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North Oxford

north oxford baptist church, north oxford carpet mills
North Oxford is a suburban part of the city of Oxford in England1 It was owned for many centuries largely by St John's College, Oxford and many of the area's Victorian houses were initially sold on leasehold by the College2


  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Geography
  • 3 Notable people
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 Bibliography
  • 7 External links


The leafy roads of Woodstock Road to the west and Banbury Road to the east leading to Woodstock and Banbury respectively run north-south through the area, meeting at their southern ends to become St Giles' Street North Oxford is noted for its schools, especially its private schools These include the Dragon School and Summer Fields formerly Summerfield, which are preparatory schools, and St Edward's School and the Oxford High School for Girls, which are secondary schools, as well as St Clare's, Oxford, an international sixth form college which is the longest provider of the International Baccalaureate Diploma in England source ISA


The boundary of "North Oxford" is not exactly defined, but the original area developed by St John's College sometimes now called "Central North Oxford" runs north from the top end of St Giles' to approximately Kingston Road, Frenchay Road, Staverton Road, and Marston Ferry Road, south of Summertown1 It includes Park Town, Norham Manor, and the eastern parts of Walton Manor

Four of Oxford University's former women's colleges, Lady Margaret Hall, St Anne's, St Hugh's and Somerville at the southern extreme are located in North Oxford There are also four graduate colleges, Green Templeton College formerly Green College, St Antony's, both off the Woodstock Road, Kellogg on Banbury Road, and to the east Wolfson, on the River Cherwell To the south of the college is the Cherwell Boathouse, a popular punting spot Further south, also bordering the Cherwell, are the University Parks A large open area of ancient common land, Port Meadow, adjoining the River Isis the section of the River Thames that flows through Oxford is located to the west

Much of the central area contains excellent examples of late 19th century Victorian Gothic architecture, and is now a conservation area3 The conservation area includes three Grade I listed buildings, the Church of St Philip and St James4 which now houses the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, the Observer's House now Osler House,5 and the Radcliffe Observatory;6 the latter two are now both part of Green Templeton College There are Regency-style houses built in the mid-19th century in the crescents of Park Town, initially in the middle of the countryside but now surrounded by the rest of the suburb

Central North Oxford between the city centre and Summertown, has been described as the most desirable suburb of Oxford, England78 It is popularly supposed that it was originally developed for the dons of the University once they were allowed to marry However central North Oxford in particular includes many large houses which were then unaffordable by most dons, and the houses were instead occupied by successful tradesmen of the city Today, many homes are occupied by rich London commuters, attracted by the good schools A number of the larger houses are used by Oxford colleges and other educational establishments

At the northern extremity of North Oxford, which is approximately the line of the A40 the northern bypass, part of the Oxford ring road are three suburbs, Sunnymead and Cutteslowe to the east of Banbury Road and Wolvercote to the west of Woodstock Road Beyond the bypass is the village of Kidlington Wolvercote Cemetery contains the grave of J R R Tolkien note that Wolvercote Cemetery is not in Wolvercote itself, but beside Banbury Road north of the A40 Cutteslowe Park is a large open area just to the north of this bypass

Notable peopleedit

North Oxford has attracted famous residents, such as the authors and academics J R R Tolkien 1892–1973 and Iris Murdoch 1919–1999 Murdoch lived with her husband and fellow academic John Bayley, and the area was featured in the biographical film, Iris T E Lawrence known as Lawrence of Arabia grew up in Polstead Road, North Oxford

Sir John Betjeman 1906–1984, Poet Laureate, was an enthusiast about North Oxford and wrote poems mentioning the area, such as May-Day Song for North Oxford:

Belbroughton Road is bonny, and pinkly bursts the spray
Of prunus and forsythia across the public way,
For a full spring-tide of blossom seethed and departed hence,
Leaving land-locked pools of jonquils by sunny garden fence

And a constant sound of flushing runneth from windows whence
The toothbrush too is airing in this new North Oxford air

See alsoedit

  • Norham Manor
  • Walton Manor
  • Acland Hospital
  • Cherwell Boathouse
  • Oxford Ecohouse
  • St Philip and St James Church
  • Moreton Road


  1. ^ a b Hibbert, Christopher, ed 1988 "North Oxford" The Encyclopaedia of Oxford Macmillan pp 282–284 ISBN 0-333-39917-X 
  2. ^ Hinchcliffe, 1992
  3. ^ "North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area Appraisal" PDF UK: Oxford City Council January 2017 Retrieved 14 February 2017 
  4. ^ "Church of St Philip and St James" UK: Historic England Retrieved 14 February 2017 
  5. ^ "Osler House" UK: Historic England Retrieved 14 February 2017 
  6. ^ "The Nuffield Institute for Medical Research: The Radcliffe Observatory" UK: Historic England Retrieved 14 February 2017 
  7. ^ Snow, 1991, pages 157–173
  8. ^ Curl, 1977, pages 149–162


  • Eleanor Chance; et al 1979 Crossley, Alan; Elrington, C R, eds Victoria County History: A History of the County of Oxford 4 
  • Curl, James Stevens 1977 The Erosion of Oxford Oxford Illustrated Press ISBN 0-902280-40-6 
  • Graham, Malcolm 1992 "North Oxford" Images of Victorian Oxford Alan Sutton Publishing pp 85–94 ISBN 0-86299-967-7 
  • Hinchcliffe, Tanis 1992 North Oxford New Haven: Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-05184-0 
  • Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus 1974 The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire Harmondsworth: Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-071045-0 
  • Snow, Peter 1991 Oxford Observed London: John Murray Publishers pp 157–173 ISBN 0-7195-4707-5 
  • Symonds, Ann Spokes 1997 The Changing Faces of North Oxford Book One Robert Boyd Publications ISBN 1 899536 25 6 
  • Symonds, Ann Spokes 1998 The Changing Faces of North Oxford Book Two Robert Boyd Publications ISBN 1 899536 33 7 
  • Tyack, Geoffrey 1998 Oxford: an architectural guide Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-817423-3 

External linksedit

  • Oxford City: North Oxford information

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