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We have just witnessed something unprecedented in the history of Oxford:

EMPTY STREETS.

The photographs below were recorded by Stephen Foote – a professional cameraman,
Oxford born and bred – over the course of two April days in 2020.

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There was a remarkable response to Stephen Foote’s gallery of photographs. Several readers sent in their own images of Lockdown, including this superb offering from David Priestman:

Bridge of Sighs
Some readers found the images decidedly ‘eerie’. Several echoed the sentiments expressed below (by an eminent don). It seems that every pandemic has a silver lining.

I’m absolutely loving the lockdown and am cycling through town every day. Oxford is so bloody beautiful with empty streets, no students and no tourists. It reminds me of the old days, staggering home at 5 am.

Other readers found news ways to get exercise – and make friends.

It was in the second week of lockdown. I had been swimming throughout the winter on Port Meadow. That week I had an urge to swim upriver, so I set off by myself with just a rucksack to put my swimming and drawing things in. I met this impasse: a goose on the path to King’s Lock. I felt so free, leaving the city behind me and the worries of the virus.

Going past the lock you reach a weir and the landscape feels as though it has been untouched for a long time. I was looking for a place to swim when I came across a little stone memorial to an angler, hidden in the long grass. I dared to swim by myself in the river. It was cold and clear and completely solitary. Afterwards, I spent some time drawing, then came back across the meadow. The goose was still on the path, and just gave me a cursory glance before settling back to rest her beak in her feathers.  Miranda Creswell

Goose
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