St Ebbes was once a busy neighbourhood in Oxford but homes were torn down in the 1960s to make way for the Westgate Centre.

But the community is not forgotten, thanks to the Urbansuburban history project in 2016, and a second project the following year.

While the area was referred to as the 'slums of Oxford' by some, its residents angrily refuted this title.

The Urbansuburban book, researched by historian Rachel Barbaresi, is bursting with colour photographs and real stories of the neighbourhood of St Ebbes, torn down in the 1960s to make way for the Westgate shopping centre.

Oxford Mail:

St Ebbes in 1954

Dozens of former residents contributed pictures and memories and joined a launch party at Oxford Town Hall.

One of them was Lois East who grew up in St Ebbes and revealed she did not have a bathroom.

She recalled going to the public baths in Paradise Square just to wash.

"You would sit in the tub and shout 'more hot!' and 'more cold!' to the people outside," she said.

Some of the homes in St Ebbes were controversially referred to as 'the slums of Oxford'.

Oxford Mail:

Rachel Barbaresi

Janice Stewart, who grew up in Bridport Street with her sister Diane, added: "It wasn't a slum until they moved everyone out – it wasn't even rundown.

"Slums to me are filthy, but St Ebbes people looked after each other.

"They were all council houses but my dad was always painting and decorating."

Oxford Mail:

The Urbansuburban project

Rachel Barbaresi, who created and led Urbansuburban, said the slum image may have been perpetuated to justify demolishing St Ebbes.

She said in 2016: "I think it still raises a lot of emotions for people around how it was perceived at the time.

"It is true there were historic problems with sanitation but those had been remedied by the 1900s.

"What really came out from talking to people was how hard everyone in St Ebbes worked, and the pride they took in their homes."

Oxford Mail:

Former St Ebbes resident Gill Williams

Gill Williams said she still brushed her front doorstep every morning, a habit she picked up from growing up in St Ebbes.

A copy of the Urbansurburban book can be seen at the Museum of Oxford.

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