of sausages.
The origins of Nelson Street?
Nelson Street takes its name from a local pub, the Lord Nelson, subsequently renamed Carpenters’ Arms—which has since been converted to housing.