Oxford's 'most attractive' estate marks its 50th anniversary

Nick Jackson, one of the organisers of the anniversary celebrations

Oxford's 'most attractive' estate marks its 50th anniversary

Oxford's 'most attractive' estate marks its 50th anniversary

First published in News

COMMONLY thought of as the “most attractive of Oxford’s council-built estates”, Northway in Headington marks its golden anniversary today.

Residents past and present will gather for a two-day festival celebrating its past, and looking forward to an even better future.

Building of the Northway estate started 50 years ago, to provide homes for the county’s growing number of families.

Five hundred and seventy homes, shops, a church and community centre all sprang up along with Oxford’s first tower block, Plowman Tower.

This weekend, many of those early settlers, along with their later generations who have moved into Northway since, will gather to celebrate the estate, with a special reminiscences exhibition, a concert, a barbecue and a family sports day.

One of the event’s organisers, Nick Jackson, 38, explained: “The main thing you notice about Northway, is it seems to have a sense of community.

“People know each other and say hello on the street. There is a sense of peace and contentment here.

“Indeed, when I went door-to-door collecting people’s thoughts on the estate, the most common terms people came up with were, ‘quiet’, ‘friendly’ and ‘a lovely place to live’.

“We also collected some anecdotes, photos and memorabilia, particularly from those who have lived here since the estate was built. They told us about the Silver Jubilee parties, the building of the shops and of children playing on the grass.”

Former Oxford United footballer Cyril Beavon, now 73, has lived in Plowman Tower with his wife Jean for 40 years.

He said: “Back in the 60s and 70s footballers didn’t get the kind of money they do today, so when I finished playing for Oxford United – after 11 seasons – my wife and I put our names on the council waiting list.

“When we got the flat here they were about three years old and the place was like a hotel. In fact, people were giving up three bed houses for a flat here.

“Most of the families were about our age and had young children – we had two boys, including Stuart who went on to play for Tottenham Hotspur.

“It was lovely place to live. We would have drinks with our neighbours on the roof each week and even when I got an offer to manage Telford in the Midlands, we decided to stay here because we liked it so much.”

The idea of celebrating the Northway’s Golden Anniversary came about when people from Headington Baptist Church got together with people from Northway Evangelical Church.

Mr Jackson explained: “There is such a sense of belonging and history here, it should be celebrated, and in doing that, we could strengthen the sense of community even more.

“We hope this celebration will lead to an annual festival.”

As well as old photos, people have given their images of the Plowman Tower, their Silver jubilee photos and video diaries have also been filmed of people from the estate.

And children from New Marston Primary School in Copse Lane have given their thoughts to the exhibition – and will be taking part in the Old School Sports Day on Northway Sports Field on Sunday and the weekend’s concert and talent show.

Mr Jackson said: “There’s a lot to celebrate about life in Northway and we are looking forward to a great weekend followed by more celebrations in the future.”

“I love Northway and will live here until they carry me out in a box!”

Malcolm Baughan, 57, still lives in the same house in Gouldlands Gardens that his parents moved into when he was a newborn. Mr Baughan, right, who is Oxford City Council’s abandoned vehicles officer, said: “Our house had no heating except a fire in the front room and a boiler in the kitchen, but we loved it. “Growing up we had fields all around us, it was a like a giant playground. “I was the middle of five children and some of us would sneak into Plowman Tower when it was going up, to see what it was like.” Mr Baughan met his childhood sweetheart Jennifer Horwood at Northway Secondary Modern. They married and had three children and, while they are divorced, they are still friends and live close to each other. He said: “I love Northway and will live here until they carry me out in a box!”

"I will always feel attached to Northway, it is that kind of place"

PETER Dean, now 72 and a grandfather of 10, opened the estate’s first pharmacy ‘proper’ in ‘the parade’ in 1962. He said: “I came fresh out of university and took over from my parents, who had been running a drug store in the shop. I worked in conjunction with the surgery, which was only part-time in Northway, so I was relied on quite a lot by local people for help on medical matters.” Mr Dean, pictured above with current pharmacist Kate Lillee, added: “When I started I served young mums with their babies in prams and by the time I left, I was serving some of those babies with their babies! “In the early days people were still using products like Fynnon’s Salts, which were said to keep your system clean and prevent rheumatism. A little later came the oral contraceptive pill and an increase in childhood inoculations and people always wanted my advice. Looking back it was lovely to be part of such a close community and I remember the doughnuts from Berry’s Baker with particular fondness! I’m also very pleased to be part of the group organising the golden anniversary celebrations. “My family and I moved out to Holton near Wheatley in my later years, but I will always feel attached to Northway. It is that kind of place.”

Comments (13)

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9:39am Sat 9 Jul 11

Gungy23 says...

Attractive! Really??????
Attractive! Really?????? Gungy23
  • Score: 0

11:56am Sat 9 Jul 11

grumpyofwhitecross says...

According to my dad, we moved in in 1958. That's more than 50 years ago if my maths are correct. Lets have it right please. Where did they get their information from ?
According to my dad, we moved in in 1958. That's more than 50 years ago if my maths are correct. Lets have it right please. Where did they get their information from ? grumpyofwhitecross
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Sat 9 Jul 11

Sid Hunt says...

I believe it is 50 since a church was built on Northway and that is the anniversary. I know someone who moved on to the estate is 1951 - 60 years ago.
I believe it is 50 since a church was built on Northway and that is the anniversary. I know someone who moved on to the estate is 1951 - 60 years ago. Sid Hunt
  • Score: 0

5:06pm Sat 9 Jul 11

articfox7 says...

We moved from Slade Camp to Meaden Hill, Northway Estate in 1950 when i was 9months old.Thats 61 years ago My family have pictures of us celebrating the Queens Coronation in the street. I believe the Plowmans Tower was built in the early sixty's as i was attending Northway Secondary School and remember it being built at that time.
We moved from Slade Camp to Meaden Hill, Northway Estate in 1950 when i was 9months old.Thats 61 years ago My family have pictures of us celebrating the Queens Coronation in the street. I believe the Plowmans Tower was built in the early sixty's as i was attending Northway Secondary School and remember it being built at that time. articfox7
  • Score: 0

11:01pm Sat 9 Jul 11

cecantena says...

We moved into Upway Road in April 1951 and I immediately started at New Marston Primary School. We, too, celebrated the Coronation with a street party. To this day, I vividly remember my dad, Cecil Wood, dressing up as 'Old Mother Riley'!
We lived on Northway until moving to the Isle of Wight in 1976. I have nothing but fond memories of living on the Estate. (Tony Wood - Shanklin)
We moved into Upway Road in April 1951 and I immediately started at New Marston Primary School. We, too, celebrated the Coronation with a street party. To this day, I vividly remember my dad, Cecil Wood, dressing up as 'Old Mother Riley'! We lived on Northway until moving to the Isle of Wight in 1976. I have nothing but fond memories of living on the Estate. (Tony Wood - Shanklin) cecantena
  • Score: 0

2:56am Sun 10 Jul 11

Lord Peter Macvay says...

Malcolm Baughan, 57, still lives in the same house in Gouldlands Gardens that his parents moved into when he was a newborn...........

Obviously the "reporter" didn't read his own copy before sending it to print.
Malcolm Baughan, 57, still lives in the same house in Gouldlands Gardens that his parents moved into when he was a newborn........... Obviously the "reporter" didn't read his own copy before sending it to print. Lord Peter Macvay
  • Score: 0

9:18am Sun 10 Jul 11

articfox7 says...

I think there is some confusion here between Northway near Barton Estate and Northway Estate Headington .As far as I can remember there was never a church built on Northway Estate. This is baffling me, can someone please clarify the facts
I think there is some confusion here between Northway near Barton Estate and Northway Estate Headington .As far as I can remember there was never a church built on Northway Estate. This is baffling me, can someone please clarify the facts articfox7
  • Score: 0

10:34am Sun 10 Jul 11

Rhydychen says...

We moved to Borrowmead Road, Northway Estate from Wood Farm Camp in August, 1955, somewhat more than 50 years ago. I was 7. Shortly after arriving, I remember attending the opening ceremony of the Cavalier, now sadly defunct, which was performed by the then Mayor of Oxford. Neither Northway Secondary Modern School nor the shopa had been built and the site of Plowman Tower was used as a rudimentary car park.
As for arcticfox7's query about the church, Northway Church was built in Sutton Road, facing Aylesworth Grove, in the 60's. It was a non-conformist church then, if I remember aright.
We moved to Borrowmead Road, Northway Estate from Wood Farm Camp in August, 1955, somewhat more than 50 years ago. I was 7. Shortly after arriving, I remember attending the opening ceremony of the Cavalier, now sadly defunct, which was performed by the then Mayor of Oxford. Neither Northway Secondary Modern School nor the shopa had been built and the site of Plowman Tower was used as a rudimentary car park. As for arcticfox7's query about the church, Northway Church was built in Sutton Road, facing Aylesworth Grove, in the 60's. It was a non-conformist church then, if I remember aright. Rhydychen
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Sun 10 Jul 11

aargh2 says...

Yes Northway Estate is older than 50 years. My family moved there when I was about 3 months old and I am nearly 61 now!
The church moved from it's previous location in Headley Way to Sutton Road (behind Plowman's Tower), I would guess, 50 years ago and it must be this that is being celebrated.
Yes Northway Estate is older than 50 years. My family moved there when I was about 3 months old and I am nearly 61 now! The church moved from it's previous location in Headley Way to Sutton Road (behind Plowman's Tower), I would guess, 50 years ago and it must be this that is being celebrated. aargh2
  • Score: 0

12:31am Mon 11 Jul 11

Linda-Oz says...

I remember my family moving in to Grunsell Close in September 1956. The Westlands Drive shops were well and truly established and the secondary school was there. I also remember being served by Peter Dean's father and remember Peter himself taking over at the pharmacy.
It would be nice to know exactly when the estate was built, as there is definitely some mistake with this story.
Thanks Oxford Mail for providing me with on-going news from all my "Old Haunts" Linda-Oz
I remember my family moving in to Grunsell Close in September 1956. The Westlands Drive shops were well and truly established and the secondary school was there. I also remember being served by Peter Dean's father and remember Peter himself taking over at the pharmacy. It would be nice to know exactly when the estate was built, as there is definitely some mistake with this story. Thanks Oxford Mail for providing me with on-going news from all my "Old Haunts" Linda-Oz Linda-Oz
  • Score: 0

11:08am Mon 11 Jul 11

aargh2 says...

I don't know about the shops being well established in '56. I remember the buildning site I passed on my way home from school which would have been when I was about 7 or 8. Prior to this I remember regularly walking to Headington to shop with my mother and buying bread from Berry's in Old Headington.
I would also chalenge the "Oxford’s first tower block" claim. Was the Wood Farm tower(s) not built before Plowman's. I played football with my mates on the Plowman's site which I think would have been late 50's or even early 60's.
I don't know about the shops being well established in '56. I remember the buildning site I passed on my way home from school which would have been when I was about 7 or 8. Prior to this I remember regularly walking to Headington to shop with my mother and buying bread from Berry's in Old Headington. I would also chalenge the "Oxford’s first tower block" claim. Was the Wood Farm tower(s) not built before Plowman's. I played football with my mates on the Plowman's site which I think would have been late 50's or even early 60's. aargh2
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Mon 11 Jul 11

Helen2011 says...

As a relatively "new" on Northway estate (having lived here for 15 years), I must say I love it and am disappointed we are not being sufficienlty consulted about the changes in relation to the Barton Area Action Plan which will change the face of some of the key areas we value
As a relatively "new" on Northway estate (having lived here for 15 years), I must say I love it and am disappointed we are not being sufficienlty consulted about the changes in relation to the Barton Area Action Plan which will change the face of some of the key areas we value Helen2011
  • Score: 0

10:21am Sat 16 Jul 11

SNJ says...

Oxford Mail: you have published a correction in your printed edition, saying that there is an error in your article and it is the church and not the estate which is 50 years old.

The newspaper is already in the recycling bin: shouldn't you also print such corrections as a preamble to the online articles, which are on view indefinitely?
Oxford Mail: you have published a correction in your printed edition, saying that there is an error in your article and it is the church and not the estate which is 50 years old. The newspaper is already in the recycling bin: shouldn't you also print such corrections as a preamble to the online articles, which are on view indefinitely? SNJ
  • Score: 0

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