Here we look at some Oxford Mail archive photos from 1978.

It was the year when the one millionth Marina came off the line at the Pressed Steel Fisher plant, and the last ever house in St Ebbes was demolished, marking the end of an era.

Oxford Mail:

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

Read again: Memories of St Ebbes still live on

The Urbansuburban heritage project in 2016 and 2017 preserved precious memories.

Oxford Mail:

The Urbansuburban book, researched by historian Rachel Barbaresi, is full of colour photographs and stories of the neighbourhood.

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.

Oxford Mail:

Read again: How Oxford station expansion will boost the city

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

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."

Ms 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.

Oxford Mail:

"It is true there were 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."

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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