Post by Katy Jennison Post by Paul Wolff Post by Peter T. Daniels Post by Katy Jennison
Lunch, probably at 2pm, probably at Quod (walking distance from Weston
Library), on Wednesday 17 July: who's coming? We ought to book the
restaurant this week.
(To recap: his talk is at 1.00, tickets (free) obtainable via the
Well, well, well. The pedestrian route from Oxford Station to the
Weston Library will take me directly past the door of the (then) slum
where my grandmother and her siblings lived, on Hythe Bridge Street.
And of which, thanks to my then to-be grandfather, I have photos. I'm
chuffed to bits.
I imagine it will have changed.
Though there's nothing in those four pix of your ancestors to
On the usage of 'slum': I can't think of any town in Britain now
that has slums, as they used to be when slums were really slums. Soon
there won't be anyone left who remembers them from personal
experience. And I'd be hard put to it to come up with a good
definition of a slum. The OED (Shorter) says "An overcrowded district
of a town or city, having squalid housing conditions and inhabited by
very poor people; a street situated in such a district (freq. in
pl.). Also transf., a house materially unfit for human habitation.
In the photos, the road to the left before the bridge is Upper
Fisher Row, and some of the terrace houses down there could have been
at home in a slum, I think.
The width of a street is not necessarily an indicator. Areas which
were originally built for and inhabited by the better-off sometimes
later became slums. Overcrowding is a salient characteristic, but also
the drainage system or lack of. Rivers and streams are lovely things
to live next to if they're bordered by trees and full of fish, but not
so much after someone upstream has built a factory or a row of houses
discharging into the river.
In the case of Hythe Bridge Street, though, it was this wide not
because it was originally for the rich but because it was where boats
and barges (on the Oxford canal) were loaded and unloaded. Hythe =
wharf. The buildings were warehouses, with dwelling-places above them.
As far as I can remember, the Oxford Canal terminates there. The bridge
crosses not the canal but a mill stream. The Thames/Isis splits into
many streams at Oxford.
the London to Bath road crosses the Thames, was formerly Maidenhythe.
Oh, and I'll be a definite for the lunch. No disrespect to the speaker,
enthusiastic about ancient writing systems. I hope PTD's talk goes well,
whether or not I make it there.