Ted Harris

April 2014

Ted died aged 83 on the 4th of March 2014, in the house where he was born in 1930 in what was then called Ferry Road, now called Combe Road. He was baptised in St Barnabas Church went to St Barnabas School and ultimately had his funeral service at St Barnabas Church – the last person currently living here for whom all that will be true.

Ted did his national service in the RAF and then worked as a warehouseman in Oxford University Press. He lived with his mother and cared for her for many years, and could often be seen wheeling her round the streets of Jericho. Ted was a regular attender at St Barnabas Church (though not at the morning services because he claimed the incense affected his chest) and was a verger there and also at St Luke’s where he always attended the Wednesday coffee mornings.

As well as being an Oxford United supporter, Ted was a member of the University Cricket Club in the parks and once had Dennis Compton come to visit him at home. Another of his enthusiasms was trains – on which he had a huge collection of books, photographs and magazines. His family had links with Whitby and he loved to visit there once or twice a year with his mother.

Ted was also a great source of information on Jericho. He recalled, for example, how the residents of Ferry Road were upset when the road was renamed to avoid confusion with Marston Ferry Road, especially since Jericho still had a ferry until the 1960s. And it is thanks to Ted that Cripley Island has a sign labelling it as Snakes Island which is what the children used to call it because of the grass snakes there during the summer.

In later years Ted was slowed down somewhat after a stroke, but was still alert and cheerful (“taking so many pills that I am rattling”). He was a key member of the Alive and Kicking group at the Community centre. His funeral service at St Barnabas on March 25 was well attended by his many friends who were also able to see several photo albums which included a picture with his mother taken at Whitby Abbey in a striking pair of red pants.

Anne Mobbs writes of Ted:

Ted was usually the first to arrive at the Alive and Kicking Group on a Monday at the Community Centre – he took part in all the activities – Christmas Party at the Jam Factory, Playhouse Pantomime, and a trip to OUP where he was amazed at the changes since he had worked there. We cut the holly from the huge tree in his garden for the Christmas wreath workshop – he had planted the tree many years ago. I admired his wrought iron back gate and he said a friend who worked at Lucy’s foundry had made it especially for him. It would be lovely to mount the gate somewhere in Jericho with a plaque to remember Ted. I introduced him to my son, Keir, in the Bookbinders one evening and he said ‘I always go to the Bookbinders – because I was a bookbinder myself! A lovely man who will be truly missed.

This article appeared in Jericho Echo No 75, July 2014.