B is for Bodley

In 2015 the New Bodleian Library reopened to the public after a four year make-over. Redesigned, reshaped, and renamed, it is now known as The Weston Library in honour of its major benefactor. The metamorphosis (by architects Wilkinson Eyre) has been spectacular. In the words of one ecstatic reviewer the dreary ... CONTINUE READING

The Lincoln Imp(s)

It's amazing what you can see in Oxford if you look up. A globe bobbling over the dome of the Radcliffe Observatory. A giant figure staring out across the roof of Blackwell’s Art and Poster shop. Tiny people dotted around the tower of St Mary the Virgin. A cycling don on the Harris Manchester weathervane. ... CONTINUE READING

‘Tis the Season!

Online Onward and Oxford! Morris Oxford is a 100% non-profit organisation. All sales proceeds go to the Morris Oxford Verdant Green Fund – ‘Dedicated to the beautification of our brilliant city through the planting of trees and wildflowers.’ * * * Here’s a sneak preview: Read

The Gaffer’s Desk

Welcome, booklovers, to the inner sanctum! Basil Blackwell’s very own office. The room the ‘Gaffer’ (1889-1984) made his home for so many years. The hub, the heart, the epicentre of a book business that grew to be one of the biggest in the world. Behold: the bakelite telephone connecting him to an ever-expanding network of shop managers around the ... CONTINUE READING

John Bigg’s Other Shoe

This month’s story was supposed to have been about the ruined abbey of Godstow, but the response to Bradshaw’s Hat has been so rich and so interesting that we feel compelled to postpone the Dissolution for a while. Martin Sheppard, distinguished publisher of History books, got straight to the point with a reminder of the semiotics of millinery in the ... CONTINUE READING

A Little More Allotment

Mrs Thatcher was not a friend of allotments, despite (or perhaps because of) being a grocer’s daughter from the famously potato-growing county of Lincolnshire. In July 1980 her government attempted to repeal Section 8 of the 1925 Act. Had she succeeded it would have meant abolition of the last remaining safeguards against local authorities wishing to dispose of ... CONTINUE READING

Allotments

The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Oxford, Mrs E F M Standingford, couldn’t quite believe her eyes as she stepped decorously through the gates of Osney, St Thomas and New Botley allotments, one warm August afternoon in 1986. Patiently waiting for her on the other side was Mr Trevor Green, and beside him a pumpkin of gargantuan proportions. Over ... CONTINUE READING

Swing Bridge

Once it was pivotal. Now, ivy-clad and rusting, it tells of an era long since past. Yet still it retains a grandeur and a fascination, like the mouldering carcass of some giant metal dinosaur. It’s a railway swing bridge. It dates from 1851. It was designed by none other than Robert Stephenson, son of George 'The 'Rocket'. And ... CONTINUE READING