Jericho Talk

Life in Jericho from the 1950s, by Wendy Matthews

Posted - April 15, 2019

My dad would talk about Jericho, and what it was to him.
And as a child I would listen and try.to take it in
Sadly my memories are not as old as his -
I wish I had taken more heed when I was a kid

No need then for supermarkets or the Jericho Bus
A shop on every corner, we had what we need all around us.
Remember good old Wiggies, and his homemade lollies.
Mrs Gardner’s, Paviers, Mrs. Longs, Toms, and Brummies,
Jones for paraffin and Collins near the rec, Mrs James on the opposite side
Harry Bartons, Samsons, Saunders, Axtells and others, all ran with pride-

There was Capes on Walton Street full up to the brim
Co-op with its money-pulling gadget going ding ding ding
Moreland’s off licence, just take a jug and bottle,
And Custance the butcher for all your meat and offal
Cobbler Harold Couning, my friend,
Working hard, lots of shoes to mend

Not forgetting Mansel Summers the demon barber,
Ken Knights for your fruit
Then Wunnacottes on Walton if you needed a suit,
Del-Nevo cooked our fish and chips, wrapped in the daily news
And on every Street cornery a friend to swap your views.

Gala day at Barney School,
Peedle Bros selling fruit, acting the fool
All the kids in the fancy dress parade
Did the sun always shine - Did it never rain.

Dances and socials in the old school hall,
We didn’t mind that it was small,
Old time dancing at the University Press
I went with my cousin, in my best dress

Pubs, well they were a speciality
With Aunt Sally darts and lots of hospitality.
Lots of local characters called them home
Burrell’s at the Bakers,
Cox’s at the Globe,
Fountain, Bakers, Carpenters and Crown
Plough and Anchor, Walton Ales now not around

My dad and family used them all -
Like most in Jericho, made regular calls
On Saturday nights it was back to ours for a sing a long,
Perhaps that’s where the rejects came from.

For our fantasies The Scala fitted the bill,
Twice a week the film changed, I remember it still.
A drama, a comedy,a cartoon if you’re lucky
Nothing violent, nothing obscene, nothing dirty, nothing yucky

Remember Den Beale, who dressed up to play the fool,
Displays, and activities at Barney School.
Worcester College, on a summer’s afternoon.
The Co-op guild in their upstairs room.
Carol singers in winter warm coats
Peedle Bros. And the parade of floats.
Miss Huxley’s outings, but Sunday school was a must,
Raising church funds went to, Albert Upstone and Vera Rush.

Dennis the milkman always ready with a song.
Rag and bone and coal carts chugging along,
Kids playing in the street from dawn till dusk,
No need to lock your door, no one to mistrust.

Don’t be melancholy of things in the past
Nothing’s for ever nothing’s to last,
Except a community spirit a Jericho pride,
And a good friend sitting by your side.


Wendy used to present Jericho Talk at performances of the Jericho Rejects entertainment group. Most recently she read it as part of her appearance at My Jericho. For a report of this meeting please CLICK HERE

Did you know?

Who owns the houses?

In Jericho in 2011, only 21% of households were owner occupiers. Instead, many more people rented their homes: 58% from private landlords and 20% from ‘social’ landlords, mostly the City Council.

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.