The latest news from the
Oxfordshire Local History Association (OLHA)
December 2019
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.
The Earth Trust at Long Wittenham has recently started five months of archaeological excavations on its land.

From November to February 2020 there will be guided tours exploring the history of Wittenham Clumps (above) which will include visits to the dig area, where visitors can meet the archaeologists and hear about their latest discoveries.

From Tuesday 28 January to Sunday 2 February 2020 there will also be whole-day workshops in the Trust’s Finds Lab, during which participants will learn directly from the archaeologists how to clean, identify and interpret newly-discovered finds.

The events will conclude in March with a community dig.

Further information and booking here.
Typhoid plagued the population of Victorian Oxford, and still kills many thousands of people worldwide today. Researchers at Oxford University have been investigating how typhoid influenced medicine and the design of water and sewerage systems, as well as how the disease was eliminated from the city’s streets between the 1860s and the 1940s.

Their findings are presented in a new free exhibition Alice in Typhoidland which will be shown across two venues: the Weston Library on Broad Street from Saturday 11 January 2020 until 22 March, and the nearby History of Science Museum from Monday 20 January to 31 July.

Further information here.
And a reminder of other events coming up which have been noted in previous e-bulletins...
In association with the Weston Library’s Talking Maps exhibition (see below), the Bodleian Libraries and the Oxfordshire History Centre are running a travelling roadshow called Talking Maps in Libraries. This is a series of monthly events which started in September, each at a different Oxfordshire library, showcasing maps which challenge our understanding of the world, and which can be used to explore the history of local communities.

The remaining venues and dates are:
  • Didcot Library: Thursday 12 December, 1pm-4pm
  • Witney Library: Thursday 23 January 2020, 1pm-4pm
  • Abingdon Library: Thursday 20 February 2020, 10am-1pm
  • Thame Library: Thursday 5 March 2020, 10am-1pm

Further information here.
Glyn Dewis’s photographic portraits of World War Two veterans are on show at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock until 5 January 2020. Visitors to the exhibition 3945 Portraits can hear about veterans’ experiences through Dewis’s recorded interviews with them.

Further information here.
‘Oh, What a Lovely War!’ Humour in Times of Conflict is at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock until 9 February 2020. The exhibition explores the ways in which humour and fun were used to spur on both soldiers and people back home before, during and after wartime. Objects, music, posters, art, and testimonials from Oxfordshire people combine to illustrate how some of those who lived through times of conflict still managed to put a smile on their faces.

Further information here.
Talking Maps, a free exhibition at the Bodleian’s Weston Library in Oxford, continues until 8 March 2020. The exhibition includes historic maps of Oxford, amongst them a 19th-century ‘drink map’, a 1934 City Council map showing distances on either side of the infamous Cutteslowe Walls to bus stops and schools, and maps of Thomas Sharp’s post-war plan to redesign the city (above).

Further information here.
Looking for speakers for your local history society, WI, U3A or other group? Don’t forget that OLHA maintains a substantial directory of speakers and tour guides.
Simon Wenham is a well-known and popular speaker on a variety of aspects of Oxfordshire history. He has two new talks for 2020:

Living the Lexicon: James Murray and the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary  (OED) which describes the trials and tribulations behind one of the greatest works of literature in the English language. Compiling the OED was a Herculean task led by the tireless lexicographer James Murray. Simon is pictured above holding a first edition of the first volume of the New English Dictionary (which became known as the OED), standing at the spot at Sunnyside (78 Banbury Road in Oxford) where James Murray had his scriptorium.

Wharfs, wheelhouses and watermen: the history of Hobbs of Henley describes how a family on the river in the 17th century went on to become notable pillars of the establishment. Hobbs is one of the best-known boating businesses on the Thames; members of the family were integral to the fabric of the regatta town, and established a market-leading hospitality company. Simon will be publishing a new book on Hobbs in spring 2020 to mark the firm’s 150th anniversary.

To find out about these and other talks by Simon, and how to contact him, click here.
There are talks on a wide variety of local and national history subjects going on all over the county more or less every weekday. For a detailed daily listing see OLHA’s website. Here is a selection for December:

3rdHook Norton – Philip Powell “The Barber Surgeons”. Baptist Church Hall, Netting Street, 7:30pm.

4thFriends of the Oxfordshire Museum – Jude Barrett “The last supper in Pompeii”. The Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock, 7:30pm.

4th – Otmoor – Alastair Lack “Oxford in Film”. Islip Village Hall, 8:00pm.

5thEynsham John Richards “Eynsham newsreels”. St Leonard’s Church Hall, Thames Street, 7:30pm.

5th – South Stoke – Michael Hurst “Memories of Christmas”. Village Hall, 8:00pm.

6thKirtlington & Bletchington – Tim Healey “A C17th Christmas”. Kirtlington Village Hall, 7:30pm.

6thOxfordshire Gardens Trust – Christmas party followed by Fiona Stafford “The long, long life of trees – and the brief lives of flowers”. Kellogg College, 60-62 Banbury Road, Oxford, 7:00pm.

9th Chipping Norton – Kevin Heritage “Holton Park”. Methodist Church Hall, West Street, 2:00pm.

10thKidlington – Mike Hurst “Old-time Christmas – a light-hearted review of the social history of Christmas”. Willow Tree Cafe, Moorside Place, 7:30pm.

10thOxfordshire Architectural & Historical Association (OAHS) – Malcolm Airs “The Macfarlanes and Dorchester in the 19th century”. Rewley House, Wellington Square, Oxford, 5:30pm.

11th British Modern Military History Society – David Ray “Colditz: Beyond and Behind the Myths”. Woodcote Village Hall, 7:30pm.

12thBanbury – Ewan Fernie “Lost prophets: the unfinished dream of the 19th century”. Banbury Museum, 7:30pm.

12th – Didcot – Social and Didcot reminiscences. Northbourne Centre, High Street, 7:30pm.

13thCharlbury – Neil Pakenham Walsh “A hidden killer: lack of healthcare information in developing countries and what we can do about it”. Memorial Hall, 8:00pm.

16thGoring Gap – Mark Davies “Stories of Oxford Castle: 17th & 18th century crimes, escapes & punishments”. Goring Village Hall, 2:30pm.

16th – Kennington – Tim Healey “A 17th century Christmas”. Methodist Church, Upper Road, 7:45pm.

16thMiddleton Cheney – Kevin Varty “Away with the Fairies: A true and fascinating story”. All Saints Church, 7:30 pm.

17thIffley – Michael Heaney “Percy Manning – The Antiquarian Who Collected Oxfordshire”. Village Hall, 7:30pm.

17thWitney – Tim Healey “A 17th-century Christmas”. High Street Methodist Church, 7:30pm.

19thAbingdon – Richard Dudding “Radley Large Wood: Monks, Deer, Riots, Canal and Bluebells”. Northcourt Centre Hall, Northcourt Road, 7:45pm.

People only have until Tuesday 10 December to contribute to the Museum of Oxford’s new crowdfunding campaign which is gathering support for a future exhibition focusing on life in Oxford’s pubs and breweries. The campaign aims to raise £15,000 by tapping into the city’s love of a good pint and a yarn, and is offering donors exclusive rewards as well as the satisfaction of contributing towards the only museum which tells the story of Oxford and its citizens. Every little drop helps, and donations can be as small as £5.

Get involved here.
Nine new Blue Plaques were unveiled by the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board in 2019, seven in the city and two in the county. These include plaques to Oxford United on the Britannia pub in Headington; the (probably unique) plaque on a Park & Ride waiting room; what is believed to be the first plaque in the UK to feature Chinese lettering (above); and a plaque to Joan Clarke Murray, cryptanalyst, numismatist, and Alan Turing’s fiancée.

A full list with links to the subjects’ fascinating stories can be found here.
Over 1,000 students and former students of Magdalen College, Oxford, served in the First World War. Some of their stories, and that of the college during the war, are told by Richard Sheppard and David Roberts on a new website The Slow Dusk.
Every speaker secretary’s nightmare is that the speaker cancels at short notice or, even worse, doesn’t turn up at all. A good idea for dealing with this eventuality is to have on hand a film which can be shown instead. Britain on Film produces a wide range of DVDs on local history, British history, and what they call ‘British nostalgia’, which are about an hour long and very reasonably-priced.

These DVDs also make good gifts for birthdays, Christmas, or retirement.

Information about relating to Oxfordshire can be found here.
Please note that the Oxfordshire History Centre will be closed on Saturday 7 December and from Tuesday 24 December to Wednesday 1 January 2020 inclusive. The centre will then be closed for stocktaking from Tuesday 28 January to Saturday 8 February inclusive.

The centre apologises for any inconvenience.
Pick any day of the year and something interesting will have happened in Oxfordshire. We’ve had our share of rioting, civil war battles, archaeological discoveries and life-changing inventions. And at the same time ordinary people have struggled through their own dramas. Historian Julie Ann Godson’s new book On this day in Oxfordshire offers daily snapshots of their lives from the 7th century through to modern times.

Copies (£15.99) can be ordered here. (This link also gives access to Julie’s many other Oxfordshire titles.)
A History of Women’s Lives in Oxford by Nell Darby of Oxford Brookes University has recently been published by Pen & Sword. The book  focuses on the period 1850 to 1950 and explores the work Oxford women undertook, their education, their social lives, and their attempts to carve out valuable roles for themselves.

Further information and ordering here.
The King’s Cathedral: The ancient heart of Christ Church, Oxford is the first account of the convent, priory and cathedral for nearly a century. Judith Curthoys - archivist and author of two previous volumes on Christ Church - has drawn widely on scholarly research into the cathedral’s archaeology, architecture and history for her fascinating and accessible new study of this historic building.

Further information and ordering here.
Kidlington and Hampton Poyle 800 will be published by Kidlington with Hampton Poyle PCC in mid-December. This 32-page full-colour souvenir booklet, containing over 80 photographs, is part of celebrations in 2020 to mark 800 years since the building of St Mary’s Church in Kidlington and St Mary’s Church in Hampton Poyle. It covers the history of both villages and gives information about community life today.

Further information and ordering here.
An Iffley Miscellany is the seventeenth publication from the Iffley History Society. The volume contains six short fragments from the history of this ancient village, which will be of interest to visitors and residents alike. Articles include discussion of an unrealised plan to site Oxford’s sewage works here in the 1870s; the story of one of England’s oldest milestones; and why several large ammonites can be found set into walls around the village.

Copies can be obtained from the Iffley History Society.
The OLHA committee wishes all OLHA members and other readers of this e-bulletin a merry Christmas and a happy new year
If you have any items for the next OLHA e-bulletin, please send brief text and low resolution images to Liz Woolley by 24 December.
Copyright © 2019 Liz Woolley, All rights reserved.

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