Jericho, Oxford
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Jericho is an historic suburb of the English city of
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2020, its population was estimated at 151,584. It is north-west of London, south-east of Birmingham and north-east of Bristol. The city is home to the Un ...
. It consists of the streets bounded by the
Oxford Canal The Oxford Canal is a narrowboat canal in central England linking the City of Oxford with the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Village, Hawkesbury (just north of Coventry and south of Bedworth) via Banbury and Rugby, Warwickshire, Rugby. Completed ...
,
Worcester College Worcester College is one of the Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. The college was founded in 1714 by the benefaction of Sir Thomas Cookes, 2nd Baronet (1648–1701) of Norgrove ...
, Walton Street and Walton Well Road. Located outside the old
city wall A defensive wall is a fortification usually used to protect a city, town or other settlement from potential aggressors. The walls can range from simple palisades or earthworks to extensive military fortifications with towers, bastions and gates ...
, it was originally a place for travellers to rest if they had reached the city after the gates had closed. The name Jericho may have been adopted to signify this 'remote place' outside the wall. As of February 2021, the population of Jericho and Osney wards was 6,995.


History

Originally an industrial area, Jericho grew because of its proximity to the
Oxford Canal The Oxford Canal is a narrowboat canal in central England linking the City of Oxford with the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Village, Hawkesbury (just north of Coventry and south of Bedworth) via Banbury and Rugby, Warwickshire, Rugby. Completed ...
, which arrived in 1790. The Eagle Ironworks (now redeveloped into apartments), wharves and the
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of the University of Oxford. It is the largest university press in the world, and its printing history dates back to the 1480s. Having been officially granted the legal right to print books ...
were based there and its residential streets are mostly 'two-up, two-down' Victorian workers' houses. With back streets of 19th century
terraced housing In architecture and city planning, a terrace or terraced house (British English, UK) or townhouse (American English, US) is a form of medium-density housing that originated in Europe in the 16th century, whereby a row of attached dwellings party ...
and many restaurants, it has become a popular area for student and London commuter accommodation. Reports from the 1870s suggest that early homes in Jericho were built with very poor drainage. Low-lying land and lack of basic drainage in these homes would result in flooding. Flooding, open sewers, and overcrowding resulted in deaths from diseases such as
typhoid Typhoid fever, also known as typhoid, is a disease caused by ''Salmonella'' serotype Typhi bacteria. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and usually begin six to 30 days after exposure. Often there is a gradual onset of a high fever over several d ...
and
dysentery Dysentery (UK pronunciation: , US: ), historically known as the bloody flux, is a type of gastroenteritis that results in bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, and a feeling of incomplete defecation. Complicati ...
, with five out of eleven typhoid deaths in 1873 originating from Jericho. Jericho residents also accounted for twenty two cases of cholera during the 1832 epidemic. In the 1950s, Jericho was briefly a red light area, and in the early 1960s there were plans to demolish it and replace it with light industrial units and new housing. However, many people objected and campaigned to save this historic area, rallied by local city councillor Olive Gibbs and the Jericho Residents Association. As a result, the plans were changed. Houses beyond repair were demolished, but many others were upgraded in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the help of council grants. This encouraged many young professionals and families to move in; subsequently Jericho became one of Oxford's most sought-after areas. Large council and social housing developments were built in the 1970s and 1980s.


Community

Jericho retains a strong community spirit. The Jericho Community Association runs the Jericho Community Centre in Canal Street, maintains the community website, Jericho Online, and organises the annual Jericho Street Fair which is held in mid-June each year, around the feast day of the patron saint
Barnabas Barnabas (; arc, ܒܪܢܒܐ; grc, Βαρνάβας), born Joseph () or Joses (), was according to tradition an early Christians, Christian, one of the prominent Disciple (Christianity), Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36 ...
(11 June). It is also the focus for other community activities and has also been very active in campaigning for responsible development of the canal-side land behind St Barnabas Church, on a part of which it plans to build a new Community Centre as one of the four members of the Jericho Wharf Trust. Jericho is served by a primary school, St Barnabas Primary School, a large primary school where over 50% speak English as a second language. Appropriately for its biblical name, Jericho is also known for its iconic places of worship. The
Church of England parish church A parish church in the Church of England is the church which acts as the religious centre for the people within each Church of England parish (the smallest and most basic Church of England administrative unit; since the 19th century sometimes ca ...
is the
Anglo-Catholic Anglo-Catholicism comprises beliefs and practices that emphasise the Catholicity, Catholic heritage and identity of the various Anglican churches. The term was coined in the early 19th century, although movements emphasising the Catholic natur ...
St Barnabas Church, next to the
Oxford Canal The Oxford Canal is a narrowboat canal in central England linking the City of Oxford with the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Village, Hawkesbury (just north of Coventry and south of Bedworth) via Banbury and Rugby, Warwickshire, Rugby. Completed ...
. St Sepulchre's Cemetery lies off Walton Street, which has no associated church and has lost its chapel. The Albert Street Chapel ( Reformed Baptist) is also in the neighbourhood. The Oxford Synagogue (one of the few in England with more than one denomination of Judaism worshipping in the same house) and the Oxford Jewish Centre are in Jericho. Castlemill Boatyard is a 160-year-old
wharf A wharf, quay (, also ), staith, or staithe is a structure on the shore of a harbour or on the bank of a river or canal where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers. Such a structure includes one or more berths ( mooring locati ...
on the canal in Jericho, previously owned by
British Waterways British Waterways, often shortened to BW, was a statutory corporation A statutory corporation is a government entity created as a statutory body by statute. Their precise nature varies by jurisdiction, thus, they are statutes owned by a gov ...
and now closed. British Waterways sold the site to a company that subsequently went into administration. The land has been bought by a developer but has yet to be developed. The Jericho Wharf Trust has been negotiating with the developer to develop the site as a focus for community activities including a new boatyard and community centre. One member of the Jericho Wharf Trust is Jericho Community Boatyard Ltd which has been set up to restore services for Oxford boaters. Next to the Castlemill Boatyard was the old ferry house and chain ferry which allowed access to the South Oxford Canal towpath and then on to Port Meadow and the banks of the River Thames by foot. The ferry has now been replaced by a footbridge and the site is now the College Cruisers Wharf accessed via Combe Road off Canal Street. It is a busy thriving hire boat base and working boatyard providing for the needs of local and visiting narrow boats. The last and first service stop for essential services for boats before they cruise the River Thames or leave it. The local cinema has seen a number of incarnations. It started in 1913 as the North Oxford Kinema. In 1925, it was renamed ''The Scala''. In 1970 it was split in two and became Studios 1 and 2, one of which was well known for showing softcore pornography. In 1977, the cinema revived again after being taken over by the London company Contemporary Entertainments and acquired its current name, the Phoenix, showing first-run and
art house An art film (or arthouse film) is typically an independent film An independent film, independent movie, indie film, or indie movie is a feature film or short film that is film production, produced outside the major film studio system, in addi ...
films. In 2015 a local coterie launched a campaign called 'Change Your Mind' which was aimed at changing people's minds about what it means to be part of North Oxford. They hoped to change people's opinion on the area and get rid of incorrect beliefs. They have also set up a support system for those interested in joining in their set up activities. In 2017 Jericho was ranked number 11 in a list of the UK’s ‘most hip’ destinations. The ranking was compiled by TravelSupermarket, and took into account
vegan Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal product—particularly in diet (nutrition), diet—and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. An individual who follows the diet or philosophy is kn ...
cafes, independent bike shops, vinyl record stores and independent coffee shops. In 2018 the suburb dropped to number 20 on the list, although it scored full marks, for the second year running, in the ‘creative capital’ category, which concerned co-working and creative spaces.


In fiction

Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Literary realism, Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, including the poetr ...
's novel ''
Jude the Obscure ''Jude the Obscure'' is a novel by Thomas Hardy, which began as a magazine serial in December 1894 and was first published in book form in 1895 (though the title page says 1896). It is Hardy's last completed novel. The protagonist, Jude Fawley ...
'' has a scene set in St Barnabas Church and it is likely that the suburb named 'Beersheba' in the novel is based on Jericho. As an homage to Hardy, in 1996, one of Jericho's pubs was renamed Jude the Obscure. The first episode of the long-running ITV drama series ''
Inspector Morse Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse, George Medal, GM, is the eponymous fictional character in the series of detective novels by British author Colin Dexter. On television, he appears in the 33-episode drama series ''Inspector Morse (TV ...
'', starring British actor
John Thaw John Edward Thaw, (3 January 1942 – 21 February 2002) was an English actor who appeared in a range of television, stage, and cinema roles. He starred in the television series ''Inspector Morse Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse, ...
, called ''" The Dead of Jericho"'', was partially filmed in the streets of Jericho, notably Combe Road ('Canal Reach' in the drama). It also featured the exterior of the Bookbinders Arms
public house A pub (short for public house) is a kind of drinking establishment which is licensed to serve alcoholic drinks for consumption Licensing laws of the United Kingdom#On-licence, on the premises. The term ''public house'' first appeared in ...
on the corner of Victor Street. The spin-off show ''
Lewis Lewis may refer to: Names * Lewis (given name), including a list of people with the given name * Lewis (surname), including a list of people with the surname Music * Lewis (musician), Canadian singer * "Lewis (Mistreated)", a song by Radiohead ...
'' also has stories based around the same area.
Philip Pullman Sir Philip Nicholas Outram Pullman (born 19 October 1946) is an English writer. His books include the fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional univ ...
set parts of his novels '' Northern Lights'' and '' Lyra's Oxford'' in Jericho. In the books, Jericho is home to the water-dwelling "Gyptians". He has been a vocal advocate of the residential boaters' fight to save the Castlemill Boatyard. In ''The Whore's Asylum'' by Katy Darby (Penguin Group, 2012), the "home for indigent whores" is in Victor Street and the young doctor attending their special medical needs lives in Canal Street. Jericho in 1887 is described (probably inaccurately) as "haunted by drunkards, thieves, and the lowest sort of brazen female as ever lifted her petticoats".


Gallery

File:Walton Street Jericho Oxford looking north 20060314.jpg, Looking north down Walton Street from the southeast corner of Jericho.
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of the University of Oxford. It is the largest university press in the world, and its printing history dates back to the 1480s. Having been officially granted the legal right to print books ...
is on the left and
Somerville College Somerville College, a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford in England, was founded in 1879 as Somerville Hall, one of its first two women's colleges. Among list of Somerville College, Oxford, peop ...
on the right File:Jericho Health Centre 20050326.jpg, The former Jericho Health Centre on Walton Street, seen in 2005 File:Jericho Street Fair 2012.JPG, Jericho Street Fair Stalls. File:Morris Dancers at Jericho Street Fair Oxford.JPG, Morris dancers in Cardigan Street File:Mick Clack at the Jericho Street Fair.JPG, Music outside the Bookbinders pub in Canal Street File:Jericho, Oxford-geograph-3607143.jpg, The Jericho Tavern and the Phoenix Picture House File:Jubilee Street Party in Jericho, Oxford.JPG, Jubilee Street Party, 2012, in Cardigan Street


See also

* Art Jericho, a contemporary art gallery * Great Clarendon Street * Juxon Street


References


Sources and further reading

* * * * *


External links


Jericho Online

The Oxford Guide: Jericho
{{Oxford Areas of Oxford Culture in Oxford