Nostalgia

The demolition of the old Lucy’s factory in Jericho is well underway, to make room for more of the kind of houses that you can see in the second picture (or over here). These photos aren’t very good – the light was poor, and the battery in my camera was dying – but I wanted to make sure I got some pictures before the shell of the building gets knocked down, which I suppose may be any day now.

Zeitgeist

The press tells me that cricket-mania is sweeping the country, and I now have a datapoint of my own to prove it. This morning, for the first time, I’ve heard several cries of “LBW!” coming from one of the gardens just down the road from us — and, weirdo that I am, I find myself wondering whether the ball might just have pitched outside Channel Four’s “red zone” on the leg-side. I should have thought that the gardens round here were too small for a good game of cricket, but I think the people playing are quite small, too, so that may make a difference.

(I also found myself explaining in some detail the rules about substitute fielders the other day. That’s not a regular feature of life, either.)

What’s Happening Just Round the Corner

From today’s Oxford Mail (though I don’t think the link will last for long), and with added hyperlinks:

Protesters take over boatyard
by Andrew Ffrench

Protesters have occupied a boatyard in Jericho, Oxford, in a bid to prevent the site becoming a new housing development.

Steve Goodlad, 40, ran the Alchemy Boats repair business at Castle Mill boatyard until Friday (July 29) when he agreed to leave the site.

Mr Goodlad did not want to leave the yard, but finally agreed to do so after owners British Waterways agreed to lease him a new site north of the Pear Tree roundabout near Yarnton.

But when he left the yard on Friday (July 29), protesters moved in and pledged to stay until the outcome of a public inquiry over plans for 46 new flats next to the canal.

Mr Goodlad said: “I handed over vacant possession of the site to British Waterways, signed all the paperwork and made sure about 20 boats were cleared from the wharf. But the next thing I knew half a dozen other boats turned up with some people who announced they were occupying the site. I am pleased I have been able to reach an agreement regarding a new site but I do have some sympathy with the protesters.”

Matt Morton, 33, of Walton Well Road, Jericho, who is leading the protest, said: “We will continue to occupy it until we get legal approval that boatbuilding can continue here. British Waterways know that people from the boating community are not the easiest people to get tough with. A lot of boaters have spent their life being pushed from pillar to post and this time they are resolute that they won’t be pushed around. We are anticipating a visit from British Waterways staff in the near future — which should be interesting.”

Mr Morton added that protesters were setting up a website to coordinate their campaign and to update supporters.

There was large-scale opposition to the closure of the boatyard when it was announced earlier this year and opponents to the housing plans include children’s writer Philip Pullman.

Chris Stanley, a spokesman for British Waterways, said: “They have been making their feelings known in a peaceful manner. We will be monitoring the situation.”

Building plans depend on the outcome of a public inquiry held in April and the inspector has not yet announced his decision.

British Waterways has offered boaters who were living on site help to find new moorings.

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who likes this development. It’s not just the boatyard, it’s also that there’s not enough affordable housing proposed, the worry that highish-rise building will spoil views of St Barnabas church tower, and the lack of adequate space for a new community centre, and, no doubt, other things, too. Not many people like British Waterways much round here.

More OxBlogs

It’s not just the Labour councillors in this town who scribble on blogs. Local Green councillor Matt Sellwood’s got a blog, too, and he writes, with reference to what’s going on just around the corner from where I live:

On that note, I am also getting up at the crack of dawn tomorrow [Monday] to go down to the old Lucy’s Factory site, where British Waterways have been stopped from evicting the boatyard by squatters. Contrary to the typical (and false) image of squatters as people who move in and trash a place, the squatting community in Oxford attempts to defend absolutely crucial community facilities like the boatyard (without which, most of the boating community in oxford would lose their affordable homes) and deserve wholehearted support…

Read more about this kind of thing, and other kind of things, over here.

Nostalgia

Mark Kaplan’s been having reveries about Oxford’s Jericho, the area of town I moved to about a month ago, in particular about Nellie’s delicatessen, which used to be there, but which isn’t any more.

And in one of those extraordinary coincidences, I first learned about the (non-)existence of this place earlier this week, when a colleague stopped to chat on the way into town, and when the subject of living in Jericho came up asked me whether a certain delicatessan was still around, and so on, and so forth.

Jericho’s an interesting part of town. I’ve linked before to this splendid site on Oxford suburbs, which has a wealth of information about the area; and I also spent half an hour or so last week browsing these pages, which are full of good things, including a splendid aerial photo section.

The first ever episode of Inspector Morse was filmed there, too, with a splendid performance from ex-Dr. Who Patrick Troughton playing the local resident weirdo.