The latest news from the
Oxfordshire Local History Association (OLHA)
October 2021
(Above) The Oxford Canal at Jericho (photo by Neil Braggins, Oxford Mail).

All members of local history societies and groups that are members of OLHA are themselves members of OLHA automatically, and this e-bulletin is for everyone. Hence, if you are on the committee of a local history group or society, please make sure that this e-bulletin is forwarded to all your members by sending them this url. Thank you.
Employees at Morrell’s Lion Brewery in St Thomas’s, Oxford, 1916.

A new exhibition about the history of the parishes of St Thomas’s and St Ebbe’s in Oxford continues at the County Library, Westgate, until Wednesday 6 October. St Thomas’s was home to Oxford’s breweries, to its boating and barge communities, and to those who built the railways. Neighbouring St Ebbe’s was the site of Oxford’s gasworks and its cattle market, and had more pubs per square yard than any other part of the city. Despite post-war clearances, a surprising number of historic buildings remain to remind us of this rich heritage.
The Oxfordshire Record Society will host an on-line seminar on Saturday 9 October on Hidden Records of Oxfordshire, with Clare Cowling, Principal Researcher, Oxfordshire Undeposited Records Project (University College London) and Mark Priddey, Manager (Archives), Oxfordshire History Centre.

Further information here. The seminar is free and open to all, but places must be booked in advance by contacting Arabella St John Parker.
A history of Steventon in 77 objects will be on display at Steventon Village Hall on Sunday 10 October, 10:00am-4:00pm; entry is free. The exhibition is part of a plan to form a new village history group; recording memories of older villagers is likely to be a first project.

Further information about the exhibition here; to contribute to the new Steventon history group contact Dick Bosley.
The Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust’s annual Blenhem lecture, drinks reception and buffet supper will take place in the Orangery at Blenheim Palace (above) on Wednesday 13 October, 6:30-9:45pm. The lecture will be delivered by Dr Simon Bradley, on Revising Pevsner in Oxford and Oxfordshire.

Further information and tickets here.
The Oxfordfordshire Buildings Record will host a guided walk, A Wander in Waterstock, on Saturday 23 October, 10:30am - 12:00pm. This small tranquil village by the River Thame was recorded in 1098 as having five households. Now about eighty inhabitants live along the single lane through the settlement. There are twenty listed buildings, including possibly the oldest cruck house in Oxfordshire, and an interesting pump house of 1898 (above).

Places limited to twenty, so booking is essential. Please contact Felix Lam.
A reminder of events already mentioned in previous e-bulletins...
The Oxfordshire Family History Society’s annual fair will be held on-line on Saturday 2 October. Representatives from more than a dozen county family history societies and other organisations, including the Family and Community Historical Research Society and the Historic Towns Trust, will be on hand to answer questions. The fair is free and open to all, but prior registration is necessary.

Programme details and registration here.
The Oxfordshire Buildings Record (OBR) is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. OBR promotes the study and recording of Oxfordshire’s traditional buildings, and members can gain practical skills in building-recording techniques while helping to create a publicly-accessible repository of building records.

OBR will host a conference on Oxfordshire’s traditional buildings on Saturday 2 October, via Zoom. There is no charge, but places are limited, so prior registration is essential.

Programme details and booking here.
A one-day symposium on the Medieval Wall Paintings of St Mary’s Church, Chalgrove will be held in the church on Saturday 16 October. St Mary’s houses an internationally-important scheme of paintings carried out in the first half of the 14th century, depicting the childhood and Passion of Jesus, and the death and assumption of the Virgin Mary. Speakers, including Prof Paul Binski, Prof Miri Ruben, Dr Ellie Pridgeon, and Cambridge PhD student Sommer Halquist, will explore and explain these extraordinary art works.

Further information here and tickets (£20) here.
Communities of Dissent 1850-1914 is a day conference to be held in Oxford on Saturday 30 October, organised by the Chapels Society in association with Harris Manchester College, Oxford. The conference is one of the outcomes of a project about nonconformity by the Family & Community Historical Research Society, led by Oxfordshire’s Dr Kate Tiller, which investigated experiences of chapel culture in local areas of England and Wales. The conference will present the results of this research, and of other recent studies on the significance of chapels and chapel life during the Victorian and Edwardian heyday of nonconformity in Britain.

Further infomation and booking here.
Steeple Aston Village Archive (SAVA) produces an annual exhibition each November, drawing on materials already in the archive, and more collected during original research on the chosen theme. This year it is Houses Through Time - the history of nine Steeple and Middle Aston houses and their residents, some ordinary, some extraordinary. The display will be at Steeple Aston Village Hall, Fir Lane, OX25 4SF, on Saturday 6 November 2-6pm, and Sunday 7 November 12-4pm. Entry free. [The exhibition will move on-line if necessary.]
Tom Shepherd’s boat building sheds in 1900, adapted from former granaries adjoining the Red Lion (to the left, covered in ivy). The firm was one of several successful boat-building businesses in Henley. Image from the Victoria County History of Oxford, Vol 16.

OLHA’s autumn study day will be on Saturday 20 November in Henley-on-Thames, on The Importance of Henley and the River Thames. There will be talks in the morning, and a guided walk around the town in the afternoon. The day is open to everyone and tickets are only £12.

Further information and booking here.
Following a £2.8 million refurbishment, the Museum of Oxford will re-open on Monday 11 October, with three times as much space as before.

New displays of objects, images, oral histories, and interactive exhibits will tell the story of Oxford through its people, from Romans and Anglo-Saxons to the first Cowley factory workers and those who protested against the infamous Cutteslowe Walls. Visitors will be welcomed by some of the museum’s one hundred volunteers.

Further information here; book your visit here.
The Oxfordshire History Centre (OHC) recently took possession of a large part of the contents of the library of the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times, comprising thousands of newspaper cuttings and photographs. The latest blog post from OHC is by veteran Oxford Mail columnist John Chipperfield, who looks back at the library - an essential resource for generations of journalists - and at life at Newspaper House in New Inn Hall Street (above).

Read the blog post here.
Oxfordshire County Council is consulting the public on re-imagining its libraries, museums and history services. Staff would welcome your ideas on how services provided by the Oxfordshire Museum and the Oxfordshire History Centre could be improved.

Please have a look at the consultation here and make your comments and suggestions here before 20 October.
It’s amazing what you can find...

Neil Maw of the Shrivenham Heritage Society writes: “I had been researching several aspects of the history of Shrivenham, when a friend called my attention to some documents for sale on ebay. After some negotiations I managed to agree a deal with the seller, and bought all 41 of them. Once I started to study the documents, I realised that some of them provided the answers to several of the enigmas that I was working on. For example, we now know how, why and when one of the principal houses of Shrivenham - Elm Tree House (above) - became part of the Barrington Estate, and how that transaction became the template for deed schedules of all the estate property sold thereafter.”

A good reminder that not all historic documents are to be found in conventional archives!
A mystery photograph...

Members of Drayton St Leonard Local History Society have discovered an old photograph (above) taken by the well-known and long-established Oxford photographers Gillman and Soame. This charming photo measures about 12 x 10 inches and appears to have been taken in the 1890s. It was being used as a backing for a framed photo of the present Queen, which hung in the village hall. Members would love to know more about it and its subjects but, despite wide enquiries, still have no idea who the people in the photo are, when and where it was taken, or how it came to be in the possession of someone in the village.

Click on the photo above to see a larger version.

Do you recognise the family (if indeed it is a family) and/or the location? If so, please contact Charles Dickerson, who will be very glad to hear from you.
In the August OLHA e-bulletin we asked for support for the latest project at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum (SOFO) in Woodstock, to build a Second World War Anderson shelter to help visitors, families and school children experience what life was like on the home front in the 1940s. Happily the museum raised the money in less than two months, and would like to thank everyone who contributed. Work to build the shelter will now begin.

Read more about the project here.
As reported in previous e-bulletins, the British Association for Local History (BALH) has teamed up with Pharos Tutors to offer short topic-based on-line courses on a variety of local and family history subjects.

Forthcoming courses (from October) include 17th-century Sources; Manorial Records for Family and Local Historians; and Nonconformity - Its Records and History 1600 - 1950.

Most courses last 4 or 5 weeks and are reasonably priced at around £50.

Further information and booking here.
The University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE) is offering a number of short on-line history courses which start in October.

Subjects include Legal Records for Local Historians and The Railways and Society from the Victorians to Dr Beeching.

Further details and booking here.
Looking for speakers for your group’s 2021/22 programme? OLHA’s substantial directory of speakers and tour guides is often updated, and shows which speakers are able to deliver their illustrated talks via Zoom or similar on-line platform.
If you have any items for the next OLHA e-bulletin, please send brief text and low resolution images to Liz Woolley by 25 October.
Many Oxfordshire history societies are getting back to meeting in person, whilst others are still holding talks on-line. Either way, there are interesting local history talks on offer across the county almost every weekday. To see a detailed daily listing, go to OLHA’s website.

Here is a selection for October:

5thBritish Modern Military History Society (Woodcote)– Kathy Quinlan Flatter and Linda Parker “The Blitz in London December 1940”. On-line talk, 2:00pm, register by e-mailing

5thHook Norton – Dominic Sandbrook “Britain in the 1980s”. Baptist Church Hall, Netting Street, 7:30pm.

6thFriends of the Oxfordshire Museum – Angie Bolton “Rich Pickings in the Museum Services Archaeology Collection from the Palaeolithic to the late Medieval”. On-line talk, 7:30pm, register by e-mailing

7thCharlbury – Simon Townley “Cornbury Park: Research from the VCH”. On-line talk, 8:00pm, email to enquire.

7thEynsham – Nicholas Clapton “Another Renaissance: English Music from 1897-1945”. Church Hall, Thames Street, 7:30pm.

7thOxford Civic Society – Nigel Fisher “Wytham Woods in a changing world: the past, present and future of Oxford University’s ‘Laboratory with Leaves’”. Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street, 8:00pm.

11thChipping Norton – Visit to Churchill Museum with talk by Christine Gower “The abandoned Village of Churchill”. Churchill Museum, 2:00pm.

11thRadley – Hubert Zawadzki “The Land of the White Eagle: the Story of Poland”. St James the Great Church, 7:30pm.

12th – Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society (OAHS) – Julie Dunne “Finding Oxford’s Medieval Jewry using Organic Residue Analysis, Faunal Records and Historical Documents”. On-line talk, 5:30pm, further information at (OAHS members only).

12thStanford in the Vale – Speaker tbc “The rise and fall of boating on the Thames”. Village Hall, 7:30pm.

12thThame – Paul Barnet “In Defence of the Drift”. Barns Centre, Church Road, 7:30pm.

13thBritish Modern Military History Society (Woodcote) – Gareth Glover “Waterloo Myths and the Quest for the Truth”. Woodcote Willage Hall (Covid-allowing), 7:30pm; e-mail or check to confirm venue.

13thBuckinghamshire Military Museum Trust – Juliette Pattinson “Carve their names with pride: female secret agents in the Second World War”. On-line talk, 7:00pm, book at

13thWolvercote – AGM followed by Alison McDonald “10,000 Years of Life Beside the Thames”. Village Hall. 7:30pm.

13thWychwoods – David Young “Primitive Methodism”. Milton-under-Wychwood Village Hall, 7:30pm.

14thBanbury – Nick Lipscombe “Combined Arms Tactics in the English Civil War”. Banbury Museum, Spiceball Park Road, 7:30 pm, and streamed live via Microsoft Teams; for further information e-mail

14thWootton & Dry Sandford – Timothy Walker “The Harcourt Arboretum – the first 50 years”. Wootton Community Centre, 7:30pm.

15thFinstock – Tony Cooper “The Great Prize Fight at Whiteoak Green, 1846”. Village Hall, 8:00pm.

18th – Adderbury – Ciaran Walsh “The Otmoor Riots in a Wider Context”. Adderbury Institute, 7:30pm.

18thBicester – Sheila Allcock “Homes fit for Heroes: The Centenary of Council Houses”. Clifton Centre, Ashdene Road, 7:30pm.

18thGoring Gap – Paul Henderson “James Sowerby:  Enlightenment, Art and Science”. Goring Village Hall, 2:30pm.

19thClanfield & Bampton – Alan Larkman “Birds in our locality”. Carter Institute, Main Street, Clanfield, 7:30pm.

19thIffley – AGM and Deborah Hayter “Ridge and Furrow – What’s it all about?”. Church Hall, Church Way, 7:30pm. Non-members please contact Paul Butler on in advance, as places may be limited.

20thBloxham – Ian Keable “The Century of Deception: The Birth of the Hoax in the Eighteenth Century”. 7:30pm, format tbc, contact for further information.

20thEnstone – ffiona Perigrinor “The Hazards of Medieval Pilgimage: Marjery Kempe and her fellowship (1414-1417)”. 7:30pm; e-mail for venue.

21stLongworth -Julie Ann Godson “On This Day in Oxfordshire”. Southmoor Village Hall, 7:30pm.

21stOxfordshire Gardens Trust – Advolly Richmond “Flora Domestica: A Social History of Indoor Pot Plants”. On-line talk, 6:00pm, register at

21stWychwoods – David Young “Primitive Methodism”. On-line talk, 7:30pm, register by e-mailing

22ndThame Museum – Susan Fern “The Lenborough Hoard and the Buckingham Mint”. On-line talk, 7:30pm, tickets from

25thCumnor – Liz Woolley “Victorian and Edwardian industrial buildings of Oxford”. Old School, 7:30pm.

25thHanney – Trevor Jackson “The history of RAF Brize Norton – from 1936 to the present day”. War Memorial Hall, East Hanney, 8:00pm.

25thMarcham – Alastair Lack “The History of St John’s College”. Marcham Centre, 7:30pm.

25thMiddleton Cheney – Brian Goodey “The People who lived at The Holt”. All Saints Church, 7:30pm.

25thTackley – John Perkins “Revisiting The Romans in Tackley”. Memorial Hall, 8:00pm.

26thOxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society (OAHS) – George Lambrick “‘The Brothers Whose Buildings Now Soar to Regal Heights’: Matthew Paris and the Mendicants in Medieval Oxford”. On-line talk, 5:30pm, further information at (OAHS members only).

27thSouth Stoke – Tim Healey “Apples: the myth and mystery of England’s favourite fruit”. Village Hall, 2:15pm.

28thKirtlington & Bletchington – Mark Davies “James Sadler: Oxford pastry cook and First English Aeronaut”. Kirtlington Village Hall, 7:30pm.

Copyright © 2021 Liz Woolley, All rights reserved.

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