North Oxford

Tanis Hinchcliffe

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Out of Print

North Oxford is perhaps the best known and most widely admired Victorian suburb in Britain. Developed by St. John's College in the years after 1850 to provide accommodation for the rapidly expanding middle class in the city, the North Oxford estate was also a highly successful speculative development of farmland into urban fabric and is one of the main reasons why St. John's is one of Oxford University's wealthiest colleges.
 
In the first full-scale study of St. John's North Oxford estate, Tanis the provides a lively and authoritative social and architectural history of this landmark area. thethe examines the distinctive and picturesque architecture of the North Oxford homes, which were designed by some of the leading architects of the Victorian eraJ. J. Stevenson, R. W. Edis, T. E. Collcutt, and others—as well as by lesser-known but important local architects. She describes the complex network of developers, builders, and financiers that was necessary to bring the estate into being, and tells of the college's struggles to ensure its quality in the face of financial collapses and the vicissitudes of the local housing market. And she looks at the inhabitants of the estate, members of the professional middle class whose social, religious, and educational views did not always necessarily fit into the traditional life of the Oxford colleges. Continuing her study up until 1970, Hinchcliffe also provides some interesting observations on the fate of Victorian suburbs and the efforts that have been made to maintain their character over time.
 
Generously illustrated with contemporary and modern photographs and with building plans, this book should be read by anyone interested in Oxford and its environs, or in the architectural or social history of Victorian England.

"This publication does much to set the area in its proper context as a historic district worthy of protection."—Kenneth Powell, Country Life

"One of the glories of this book is its illustrations, with meticulously redrawn floor plans showing the different styles of houses."—Sally Dugan, The Oxford Times

"A helpful historical guide to the area."—Alan Bell, Oxford Today

"[An] important study of suburban history. . . . the generous provision of one hundred black and white and coloured illustrations makes it a pleasure to behold."—J.R.L. Highfield, Planning Perspectives

"Tanis Hinchcliffe has provided a fascinating, carefully researched and . . . ambitious account of North Oxford. . . . She weaves together . . . the purposes of the landlord, social, and economic forces in Oxford at the time, patterns of architectural taste in the suburb, and characteristic institutions. . . . Such a multi-disciplinary approach is welcome."—Alan Crawford, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain

"[A] well-researched book. . . . Census returns and college records give fascinating insights into Victorian life and urban development. In today's debate about urban architecture, this book shows what can be done by those who care for their environment."—James Munson, Country Life

"Tanis Hinchcliffe's book is fundamentally a piece of private estate history, which is unusually well executed, produced and illustrated. . . . It deals with the finances, demography and sociology of the estate as meticulously as the architecture."—Andrew Saint, Architects Journal

"Well-researched and attractively written. . . . Although primarily for students of architecture and city planning, this study does provide us with a look at a part of Oxford too often neglected and of genuine interest to those who are curious about Oxford beyond its golden walls and to readers interested in the formation and growth of a fascinating suburb."—Allyson F. McGill, Victorian Studies

Winner of the 1992 Sir Banister Fletcher Award
ISBN: 9780300051841
Publication Date: June 24, 1992
262 pages, 8 x 10
80 b/w + 20 color illus.