Iffley History Society

The Society’s 2018-2019 programme of evening talks on the theme of Building and Buildings ends on Tuesday 21st May with one entitled “…home to the thriftless, careless, lazy, ne’er-do-well sort…”:  The Victorian and Edwardian development of East Oxford.’

Our speaker, Liz Woolley, has provided this description: ” Until the mid-nineteenth century the land south-east of Magdalen Bridge was mainly open fields with a few isolated farmhouses on the roads leading out to Bartlemas chapel and to the villages of Cowley and Iffley. But enclosure in 1853 led to the rapid development of the area and streets lined with terraced houses sprang up with amazing speed. Within fifty years 2,500 homes had been built, attracting college servants, skilled artisans, labourers and what the local vicar Father Benson described as ‘the ignorant and rambling poor’. By the end of the century the suburb housed over a quarter of Oxford’s population and contained a lively mixture of shops, small factories, pubs, cinemas, theatres, schools, the city’s workhouse and Anglican and Non-conformist churches and chapels.”

Liz will be a familiar face to many members,  (briefly) she is a graduate of Oxford


Liz Woolley

University’s Department for Continuing Education – Diploma in 2007, then an MSc  in 2009 – both in English Local History (and both with distinction.) Since then she has become an experienced speaker, guide, tutor, researcher and author, with  a specialisation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and, when it comes to Oxford, the history of the “town” – as opposed to the “gown” or University . (Her  Oxford’s Working Past: Walking Tours of Victorian and Edwardian Industrial Buildings(2012) opens your eyes to this heritage admirably.) Her most recent publication Changing Oxford: Fifty years of Oxford Civic Society 1969 – 2019  which is available free if you click on the title to read online or download.

As always, the talk will be given in Iffley Church Hall, and will start at 7.30pm. Doors open shortly after 7pm. Visitors welcome, There is a £3 door charge for non-members.