A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 4, the City of Oxford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1979.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Street-Repair, Cleansing, and Lighting, p. 350. Drainage and Sewage Disposal, p. 353. Water Supply, p. 354. Gas Supply, p. 356. Electricity Supply, p. 356. Police Service, p. 357. Fire Service, p. 357. Post Office, p. 358. Internal Transport, p. 359. Hospital Services, p. 360. Baths, p. 363. Parks, p. 363. Cemeteries, p. 364.
STREET-REPAIR, CLEANSING, AND LIGHTING.
Excavated late-Saxon and medieval road surfaces consisted only of a spread of gravel, (fn. 1) which presumably deteriorated quickly. In an undated but possibly 13th-century petition to the king the burgesses of Oxford asked that the streets, which had recently been paved, might be protected by banning carts with iron-bound wheels, as in London. (fn. 2) Such solicitude by the townsmen for their streets is not confirmed by other medieval references, which are concerned almost entirely with vociferous university complaints about the streets and with royal orders arising therefrom. By the late 13th century the university was keenly aware of the threat to health offered by the numerous dunghills, pigsties, and slaughter-houses scattered within the walls; it was able to persuade successive kings first to stir the corporation into action, and later to remove from the townsmen the absolute control of streetrepair and cleansing.
Thus in 1293, at the university's request, Edward I ordered the townsmen to clean streets fouled by animals and to remove dung heaps from in front of houses. (fn. 3) In 1301, after university complaints that the pavement was broken and the air so corrupted by dung that men were 'filled with loathing', the mayor and bailiffs were ordered to repair the streets and remove pigsties; (fn. 4) but in 1305, after similar complaints, the king ordered that the streets should be repaired under the supervision of men chosen by the university, and that burgesses might be compelled to co-operate. (fn. 5) In that year the king forbade the melting of grease in the streets, and in 1310 asked the mayor and bailiffs to forbid the slaughter of animals in public places such as Carfax. (fn. 6) In 1331, 1334, 1339, and 1380 the chancellor and mayor jointly were empowered to distrain on all householders, both clerks and laymen, to repair the pavement fronting their tenements, and the chancellor was told to act alone if the mayor were negligent. (fn. 7) In 1336 the mayor and burgesses were threatened with 'a harsher hand' if they did not enforce repairs by householders, and in 1339, when the royal ban on slaughter-houses within the walls was repeated, the chancellor and the warden of Merton College were appointed to oversee the orders and to fine offenders. (fn. 8) In 1355, after the riot of St. Scholastica's day, the control of the streets was wrested from the townsmen and granted to the university. (fn. 9)
Thereafter the university appointed masters of the streets annually, who probably acted in a supervisory capacity only. (fn. 10) At first the chancellor could punish street offenders by ecclesiastical censure, but in 1459 he was given power to amerce those guilty of obstructing the streets, (fn. 11) and most offenders were probably always amerced in leets. The exact division of responsibility for the streets was the subject of continued dispute between town and university, for both bodies held leets in which street offenders were amerced. (fn. 12) In 1459 the town bailiffs retained the right to the amercements for street offences, although they were imposed by the chancellor, provided they collected them within three days. (fn. 13) In practice the university seems to have had the power to compel the cleaning or repair of streets only if the town authorities had failed to take action on their own.
Most by-laws relating to streets were made by the town, although the university statutes of 1636, for example, included regulations about streets, (fn. 14) and in 1661 the university made general orders for streetrepair and, jointly with the town, ordered the proper burial of dead animals. (fn. 15) The two bodies co-operated in the appointment of a common scavenger in the 17th century, and the university paid for certain street repairs, (fn. 16) chiefly areas fronting its own property. In 1629, however, it was reported that the university had repaired the road from East Gate to Magdalen College twice in the previous 20 years. (fn. 17) The university continued to appoint masters of the streets in the 16th and 17th centuries, but the traditional assignment of 4 masters to the area between East Gate and St. Mary's church, and of another to the area 'behind St. Mildred's', a church which had closed in 1427, (fn. 18) suggests that the masters were not active officials. Apparently one master who attempted to assert his authority in the mid 18th century was burnt in effigy by the townsmen. (fn. 19)
Parochial responsibility for repairs and cleansing was similarly limited, chiefly to the streets fronting the churches and parish properties. St. Mary the Virgin parish paved Catte Street in 1559–60, and St. Mary Magdalen the street at the bull-ring in 1575–6. (fn. 20) Remarkably few references to parochial expenditure on street-repair have been found. St. Martin's pitched around a maypole, presumably near Carfax, in 1631–2. (fn. 21) In 1658–9 the churchwardens of St. Peterin-the-East were involved in a law-suit over the mending of part of Longwall Street, and in 1674 they paid the city £4 to take on its repair. (fn. 22) The parish of St. Mary the Virgin mended the gutter in Catte Street and pitched the High Street in front of the church in 1674–5; St. Peter-le-Bailey repaired Bullocks Lane in 1711–12. (fn. 23) Parish surveyors of the streets are seldom mentioned except in St. Mary Magdalen, which was outside the city in the manor of Northgate hundred, where three surveyors were chosen in 1594. (fn. 24) A shortlived ordinance of 1654 allowed parishes to make a highway rate, and under that St. Aldate's vestry appointed surveyors in 1655 and St. Mary's in 1656. (fn. 25) Highway rates were frequently resisted by parishioners. In 1672 the roads in St. Mary Magdalen parish were so dangerous that quarter sessions ordered the surveyors to levy a rate to repair them, and in 1709 St. Cross parish required the backing of justices to levy a rate to repair Longwall, a street long in dispute between them and St. Peter-in-the-East. (fn. 26)
From at least the 14th century the town had paid for paving and cleaning public places such as the town gates and markets, and presumably outside the guild hall. In 1339, for instance, the chamberlains paid for paving at the North Gate, and in 1420 for the removal from Newmarket, inside the West Gate, of several loads of filth. (fn. 27) The paving of Carfax was paid for in 1556 by a beneficent mayor, (fn. 28) but the city usually paid for such areas later, and there were regular payments for the carriage of paving materials, and special efforts were made to repair and 'beautify' the streets, gates, and houses on the occasion of royal visits. (fn. 29) As with the university and the parishes, however, the city tried, if possible, to place the responsibility for repairs on other institutions or private individuals: in 1643 there was a protracted dispute between the city and Pembroke College over the repaving of part of Brewer Street; the vice-chancellor apportioned liability between Pembroke, Christ Church, and the city, but the assizes, to which the city appealed, upheld the city's contention that Pembroke alone was responsible. (fn. 30) Certain streets and lanes such as part of that from North Gate to Hythe Bridge were accepted as the city's responsibility, presumably because they lay on the city waste, but they were not always kept in repair. (fn. 31)
In 1561 the city council repeated the prohibition on iron-bound cart-wheels, (fn. 32) and in 1582 ordered that pavements were to be repaired by those responsible, and were to be made of a uniform height so that the gutters should have a reasonable slope to carry off water and filth. No one was to throw rubbish into rivers or streams, or to block gutters by sweeping dirt into them after heavy rain. Each householder was to clean his share of the gutter twice a week. No swine were to be kept in the streets, and chandlers' meltinghouses and butchers' slaughter-houses were forbidden within the walls. No encroachments were to be made on the streets without licence, and eaves and jetties were to be at least nine feet from the ground so that riders or carts could pass underneath. (fn. 33)
The first common scavenger was appointed in 1541 to sweep and carry away household refuse and stable dung. He was to be paid by the householders, but the arrangement presumably did not work, since in 1542 two tax assessors for each ward were appointed to raise money for the removal of dunghills. (fn. 34) In 1578 the city council agreed that there should be scavengers throughout the city and appointed two men in each parish to collect money to pay them. (fn. 35) In the same year convocation decreed that all privileged persons should pay for a scavenger appointed by convocation. (fn. 36)
In 1621 the university joined with the city in the appointment of a common scavenger paid for by a levy on all colleges and privileged persons and a tax on townsmen's houses. Inhabitants were to sweep up dirt by their houses into piles ready for the scavenger's cart. (fn. 37) In 1626 after some problems in the collection of the tax, joint orders from the vice-chancellor and mayor to churchwardens laid down new regulations for the tax, which was to be collected by one freeman and one privileged person in each parish; rates were to be levied on all inhabitants whose frontages were on paved streets. (fn. 38) All such orders seem to have been largely ignored, however, and by 1632 the North Gate in particular had become such a dumping ground for refuse that the city employed a special cleaner for it. (fn. 39) In 1630 the common scavenger was made responsible for cleaning the paved places within the walls, Grandpont, and the lane from South Gate to Littlegate, but he was presented for negligence in 1634. (fn. 40) Complaints about the filth of the streets continued, and during the Civil War the pile of refuse at the North Gate vastly increased; between 1643 and 1647 the city chamberlains paid for the removal of 444 cart-loads of dirt. (fn. 41) In 1665 complaint was made to the king and parliament about the foul state of the city streets, and the city threatened a fine or a week's imprisonment for anyone not cleaning his part of the street every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. (fn. 42) By 1672 the streets were again said to be obstructed by heaps of filth and the appointment of parish scavengers was ordered. (fn. 43) A common scavenger was appointed for the city and university, carts were supplied for the rubbish, and a detailed rota was drawn up for the cleaning of each street; city and university marshals were to walk daily through the streets due for cleaning to give notice to the householders to have their rubbish ready. The scavenger was to clear up around St. Mary's and St. Martin's churches after the Saturday market, although each stall-holder was responsible for cleaning his pitch; his salary was to be raised by a general tax on all inhabitants of the city. (fn. 44)
The corporation took little active part in streetcleaning in the 18th century, but continued to pay a sweeper to clear Bocardo, East Gate, and in front of the guild hall until 1771. (fn. 45) In 1764 it was complained that townsmen still piled their refuse outside public buildings, particularly the Clarendon Press. (fn. 46)
The Paving Commissioners appointed under the Oxford Mileways Act of 1771 decided new roads should be constructed to drain towards the sides with raised foot-paths, but in the maintenance of old roads the existing plan was followed: usually a central 'kennel' or gutter of chain stones on either side of which was laid firstly dirt, well rammed down, then gravel, rammed again, and finally either pebbles or square pitching stones rammed into the gravel. Success depended upon the physical force of the ramming. (fn. 47) In 1764 a university man complained that the pebbles used were sharp, pointed, and ruinous to shoes. (fn. 48)
Plans were made to macadamize part of the streets near Carfax in 1825, (fn. 49) but the majority of city streets were macadamized between 1868 and 1873, leaving only 4½ miles of the total 30½ miles pitched with granite and pebbles. (fn. 50) In 1863 the Paving Commissioners stipulated that new streets taken over by them must be metalled, with curbs and foot-paths. (fn. 51) As an experiment to deaden the noise of cart-wheels, parts of High Street, Queen Street, Catte Street, and Longwall were paved with wooden blocks in 1881. (fn. 52)
In 1771 the Paving Commissioners appointed a sub-committee to supervise street-cleaning on a parochial basis, since it had proved impossible to find a professional scavenger for the whole town. (fn. 53) A scavenger for St. Giles's was appointed in 1772; (fn. 54) in 1773 two others contracted for the road from Carfax to Folly Bridge, and for High Street, and a rubbish dump was permitted outside the back gate of the Botanical Gardens. (fn. 55) The remaining streets, at the suggestion of the Board of Guardians, were swept by paupers. (fn. 56) In 1777 a scavenger for the whole town was found, (fn. 57) but by 1780 complaints were being made about his negligence, and the commissioners had renewed their contract for the sweeping of the streets by paupers. (fn. 58)
In 1804 scavengers were ordered to use a bell to tell householders to bring out their rubbish, which was never to be left in the streets; any cattle or swine found in the streets were to be impounded. (fn. 59) In 1853 the city was divided into two areas for purposes of cleaning; each street was to be swept three times a week and each crossing daily. (fn. 60) In 1866 householders were instructed to provide their own receptacles for garbage. (fn. 61) In 1878 a labour master was appointed to report weekly to the surveyor on the repairs needed to the streets, and to take charge of street-cleaning, rubbish collecting, gutter scraping, and the carting away of mud and snow. (fn. 62) In 1882 he employed four gutter cleaners and twelve refuse collectors. (fn. 63)
In 1614 the council ordered every freeman to hang a lantern outside his door every night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. between the feasts of All Saints and Candlemas (1 Nov.–2 Feb.). (fn. 64) In 1615 the bellman was instructed to cry 'lanthorn and candle' along the streets, and to report defaulters. (fn. 65) University statutes of 1636 included similar orders for the lighting of colleges and the houses of privileged persons. (fn. 66) In 1665 50 persons were fined for failing to hang lanterns outside their houses. (fn. 67) In 1688 a nightly check on defaulters was ordered, (fn. 68) and soon afterwards some responsibility for lighting the streets passed to the parishes, who supplied lamps and paid for their upkeep for much of the 18th century. (fn. 69) In 1764 the poor street-lighting was blamed by a university pamphleteer on the townsmen's false belief that lamps served only to light drunken gownsmen home, but it was argued, in reply, that High Street was extremely well-lit except outside colleges. (fn. 70)
The Paving Commissioners appointed a subcommittee which took over responsibility for street lamps in the city and St. Clement's, receiving and spending the lighting rate from 1773. (fn. 71) Only the newly paved streets were lit at first, lamps being set 25 yards apart in the main streets. They were lit for eight hours each night from October to March. (fn. 72) Gas lighting was introduced in 1819, the lamps being lit from sunset to sunrise, except during the three summer months. (fn. 73) In 1833 there were 225 gas lamps. (fn. 74) Electric streetlighting gradually replaced gas; there were 5 electric lamps in 1892, and only 100, out of a total of 2,000 street-lights, in 1931. After the city's take-over of the electricity supply that year the change to electricity was speeded up, and by 1963 there were 3,260 electric lamps and only 1,820 gas lamps. (fn. 75) A few gas lamps remained in use in the early 1970s.
DRAINAGE AND SEWAGE DISPOSAL.
Until the late 18th century sewage was chiefly collected in and carted from domestic cesspits, and there were open gutters, usually in the middle of the streets, for drainage; there were frequent complaints that the drains and watercourses in the city were nothing less than open sewers. Merton Street was drained by an underground gutter passing under the city wall near the boundary between Merton and Corpus Christi Colleges; it was built by the early 14th century, when a house near it was called Gutter Hall. (fn. 76) In 1418 the town paid for the cleaning of another underground gutter and the mending of a cess pit, both at the West Gate. (fn. 77) Grates which churchwardens were maintaining by the mid 16th century seem to have been part of a system of drains in at least the main streets. (fn. 78)
In the 16th and 17th centuries the city council's chief contribution to the problem of drainage was the 'cleansing' of the rivers and ditches within its liberty, (fn. 79) but its failure to carry out the task effectively led to frequent amercements by the commission of sewers. Much of the work was probably undertaken to improve navigation rather than to dispose of accumulated sewage, but in 1582 the council forbade anyone to throw dung, dust, rubbish, or carrion into any of the city's waters. (fn. 80) In that year it was agreed that the mayor should find six men, and each of the Thirteen three men, each chamberlain two men, and each common councillor one man to work for a day cleaning and scouring the city waters. (fn. 81) A similar order was made in 1634, (fn. 82) and taxes were levied on freemen for cleaning the river in 1674 and 1695. (fn. 83)
After 1771 the Paving Commissioners, although hampered by lack of authority and money, considerably improved the city's sewerage and drainage. In 1778 a large covered drain, 9 ft. below street level, was built from Carfax to Magdalen Bridge, and other drains or sewers were made in St. Giles's in 1786, in Magpie Lane in 1795, at Magdalen Bridge in 1795, and from Worcester College to the Thames in 1796. (fn. 84) Other drains were repaired and covered over. (fn. 85) A new drain was made along High Street in 1806, and the following year arrangements were made to clean it twice a week with water pumped from the city waterworks. (fn. 86)
The outbreaks of cholera in 1832, 1849, and 1854 drew attention to the unsatisfactory state of the city's drainage. An inquiry in 1851 revealed that although most streets were by then served by underground sewers, the sewers discharged straight into the rivers, several of them above the city waterworks. The main sewage outfalls were into the river Thames at Hythe Bridge, Castle Mill, and at the end of Bull Street, St. Ebbe's, into the Trill Mill stream, and into the river Cherwell at Magdalen Bridge. (fn. 87) The paving commissioners in 1854 recommended that Trill Mill stream be made into a covered sewer connected to new sewers draining St. Clement's and the Abingdon Road, and that the use of private cess pools should cease. (fn. 88) Trill Mill stream was partially covered in 1863, (fn. 89) but otherwise the situation in 1870, despite much discussion and several further reports, (fn. 90) was similar to that in 1851. Except for the Park Town sewer, which ran into the river Cherwell, all sewage from Oxford west of the Cherwell was discharged straight into the Thames; the sewers of St. Clement's and Cowley discharged into the Cherwell between King's Mill and Magdalen Bridge, so that the river presented 'a disgusting aspect' when the water was low. At that date Summertown had no sewers. (fn. 91)
Although the Thames Conservancy ordered that all discharge of sewage into the river must cease in 1868, (fn. 92) work began on a new sewerage system for the city only in 1873, and it was not completed until 1880. About 33 miles of sewers and surface drains were laid, serving most of the built-up area, including north Oxford south of St. Margaret's Road, Oseney, New Hinksey, and part of Cowley; about three-quarters of the houses in the city were connected to the system. (fn. 93) A pumping station was built at Littlemore to raise the sewage to a 370-acre sewage farm between Littlemore and Sandford. (fn. 94) The drainage system was extended to New Botley in 1884, to Summertown in 1890, and to Cowley St. John in 1897; the sewage farm was enlarged by 627 acres in 1895. (fn. 95) Headington, Cowley, Iffley, New Marston, and part of Wolvercote were connected to the system c. 1920, and by 1939 there were c. 120 miles of sewers. (fn. 96)
In 1952 the city's sewerage system was described as 'probably the most backward in the country', and there was considerable nuisance and pollution. (fn. 97) In 1957 the old pumping station and sewage farm were replaced by a new pumping station and purification plant on part of the old site, and another pumping station was built at Minchery Farm. (fn. 98)
Until the later 19th century most Oxford inhabitants obtained their water from shallow wells dug into the gravel terrace on which the town had been built, (fn. 99) and there were a number of public pumps maintained by the parishes. Larger quantities of water, for industrial purposes or brewing, were taken straight from the river; as early as 1293 bakers and brewers were forbidden to use 'corrupt' water from Trill mill stream, and in 1305 the university complained that brewers were endangering men's health by taking water from near drains and sewers. (fn. 100) About 1220 Oseney Abbey acquired a spring at North Hinksey and conveyed water from it to the abbey by aquaduct. (fn. 101) Before 1285 the Blackfriars were also bringing water from a spring in Hinksey, (fn. 102) and the Greyfriars were later said to have owned a conduit of lead pipes many miles long, extending under the rivers Thames and Cherwell. (fn. 103) After 1246 St. John's hospital took its water by aquaduct from the nearby spring called Crowell at the north-east corner of the town wall. (fn. 104) In 1267 Merton College was given permission to bring water from the Cherwell beyond St. Cross church, through St. John's hospital, and into the college, by ditches and gutters. (fn. 105)
Otho Nicholson, a wealthy London lawyer, (fn. 106) financed the building of Carfax conduit between 1615 and 1617. Water from a number of springs was collected in a 2,000 gallon tank in a well-house on the hill above North Hinksey; thence it ran through lead pipes, encased in elm where they crossed the various branches of the river Thames, and into the city near Littlegate. Carfax conduit comprised two cisterns, the upper for the university, the lower for the town. From the upper cistern pipes took water to seven colleges, and to a cistern by All Saints church which supplied three more colleges and a few private houses; Pembroke College was served by a branch pipe leaving the main before it reached Carfax. (fn. 107) In 1626 Nicholson's executors, who seem to have been responsible for the conduit's maintenance, delegated power to the town clerk to authorise 16 householders to draw water for a fine of £3 and a yearly rent of 10s. and to prosecute those who tapped the pipe without leave; (fn. 108) but by 1635 the university had assumed control of the works. (fn. 109)
Carfax conduit was presented as an obstruction as early as 1637, (fn. 110) and in 1787, as part of the Paving Commissioners' street widening scheme, it was replaced by a new water-house on the north side of Carfax. The system was purchased by the corporation in 1869, by which time the antiquated pipes supplied very little water. (fn. 111) The conduit was given to George Simon, Lord Harcourt in 1789 and placed in the park at Nuneham Courtenay, where it remained in 1977. Its elaborate upper structure, decorated with the statues of virtues, kings, and heroes, and the balustrade incorporating the donor's initials, and his rebus, the sun in glory, date from 1617. The square freestone base replaced the original base of polished stone in 1686. (fn. 112)
In 1694 the city council leased to Fleetwood Dormer of Lincoln's Inn and others the third (southern) arch of Folly Bridge with adjoining waste land and water to build a force pump and water wheel; the council also leased a piece of land at Market Hill in Cornmarket for a raised cistern, from which to supply water to the principal city streets in case of fire. (fn. 113) In 1695 wooden pipes were laid in Cornmarket, Queen Street, St. Aldate's, and Catte Street. (fn. 114) In 1699 the city leased Dormer and his associates the first two arches of Folly Bridge with liberty to build floodgates. (fn. 115) A lease of 1705 repeated the provision for dams or floodgates to control the water at the bridge. By 1715 the nearby Friar Bacon's Study was occupied by the master of the waterworks. (fn. 116)
The new 'city water' venture was never a financial success, chiefly because it failed to attract sufficient private consumers. After the original leases were surrendered in 1730 (fn. 117) the city, after laying some new pipes at its own cost, was able to find lessees until 1749, when the lease was given up as unprofitable. (fn. 118) The works were again leased, at a reduced rent, in 1757, but from 1808 it was accepted that the corporation should run the works itself. In 1776 the council ordered all tenants of city property who could conveniently do so to take the city water, and in 1809 appealed to colleges and 'opulent inhabitants' to join in the scheme. (fn. 119)
Dams were built in 1749 at Stump Pool and Trill Mill Bow to improve the flow of water to the works. (fn. 120) A new engine was installed and a second water-wheel built in 1767, (fn. 121) and the system of pipes considerably extended in 1812, and possibly in 1809. (fn. 122) When Folly Bridge was rebuilt in 1825 the waterworks were placed on the newly-cut river channel, at the end of Isis Street. (fn. 123) The old wooden pipes were replaced by iron ones in 1835, and a new water wheel and pumps were built in 1849. (fn. 124) The water remained unfiltered, however, and there were five sewage outfalls and a gasworks upstream; in 1851 most inhabitants of Oxford still preferred to rely on wells, and only 340 of the 4,585 houses in the city took the city water supply. (fn. 125)
In 1854 the corporation bought a lake at South Hinksey formed by the extraction of gravel for the railway embankment, and fed by seepage through the gravel and from the Hinksey stream of the river Thames by Hog Acre ditch. A pumping station was built beside the lake. (fn. 126) By 1886 nearly half the houses in the city, excluding St. Clement's which from 1849 was supplied from springs at Headington, were connected to the city water supply; the others relied on wells which were often contaminated by neighbouring cesspools. (fn. 127) By 1884 all the houses in the city were using mains water. The charge for the city water was based on rateable values, and the poorer houses were charged very little. (fn. 128)
Under the provisions of an Act of 1875 for the improvement of the city's water supply (fn. 129) a high-level storage reservoir was built at Headington in 1878, fed from the lake at Hinksey. (fn. 130) By an Act of 1885 the corporation was empowered to pipe water from the Thames at King's Weir above Wolvercote to the works at Hinksey, where the first of a series of improved filters was built. (fn. 131) In 1903 an additional reservoir was opened at Shotover to supply Headington. (fn. 132) Under the provisions of the Oxford Corporation (Water) Act of 1928 (fn. 133) additional storage reservoirs were built at Headington, Shotover, and Beacon Hill between 1929 and 1932, and a new waterworks at Swinford between 1932 and 1934; the old works at Hinksey were closed in 1934. Two more reservoirs were built in 1935 and 1938 at Boar's Hill, and in 1962 the first stage of a raw-water storage reservoir, holding 960 million gallons, was constructed at Farmoor; (fn. 134) the second stage, holding 1,550 million gallons, was opened in 1976.
The Act of 1875 defined the corporation water as covering the parliamentary borough and the parishes of St. Aldates, South Hinksey, Cowley, Headington, Iffley, Wolvercote, and Littlemore; Marston and North Hinksey were added in 1885. Further extensions in 1932 and 1935 brought the total area served by the works to 113 square miles around the city. In 1967 a number of water undertakings were amalgamated to form the Oxford and District Water Board, covering the whole of Oxfordshire and North Berkshire, (fn. 135) which in 1974 became the Vales division of the Thames Water Authority.
The introduction of gas lighting was proposed in 1815, and the Oxford Gas Light and Coke Company was incorporated in 1818. (fn. 136) Gas-works were built on a two-acre site in St. Ebbe's, on the north bank of the river Thames. (fn. 137) Gas street-lighting was introduced in 1819, although the old oil lampstandards were retained in case the new supply failed. (fn. 138) A gas lamp was in use in the town hall in 1823. (fn. 139) There were many complaints of over charging, and unsuccessful attempts to form rival companies were made in 1836, 1844, and 1851. The threat of competition may have contributed to the company's steady reduction of the price of gas so that by 1851 it cost only a quarter of the original price. (fn. 140)
In 1869 the company was re-formed, its capital increased, and its area expanded to include Headington, St. Giles's, Cowley, Iffley, North Hinksey, South Hinksey, and Botley; although permitted to acquire a further 15 a. it was forbidden to manufacture gas except on land adjacent to the original site. (fn. 141) In 1882, when it was supplying 3,690 consumers, (fn. 142) the company was authorized to build a railway connecting its works with the G.W.R. lines by a new bridge across the river, and to build works and gasholders on the south bank of the river site, although opposition from both city and university prevented the manufacture of gas there. At the same time the price of gas was lowered substantially, but it continued to be more expensive outside the Local Board area. (fn. 143)
In 1892 the area supplied by the company was extended to cover the whole of the enlarged city of Oxford and the parish of Wolvercote. The same Act repealed an earlier provision that excess profits made by the company should be applied to the relief of the rates in return for the grant of £1,000 stock to the corporation. (fn. 144) In 1919 the capacity of the works was increased by the building of a new plant, which enabled 3 million cubic feet of gas to be produced in a day, and that year the works supplied 12,695 consumers. A gas-holder with a capacity of 2 million cubic feet was built in 1923. (fn. 145) In 1924 the parishes around Oxford were added to the company's area, raising the number of consumers to 14,705. In 1925 new works were built, with a capacity to produce 8 million cubic feet of gas in a day, and for the first time gas-making was extended to the south bank of the river. (fn. 146) The company took over the Abingdon gas works in 1930 and became the Oxford and District Gas Company; in 1932 Didcot and its surrounding parishes were added to the company's area. In 1933 the directors of the Oxford company formed the South Midland Gas Corporation, through which it subsequently gained control of the Banbury, Witney, and Eynsham gas undertakings. (fn. 147)
The company's application in 1948 for an order permitting the enlargement of the works aroused fierce opposition in both city and university, strengthening the desire of both bodies to remove the 'blight' of the gas-works altogether. (fn. 148) The nationalization of the company in 1948 delayed the decision, (fn. 149) but in 1952 the Southern Gas Board agreed to vacate the St. Ebbe's site in return for £250,000 compensation from the corporation, and the works were closed in 1960. Two gasholders remained in use until 1968 when they too were demolished. Gas was supplied from Reading and Southampton until natural gas was introduced in 1970 and 1971. (fn. 150)
Showrooms and general offices were opened at no. 96 St. Aldate's in 1921, and moved to larger premises at no 119 St. Aldate's in 1938. (fn. 151)
A few private generators were in use in Oxford in the 1880s, including one at the Oxford University Union building in 1883. (fn. 152) In 1882 seven companies applied for licences to supply the city with electricity under the electric lighting Act of that year, (fn. 153) but it was not until 1890 that a licence was granted to the Electric Installation and Maintenance Company Ltd. of London, who built a generating station at Oseney and a distribution system for the newly-formed Oxford Electric Company Limited. (fn. 154) The works, which opened in 1892, comprised the generating station itself, the central switch station at no. 45 Broad Street, and two small substations at King Street and Carfax; electricity was supplied to five street lamps and eleven business premises. (fn. 155) The opening of the plant was hailed by Hilaire Belloc in verses which described in some detail the wonders of electric light and its production. (fn. 156)
In its first year of operation the Oxford Electric Company installed c. 7,000 35-watt lamps and by 1895 almost all the colleges and some university buildings were taking the supply. (fn. 157) The generating plant was expanded five times before 1905, and additional substations were built in North Parade and Union Street; a new substation in Ship Street replaced the central switch station in Broad Street. In 1907 a request to supply the Warneford Hospital led the company to install new A.C. plant to augment the original D.C. equipment, and further new plant was added in 1912, 1923, 1926, 1927, and 1928. In 1924 the company obtained an order authorizing it to supply parts of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, including the town of Abingdon. (fn. 158)
Under the terms of the Order of 1890 the city corporation in 1931 bought from the company the right to supply electricity to an area corresponding to that of the city in 1889 and excluding the area brought into the city in 1928. Thus in 1932 several mains were re-layed in order to separate the systems supplying the central area and outlying parts; the latter continued to be supplied by the Oxford Electric Company. (fn. 159) Control of the generating station passed to the corporation which sold electricity in bulk to the Oxford Electric Company and to the Wessex Electric Company which supplied some of the neighbouring rural parishes. Between 1932 and 1934 the corporation modernized the plant, ending the D.C. system and standardizing the voltage. In 1933 the corporation opened showrooms at Marygold House, Carfax; in 1937 they were moved to no. 37 George Street. (fn. 160) The number of consumers of the corporation's electricity rose from c. 6,000 in 1932 to c. 16,000 at nationalization in 1948. (fn. 161)
The Southern Electricity Board took over the supply of electricity to the whole city in 1948. In 1962 the Oseney generating station was converted to oil firing (fn. 162) but was closed in 1969 after the opening of a new station at Didcot. (fn. 163)
Before 1835 the city was policed during the day by a number of constables appointed by the corporation, and during the night by the university police under the direction of the proctors. The efficiency of the city constables is perhaps reflected upon in the employment by the Anti-Mendicity Society in the 1830s of its own constables to keep the streets clear of vagrants; the university police were highly regarded outside Oxford. (fn. 164)
A municipal police force was formed in 1836 under the Municipal Corporations Act, but the university retained the right, confirmed in 1825, to control the night watch. (fn. 165) The city force initially comprised the city marshal, 4 constables, and 2 supernumeraries, but the number of constables was soon doubled, and a superintendent and 2 inspectors appointed to head the force. (fn. 166) They worked from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. and information was exchanged with the university constables, of whom there were 17, at each changeover. (fn. 167) Discipline was poor, and suspension or dismissal for drunkenness common; (fn. 168) in 1858 the university proctors even claimed that off-duty city policemen were joining in attacks on members of the university. (fn. 169) In 1859 the inefficiency of the dual system was heavily criticized by the Inspector of Constabulary. (fn. 170)
The university found the night watch an increasing financial burden, and in 1864 started negotiations for the amalgamation of the two forces. (fn. 171) In 1866 it notified the council that unless the matter was put to arbitration the university would discontinue the night watch except for its own purposes. (fn. 172) Amalgamation was brought about in 1869 under the Oxford Police Act (1868), and a new force was established with a superintendent, 2 inspectors, and 32 constables, administered by a committee of representatives from the city and university. (fn. 173) The proctors, however, seem to have continued to arrest prostitutes and vagrants at night, as they had under the old system, the new police force apparently being unaware that such cases came within their cognizance. (fn. 174) The Oxford Police Act (1881) increased the city's representation on the watch committee, and its financial contribution, from threefifths to two-thirds. (fn. 175) In 1889 the corporation was given full control of the police. Following the extension of the city boundaries in that year the force was increased from 44 to 62. (fn. 176) In 1968 the Oxford City Police Force was amalgamated with those of Reading, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire to form the Thames Valley Force. (fn. 177)
A police station at the corner of Queen Street and St. Aldates was in use by 1843. (fn. 178) It was moved in 1870 to premises behind no. 130 High Street, (fn. 179) and in 1897 to the new town hall. (fn. 180) In 1930 a new police headquarters was built in St. Aldates Street. (fn. 181) A sub-station was opened in Oxford Road, Cowley, in 1966. (fn. 182)
In 1573 the city council ordered each parish to keep leather buckets in case of fire, and in 1582 forbade the use of thatch or the building of chimneys in other materials than brick or stone. (fn. 183) Such regulations presumably were not obeyed, for thatch was still being forbidden in the later 17th century. (fn. 184)
The corporation's own stock of leather buckets, acquired from new freemen as a condition of entry, and also some hooks and ladders, were kept at the guild hall. (fn. 185) The corporation purchased a fire-engine in London in 1654, and owned two more by 1661; three men were paid £1 a year to maintain the engines and keep themselves ready to operate them at the direction of council officers. (fn. 186) The first municipal waterworks, established in 1694, were built partly with the intention of providing the town with a ready supply of water in case of fire, and in 1702 the parishes were asked to provide fire-plugs, by agreement with the water company. (fn. 187)
Most parishes acquired fire-engines: in 1693 St. Michael's vestry agreed to buy 'a new invented engine' (fn. 188) and in 1794 St. Mary the Virgin vestry replaced an engine purchased in 1733 with another bought with the help of large contributions from the Sun and Phoenix fire offices. (fn. 189) If an engine was used outside the parish it was customary to charge a fee, St. Ebbe's paying 6s. in 1753 for the help of St. Michael's parish engine at a fire at the rectory-house. (fn. 190)
In the early 19th century the university arranged a regular, though part-time, fire service, and their uniformed firemen remained active until the 1880s. (fn. 191) In 1842, after the post office and two other buildings in High Street were destroyed by fire, there was a call for an improved waterworks and a smaller, betterorganized fire service. (fn. 192) In 1845, however, the fire service was still fragmented: there were 15 engines in all, 9 owned by the university or colleges, and one each by the city, the county, the Sun Insurance Company, St. Mary's and St. Michael's parishes, and the Oxford University Press. (fn. 193) By 1854 engines were stationed only at St. Mary's, All Saints, and Friar's Wharf, near Folly Bridge. (fn. 194) From 1854 until 1870 there were no publicly owned fire engines in the city, which was dependent on the university engines or those of private individuals, (fn. 195) but after the death of two people by fire in 1870 it was decided at a public meeting to set up a volunteer brigade, and buy an engine by public subscription. (fn. 196) The Oxford Local Board had also decided to buy an engine of its own, but in 1871 accepted the offer of two of the university's engines; (fn. 197) they were operated by the police in rivalry with the volunteer fire brigade until 1887, when it was agreed that the volunteers should control all fire-fighting appliances. (fn. 198)
The Volunteer Brigade built a headquarters and engine house in New Inn Hall Street in 1873–4. (fn. 199) A new station in George Street was opened in 1896, in which year the brigade numbered 60 men and answered 30 calls. Sub-stations were opened in Summertown (1881), and Grandpont (1895). (fn. 200) The brigade became a professional force in 1940, when it passed into the control of the corporation under the Fire Brigades Act of 1938. (fn. 201) In 1941 it became part of the National Fire Service, but was returned to corporation control in 1948. (fn. 202) A new sub-station was opened at Slade Park in 1957. (fn. 203) In 1971 the brigade headquarters moved from George Street to Rewley Road, in which year there was a staff of 86 full-time officers who answered 1,264 calls. (fn. 204)
In 1635, when the government established a system of horse-posts between London and the major towns, allowing public access to the posts upon payment of a fixed charge, Oxford was included on the route from London to Bristol. (fn. 205) The monopoly granted to the post office in 1657 did not prevent carriers, by whom Oxford was particularly well served, from delivering letters and parcels, provided that they did not hire themselves out specifically as letter-carriers. In the later 17th century the Oxford postmaster complained particularly about competition from coachoperators. (fn. 206) The university was permitted to continue using its own letter-carriers, but it also used the official post, while complaining of its inefficiency. (fn. 207) Letters from London were supposed to reach Oxford within 24 hours, but sometimes took 10 days or were not delivered at all. (fn. 208)
The first recorded Oxford postmaster was in office by 1672. (fn. 209) Many of the postmasters were innkeepers, as in 1673 when the landlord of the Cross Keys (nos. 36–7 Queen Street) was appointed. (fn. 210) Usually postmasters operated from their own homes, but the movement of the post office with each new appointment caused inconvenience: in 1760, for example, the office moved three times. (fn. 211) There was strong pressure for the office to be near the city centre, and even Queen Street and Blue Boar Street were regarded as unsatisfactory, particularly by the university. (fn. 212)
A mail-coach service to Oxford was established by 1785, (fn. 213) and by the close of the 18th century mail was despatched daily from Oxford to Bristol, Wales, and the north-west of England as well as to local towns. (fn. 214) In 1837 the university lost the right to run its own independent postal service (fn. 215) and that, combined with the introduction nationally of the 1d. pre-paid postage stamp, led to a rapid expansion of postal services in Oxford. (fn. 216) In 1842 the post office, by then at no. 123 High Street, was destroyed by fire, (fn. 217) and the corporation provided an office at the southern end of the town hall. (fn. 218) In 1865 the post office was enlarged by an extension beneath Nixon's School in the town hall yard, (fn. 219) and in 1880–1 a three-storey central post office, designed by E. J. Rivers, was built on the site of nos. 102–4 St. Aldates Street. (fn. 220) Pillar boxes were set up in 1858, apparently near St. Mary Magdalen church and at the junction of Longwall Street and High Street; (fn. 221) previously letters were handed in at designated 'receiving houses'. (fn. 222) By the end of the century the post office employed a staff of almost 200, and over 200,000 items were delivered in Oxford each week; there were 18 sub-offices. (fn. 223) A government enquiry of 1885 revealed that some colleges were still using their own stamps and arranging the collection and distribution of letters within Oxford; they were ordered to stop the practice, (fn. 224) but a reduced form of university messenger service operated in the 1970s.
The U.K. Telegraph Company, with an office in St. Aldate's Street, and the Electric and International Telegraph Company were in operation in Oxford by 1861, (fn. 225) but in 1870 the Post Office took control of the telegraph service, and the telegraph office was transferred to the post office in the town hall. (fn. 226)
The Oxford fire-brigade installed a telephone, the first recorded in Oxford, in 1877. (fn. 227) An exchange was opened by the South of England Telephone Company at no. 54 Cornmarket Street in 1886, and by 1889 there were 55 subscribers. In 1890 the company was taken over by the National Telephone Company, which transferred the exchange in 1895 to nos. 5–6 Magdalen Street. The Post Office took over the exchange in 1912. In 1926 an automatic exchange was opened in Pembroke Street, followed by exchanges at Cowley and Headington (1928), Summertown (1931), and Boars Hill (1937). The Pembroke Street exchange was transferred to Speedwell Street in 1959. (fn. 228)
In the early 19th century neither the city council nor the Paving Commissioners attempted to control horse-cabs by licensing or bylaws. (fn. 229) In 1861 the council discussed the need to regulate cabs and fares, but conceded that, at least at the G.W.R. station, 'an excellent code of rules' had been adopted. (fn. 230) In 1865 the Local Board, under the terms of the Local Government Act of 1858, issued by-laws for, and thereafter licensed, flies, cabs, and other one-horse carriages, omnibuses, and 'wheelchairs drawn by men'. (fn. 231) In 1889 the board's powers passed to the corporation, which in 1891 prescribed a maximum speed of 5 m.p.h. for hackney cabs, and maximum numbers of passengers for each class of vehicle from two-horse carriages to those drawn by a goat. Cabs were to stand at 14 places authorized by the Sanitary Committee, (fn. 232) and were licensed and inspected by the watch committee. (fn. 233) The Oxford Motor-cab Company was founded in 1908, (fn. 234) but as late as 1929 city by-laws provided for horse-drawn as well as motor vehicles. The number of stands was limited to 7 in 1929 and 6 in 1969. (fn. 235)
The City of Oxford Tramways Company was incorporated in 1879 under the provisions of the Oxford Tramways Act of 1870. (fn. 236) Tram routes from the railway stations to the junction of Cowley Road and Magdalen Road, and from Carfax to the junction of Banbury Road and St. Margaret's Road, were opened in 1881 and 1882. In 1884 a route from Carfax to Kingston Road was opened, and in 1887 another from Carfax to Lake Street, New Hinksey. (fn. 237) Passengers were allowed to board the horse-trams at any point, but conductors were instructed to refuse access to drunks, or to sweeps and millers because of their dust, and were to prevent smoking or swearing. (fn. 238) The company owned 16 single-decker trams in 1895, which by 1910 had been replaced by 19 double-decker cars. The service was supplemented by horse-buses to Iffley Turn, Wolvercote Turn, Headington, and the foot of Cumnor Hill. (fn. 239)
The order of Incorporation of 1879 gave Oxford corporation the option of purchasing the company after 26 years, but in 1897, after a political struggle, (fn. 240) a new agreement was made whereby the company retained its powers until at least 1907, extending the system, paying rent of £200 a year, and a percentage of any profits above £3,000 a year. (fn. 241) In accordance with the agreement the company in 1898 extended the Banbury Road route to Summertown, (fn. 242) but in 1906, after a long and acrimonious public debate, the corporation bought out the company and, intending to extend and electrify the system, leased the tramways in 1907 to the newly-formed City of Oxford Electric Tramways Company, a subsidiary of the National Electric Construction Company. (fn. 243) The time-limit for the completion of the electrification was extended from 3 years to 5 years in 1909, (fn. 244) but because of continuing disagreement over the system to be used nothing had been done when the time-limit expired in 1912, and Oxford was still served by horse-trams. (fn. 245)
In 1913 the tram workers went on strike for a 'living wage'; the strike was unsuccessful, but the considerable public sympathy which the workers excited may have prepared the way for a breach of the company's monopoly later that year. (fn. 246) William Morris, later Lord Nuffield, and Frank Gray, a local solicitor and politician, on their own responsibility and without a licence from the corporation, began to operate two doubledecker motor-buses; penny tokens, valid for any of 11 sections of the route, were sold in shops, since fares could not legally be collected on the buses. The corporation threatened prosecution, but public opinion, skilfully manipulated by Gray, forced them to withdraw. The Tramway Company responded by starting its own bus service, which was generally ignored by the public, and early in 1914 the corporation granted 12 licences to Morris and Gray and 12 to the Tramways Company. Morris and Gray, having made their point, at once surrendered their licences to the Tramways Company which, under an Act of the same year, acquired the right to run buses in Oxford for 37 years for a rent of £800 a year. (fn. 247) A full city motor-bus service was in operation in 1914 with 24 buses. The company, which in 1920 changed its name to the City of Oxford Motor Services Ltd., started country services in 1916 with a route to Abingdon, and by 1933 had bought out rival firms based on Watlington, Aylesbury, and Bicester. (fn. 248) The company was nationalized in 1967 when the British Electric Traction Company, of which the National Electric Construction Company was a subsidiary, sold out to the state-controlled Transport Holding Company. (fn. 249)
A depot in Leopold Street, which had been used for the horse-trams, was inadequate by 1924, and a new garage on the Cowley Road was acquired, replacing the old depot completely by 1927. The company's offices moved in 1922 from Queen Street to no. 138 High Street, which included a waiting-room and parcels office, and outside which most bus services terminated. Traffic congestion, however, forced the removal of the bus station to Castle Street in 1930 and to the former cattle-market in Gloucester Green in 1935. (fn. 250)
HOSPITAL SERVICES AND HOMES.
The first plans to build an infirmary in Oxford were made in 1758, and the Radcliffe Infirmary opened in 1770; it was followed in 1826 and 1847 by hospitals for the insane. Special arrangements for fever patients were made at the Cowley Road Workhouse hospital in 1870, and the first city fever hospital was built in 1871. (fn. 251) All were for the poor, but the majority of the sick continued for most of the 19th century to be treated by charitable dispensaries, the earliest of which was that attached to the Cutler Boulter almshouses in St. Clement's. It provided free treatment for the Oxford poor from a dispensary adjoining the almshouses until 1884 when, under a scheme of the charity commissioners, the old site was sold and dispensaries established in Gloucester Street and Marston Street. (fn. 252) The Oxford Medical Dispensary and Lying-in Charity, supported by public subscription, started in 1807, and by mid century was treating over 1,000 patients a year from its premises first in Broad Street and after 1858 in Beaumont Street. (fn. 253) The Oxford Self-supporting Medical Institution started in 1836, and a homeopathic dispensary in Hythe Bridge Street in 1873. The Oxford Provident Dispensary in Friars' Entry and Cherwell Street was recorded in 1876. (fn. 254) The Sarah Acland Memorial Institute of District Nurses was founded in Wellington Square in 1879 to supply nurses for the poor. (fn. 255)
From the late 19th century hospital services expanded rapidly with the foundation of special maternity, isolation, tuberculosis, and orthopaedic hospitals and departments, as well as convalescent and nursing homes. At the same time, contributory schemes made hospitals available to an increasing number of people. In 1936 three Oxford hospitals, the Radcliffe Infirmary, the Eye Hospital, and the Wingfield Morris Orthopaedic Hospital, with 13 nearby hospitals which had been involved in the same contributory scheme, joined to form the Oxford and District Joint Hospitals Board, a trust set up by Lord Nuffield to co-ordinate medical services in the district. (fn. 256)
The hospitals which joined the National Health scheme in 1948 were organized in four groups. The United Oxford Hospitals comprised the Radcliffe Infirmary, the Oxford Eye Hospital, the Churchill Hospital, the Cowley Road Hospital, the Osler Pavilion, the Sunnyside Recovery Home, the Slade Hospital, and the Garsington Smallpox Hospital. The Warneford and Park hospitals formed a second group, the Wingfield Morris Orthopaedic Hospital a third, and Littlemore and Longworth (Berks.) hospitals a fourth. (fn. 257) In 1968 the Littlemore and Warneford groups were combined to form the Isis group. (fn. 258)
Dr. John Radcliffe, by will dated 1714, left estates in trust to his executors for charitable purposes. (fn. 259) In 1758 the trustees decided to build an infirmary on a 5-acre site just north of the city, given by Thomas Rowney, M.P. After numerous delays, including the architect's death in 1766, the infirmary opened in 1770. (fn. 260) The original building, designed by Stiff Leadbetter, included four large wards and one smaller ward on two main floors, a few single rooms in the attics, and an operating room with a sky-light; three more wards were added in 1771. Each ward was equipped with a water-closet and a bath, the latter intended for the treatment of illness rather than for general cleanliness. (fn. 261) At its opening the infirmary was handed over by the Radcliffe trustees to the university as a public institution of the university; it was to be governed by university officers and its physicians and surgeons were fellows of colleges and not paid by the infirmary. (fn. 262) The medical school was opened in 1780. (fn. 263)
The infirmary remained a university institution until incorporated by royal charter in 1884, although from 1848 a committee of management was appointed which included representatives of the city and county as well as of the university. (fn. 264) The infirmary was supported largely by public subcriptions, and at first patients, except for urgent cases, were admitted by subscribers' tickets; the hospital was not intended for patients who could pay for their keep and medicine. (fn. 265) By 1813 subscribers included c. 140 villages, some as far away as Swindon (Wilts.). (fn. 266) By 1891 the ticketsystem was breaking down, more than half the hospital's patients being admitted without them, but it was not until 1920 that a weekly contribution scheme was introduced. (fn. 267)
The infirmary did not at first admit fever patients, maternity cases, or children. (fn. 268) Fever wards were added in 1824 and rebuilt in 1839, but in 1854 were inadequate for more than one infectious disease at a time. New fever wards, designed by G. G. Scott and C. Buckeridge, were opened in 1870, but were superseded in 1876 by a new block behind the main infirmary buildings. Lack of money, however, prevented the block from being used except for private patients. The former fever wards were converted in 1877 into women's wards. A children's ward was opened in 1865 and replaced in 1876 by two new wards, designed by A. W. Blomfield, the gift of Mrs. Thomas Combe. (fn. 269) An out-patient department was built in 1863, and in 1865, at the expense of Thomas Combe, Superintendent of Clarendon Press, St. Luke's chapel was built to the designs of Blomfield; it is an aisle-less building in the Early English style, containing notable stained glass attributed to Henry Holiday. (fn. 270) More wards, designed by W. Cave, were built in 1891–2, and a men's block designed by Giles, Gough and Trollope in 1893–4. A new out-patient department, laboratories, and an accident ward were opened in 1913. (fn. 271) Between 1932 and 1936 more wards, a paying patients' block, and nurses' home were built, and between 1936 and 1971 the infirmary was greatly expanded as a result of the very large benefactions of Lord Nuffield to the medical school. (fn. 272) The 19thcentury additions, which included a fountain designed by John Bell and erected in 1857 in front of the main building, converted the open ground in front of the hospital into a courtyard with the chapel on its north, the original infirmary building on the west, and W. Cave's classical block of 1891–2 on the south.
There was no maternity department at the infirmary until 1921, when one was opened in a house at the corner of Museum Road and Parks Road; it was replaced in 1931 by the Nuffield Maternity Home on the west side of the infirmary site. (fn. 273) In 1972 the department moved to the newly built John Radcliffe Maternity Hospital on the Headington manor site, which had been bought by the trustees of the infirmary in 1917 as a site for future expansion. (fn. 274)
Eye diseases were treated at the infirmary, and some of the surgeons, notably William Cleobury from 1815 to 1853, achieved a high standard of care. In 1886 the Oxford Eye Hospital was founded in Wellington Square by R. W. Doyne. In 1894 it was moved to the Radcliffe fever block, then no longer needed for fever patients. (fn. 275) The hospital did not accept paying patients until after 1899, when it was agreed with the infirmary that it should treat all eye cases in the area. The buildings were enlarged in 1901 and 1902 by the addition of an operating theatre and three wards, and in 1912 by a laboratory. In 1924 the 'Morris corridor' was built connecting two wings of the hospital and providing 'much needed accommodation for open-air treatment'. In 1934 and 1935 nurses' quarters, a dispensary, and dark rooms were added. (fn. 276) The hospital was completely re-organized in 1949, when a large out-patients' department, a new operating theatre, and a children's ward, were provided. (fn. 277)
In 1921 a house and grounds in Hollow Way, Cowley, was given to the Radcliffe Infirmary by Dr. Ivy Williams, and in 1922 it was opened as Sunnyside Convalescent Home for women and children. In 1930 the Cowley property was sold and the home moved to the Headington manor site. In 1954 it was combined with the Osler Pavilion, which had been opened at Headington in 1927 for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, to form the Osler Hospital. The hospital closed in 1969. (fn. 278)
The first fever hospital for the city was built in 1871 in the Woodstock Road, just north of St. Margaret's Road; in 1883 St. John's College refused to renew the lease of that site, and a fever hospital was built at Cold Arbour, at the southern end of Abingdon Road. (fn. 279) The original two-ward hospital was enlarged in 1894 to take fever patients who had earlier been treated at the Radcliffe Infirmary and the Cowley Road Workhouse hospital. (fn. 280) In 1939 a new isolation hospital, the Slade, was opened in Headington, (fn. 281) but the Cold Arbour Hospital continued to be used as an extra hospital during the Second World War. In 1972 the Slade was used for convalescence, geriatrics, and dermatology, as well as for infectious diseases.
In 1939, on the outbreak of the Second World War, an emergency hospital for orthopaedic casualties was built on part of the Warneford Hospital site in Headington, and in 1942 it was named Churchill Hospital in honour of the prime minister. Between 1942 and 1945 it was an American military hospital. After a year under War-Office control as a military hospital, it was handed over in 1946 to the management committee of the Radcliffe Infirmary and became a general hospital with special units for radiotherapy, pediatrics, plastic surgery, and thoracic surgery. (fn. 282)
Among the hospitals taken over by the Ministry of Health in 1948 was the former Cowley Road Workhouse hospital which had become a public assistance institution mainly for chronic medical, surgical, and geriatric cases. (fn. 283) It became a geriatric hospital, and in 1951 a day-hospital for old people, the first in the country, was opened there. In 1958 a special building, Hurdis House, was built for the day-hospital, and a long-stay annexe for convalescent patients was opened in the hospital grounds. (fn. 284)
The Wingfield Convalescent Home, founded in Headington in 1872 largely at the expense of Mrs. Hannah Wingfield, (fn. 285) was made available to the War Office in 1914 and converted first into an auxiliary military hospital and then in 1917 into an orthopaedic hospital. It was transferred to the Ministry of Pensions in 1919, but at the insistence of the Wingfield Committee, provision was made for the treatment of children as well as adults. Between 1930 and 1933 the hospital was rebuilt, largely with money given by Lord Nuffield, and renamed the Wingfield Morris Orthopaedic Hospital. Lord Nuffield's continuing generosity to the hospital was commemorated after his death by changing its name to the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre. (fn. 286)
In 1955 Rivermead, the former isolation hospital at Cold Arbour, was re-opened as a rehabilitation hospital for the chronic sick and elderly; in 1960 it became a general rehabilitation centre, and new workshops and physiotherapy facilities were provided. In 1977 it formed part of the Nuffield group of hospitals. Another rehabilitation centre for the Nuffield group, Mary Marlborough Lodge, Windmill Road, was opened in 1961. (fn. 287)
Two hospitals for the insane were built outside the city in the 19th century. The Warneford Hospital, founded in 1826 as the Radcliffe Asylum and endowed by S. W. Warneford in 1843, was granted a royal charter in 1849. (fn. 288) New male and female wings, added in 1877 and 1890, were praised by the Visiting Commissioners in Lunacy. (fn. 289) Since its take-over by the Ministry of Health in 1948 the Warneford has specialized in acute psychiatric illness and in the treatment of undergraduate breakdowns; it is a nurses' training school and the principal psychiatric teaching hospital for the university. In 1939 Highfield Park House which had been used since 1936 as a convalescent home for the Warneford Hospital, was converted into the Park Hospital for Functional Nervous Disorders; in 1958 it became a children's psychiatric hospital. In 1971 a purpose-built unit for adolescent patients, Highfield, was opened in the grounds of the main hospital. (fn. 290)
The county asylum for pauper lunatics at Littlemore was opened in 1846. (fn. 291) It received annual contributions from the city council, and lunatics from the Oxford Poor Law Union were kept there at the expense of the Oxford Board of Guardians. (fn. 292) The Ashurst Clinic for early recoverable psychoneurosis was opened at Littlemore in 1956, (fn. 293) and the Ley Clinic for alcoholism and drug addiction in 1970. (fn. 294)
The only hospital in Oxford which did not join the National Health Service in 1948 was the Acland Nursing Home. It was founded in Wellington Square in 1882 in memory of Sarah, wife of Sir Henry Acland; further donations were made to the home on Sir Henry's retirement in 1894, and in 1897 it was moved to larger premises at no. 25 Banbury Road. Additions made between 1904 and 1907 included an operating theatre; hitherto operations had been performed in patients' rooms. In 1936 Lord Nuffield paid for the reconstruction of the home and the addition of a new wing. The home is a non-profit-making institution governed by a scheme of the charity commissioners of 1938. (fn. 295)
The St. John the Evangelist National Hospital for Incurables at Cowley was opened in 1876 to give incurables, especially those whose relations could make a small payment, the comforts they could not find elsewhere. (fn. 296) By 1883 it was run by the Sisters of the Society of All Saints, an Anglican order of nuns, (fn. 297) and has continued as a home for elderly women who require some nursing care. A similar home for old people and orphans, opened by the Roman Catholic Poor Sisters of Nazareth in the Cowley Road in 1875, continued in use in 1977. (fn. 298) Another Anglican order, the Sisters of St. John the Baptist from Clewer (Berks.), ran St. Basil's home for aged women in Iffley Road between 1892 and 1966. (fn. 299) The number of old people's homes increased rapidly after the Second World War as the local authority assumed responsibility for the care of old people, and in 1973 there were eight local authority and four voluntary homes, as well as several houses belonging to the Oxford branch of the Abbeyfield Society. (fn. 300)
Apart from Nazareth House, mentioned above, most children's homes and orphanages in Oxford have been comparatively short-lived. St. Thomas's Orphanage, founded by the Sisters of St. Thomas the Martyr in 1866, was moved to Foxcombe Hill outside Oxford in 1906. (fn. 301) St. Peter-le-Bailey children's home in New Inn Hall Street, founded in 1887, closed c. 1925. (fn. 302) A local authority children's home was opened in Windmill House, Windmill Road, in 1957. (fn. 303)
The Oxford Female Penitentiary Society, founded in 1832 to assist and reform penitent prostitutes and others who had been seduced, opened a temporary refuge in Brewer Street. (fn. 304) In 1856 it was moved to Holywell Manor where from 1862 to 1929 the sisters of St. John the Baptist ran a long-stay penitentiary and training home. (fn. 305) In 1929 the home was moved to St. Mary's Home, Lawn Upton House, Littlemore, which continued as a training home for delinquent girls until c. 1949. (fn. 306)
A temporary house of refuge was founded in Floyd's Row, St. Aldate's in 1873 to accommodate c. 20 girls awaiting admission to a home or penitentiary; it was enlarged in 1889. The house was demolished c. 1939 and the refuge, renamed Skene House, was reestablished in Clark's Row, St. Aldate's, where it remained as a mother and baby home until 1971. (fn. 307)
The Ladies' Association for the Care of Friendless Girls, founded in 1883 to protect innocent girls and rescue those who had 'fallen into sin', opened a temporary training home in north Oxford in 1883 and a cottage home in St. John's Road for mothers and babies in 1899. The training home seems to have closed in 1914 and the mother and baby home in 1920. (fn. 308)
A scheme to provide a wash-house and baths for the 'industrious classes' of Oxford was launched in 1850, and its supporters found that 600 families in the western part of the city had no provision whatever for bathing or laundry. (fn. 309) The baths were to be selfsupporting, and it was suggested that money could be raised by providing a better kind of bath in the same establishment which would be patronised by ladies and gentlemen. (fn. 310) The city conveyed to trustees a site between Castle Street and New Road, and baths and laundries built by public subscription were opened in 1852. An explosion closed them almost at once for repairs, but they were re-opened in 1853. (fn. 311) By 1863 receipts from the baths were no longer sufficient to meet expenses, the number of users having fallen. (fn. 312) The trustees offered the baths to the Local Board in 1865, but the board had no powers to take them over and they were closed in 1867. (fn. 313)
The corporation did not open its first baths, in Paradise Square, until 1923. It also installed slipperbaths in Merton Street swimming-baths, which it leased from the university between 1924 and 1938. Other slipper-baths and showers were opened in Albert Street, Jericho in 1952, in Catherine Street, Cowley in 1954, and in Lake Street, New Hinksey in 1961. The Paradise Square baths closed in 1965 and the Lake Street baths in 1966. (fn. 314)
By the 17th century the New Parks and Broken Heys in the northern suburbs and Christ Church Meadow in the south were areas for recreation; the first two were used for drilling troops during the Civil War. (fn. 315) Between 1697 and 1711 Merton College built a 'handsome terrace walk' on land adjoining the city wall, and the walk became the fashionable Oxford promenade, thronged on Sunday nights with young ladies and gentlemen. (fn. 316) The public was admitted into the Physic Garden and into some college gardens, and by the mid 19th century Magdalen water-walk was 'much frequented'. (fn. 317) Later in the century a raised mile-long terrace walk round part of the Parks was popular for its views of the city and the surrounding countryside. (fn. 318) In 1854 the university bought from Merton College 91 a. of the New Parks and between 1864 and 1866 laid out the area, all of which was open to the public, with trees and gardens. 'Mesopotamia', the area between branches of the Cherwell, was acquired in 1865, and land on the east bank of the Cherwell in 1886 and 1934. (fn. 319) Port Meadow also became a popular recreational area, with raised walks, in the 19th century. (fn. 320)
From the late 19th century the corporation acquired its own parks and recreation grounds, and in 1970 the estates and amenities committee controlled nearly 80 separate recreational areas covering a total of c. 1,080 acres. (fn. 321) The earliest were the Cowley Road recreation ground, acquired in the late 19th century, and St. Ebbe's playground, laid out in 1900. Botley Road ground was bought in 1922, Oxpens grounds in 1923, Sunnymeade in the Water Eaton Road in 1925, Oatlands Field in 1927, and Alexandra Courts in the Woodstock Road in 1925. Raleigh Park, North Hinksey, was given by Colonel R. W. Fennell of Wytham Abbey in 1924, and Florence Park in 1934 by J. E. Moss, a city councillor, the name commemorating his sister Florence. King George's field, Five Mile Drive, given by St. John's College in 1935, became a memorial to King George V. The corporation bought Bury Knowle at Headington in 1931 and Headington Hill Park in 1953, and laid out Hinksey Park in 1934 and Cuttleslowe Park in 1951 and 1952. From 1925 the corporation has leased the Angel and Greyhound Meadows from Magdalen College as a children's playground, and from 1926 the Marston Road ground in St. Clement's from the Morrell family and Magdalen College. The Oxford Preservation. Trust gave the Chilswell Valley (in Wootton, Berks.) in 1938, and South Park (Headington), Shotover, and Windmill Farm in 1951. In 1970 the city administered Bullingdon Green, and Brasenose and Magdalen Woods as open spaces.
In 1843 a committee reported that every churchyard in the city was full, and that some, notably St. Ebbe's, were offensive to passers-by; in St. Aldate's it was necessary to test the ground with an iron rod to find a space. Clerical opposition prevented the acquisition of a general cemetery, but in 1848 new parish burial grounds were consecrated in Oseney, Holywell, and Jericho (St. Sepulchre's). (fn. 322) Orders in Council in 1855 instructed that burials, except in existing vaults or walled graves, should cease in all the ancient parish churchyards, and in the graveyards of the Roman Catholic, Baptist, Wesleyan, and Congregational chapels, the workhouse, the Radcliffe Infirmary, and the castle gaol. In the three new parish burial grounds and Summertown churchyard burials were to be made only in plots already reserved, and in accordance with regulations for new burial grounds. (fn. 323)
In 1876 the cemetery committee of the Local Board reported that the orders of 1855 could not be complied with: St. Thomas's and St. Clement's churchyards were still used occasionally, and although the three parochial burial grounds were expected to last for a further nine years, conditions in Oseney were very bad and in St. Sepulchre's bad. Many rate-payers, supported by the medical officer of health, asked for the establishment of a general cemetery, and the Local Board was constituted a Burial Board the same year. (fn. 324)
In 1883 the cemetery committee of the Local Board decided to buy from Christ Church 26 a. at Rose Hill for a cemetery, but because the parties could not agree on a price negotiations dragged on until 1889; the newly formed corporation then bought 11 a. at Rose Hill from Christ Church and c. 13 a. at Cutteslowe from the dean and chapter of Westminster, and in 1890 a further c. 8 a. in Botley from the earl of Abingdon. (fn. 325) The cemeteries were dedicated under the Interments Act in 1892. (fn. 326) A plot at Wolvercote was reserved for Jews in 1893, and parts of all three cemeteries were consecrated by the bishop of Oxford in 1901. (fn. 327) The Headington parish council cemetery (fn. 328) was taken over as a public burial ground for the city in 1928 and was extended in 1932. (fn. 329) All four cemeteries remained in use in 1976. A crematorium was opened in 1939 in Bayswater Lane, Stanton St. John, by the Oxford Crematorium Company; the grounds were extended in 1968, and an additional chapel built in 1976. (fn. 330)