The History of Oxford Waterside


An estate of houses which was only completed in 1999 does not have much of a history. Waterside does, however, sit in a context with a long history of its own which may be of interest to those live here now.

A map of 1887 shows an area of small fields lying between the Oxford Canal (finished in 1790) and the railway which pushed north from Oxford in 1846.

To the south lies Walton Well Road which was newly built on when this map was made. The Lucy Works (so called from 1873) spread northwards across Walton Well Road in the 19th century. Those from the City side of the canal who complain about the building of Waterside are presumably incomers who do not recall the noise of scrap metal being pushed around the concrete yard at the south end of what is now Waterside. The north end, by Aristotle Lane, was Lucy's playing field.

Aristotle Lane played its part in history on 3 June 1644 when Charles I came that way with (it was said) 5,000 men, making a strategic withdrawal across Port Meadow and the river from what had been his temporary capital.

T E Lawrence also passed this way from his boyhood home in Polstead Road on his way to dig in the mounds on Port Meadow.

As you reach the top of the slope to the railway footbridge, look down to your right. Until 1926 there was a railway stop there called Port Meadow Halt.

The site was bought from Lucy's by Berkeley Homes and developed between 1996 and 1999.