Oxford: A Potted History
Series: A Potted History
- David Meara
15th July 2024
Oxford’s history begins with the story of a King’s daughter, Frideswide, who founded a nunnery in the meadows where the River Thames and River Cherwell meet. A settlement grew up around her shrine, which was built on the site of the present Cathedral and it was also a good place for cattle to cross, hence, the name, Ox-Ford. A Norman castle was built after the Conquest, and students were first attracted there in the reign of Henry I. The town and university continued to grow through the ravages of the Black Death, and in the Civil War became the home of Charles I’s royal court. The pioneering Radcliffe Observatory was built in the 18th century and over the next couple of centuries industrialisation came to Oxford with the canal and railway network, printing and publishing, car manufacturing and brewing among other industries, and suburbs were built to house the working population. Today, alongside its universities, its role as a technological and medical hub is demonstrated by its development the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, but it is also home to the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in 1942, which opened its first Oxfam Shop in 1949. The shop is still there on Broad Street today.
This book will look back over the centuries to uncover the fascinating history of the city. Stories from its beginnings to the present day bring the history to life in today’s city with illustrations to show where reminders of the of the town’s past can still be found. This accessible historical portrait of the transformation that Oxford has undergone through the ages will be of great interest to residents, visitors and all those with links to the city.