Oxford Cockaigne

Oxford Local History Pages - The Cutteslowe Walls

This page is still under construction.


This information on the Cutteslowe Walls is taken from: The Cutteslowe Walls a study in social class by Peter Collison published by Faber and Faber in 1963 together with additional material from reports in the Oxford Mail and Oxford Times and from The Politics Of The Production Line by Arthur Exell A History Workshp Journal pamphlet published in 1981.

In 1934, the Urban Housing Estate which had built private housing on land purchased from the Council constructed a wall across two roads to prevent the Council House tenants living on the other side from being able to use them to reach the main road. The "Cutteslowe Wall" was not demolished until 1959.


1925-34 Construction of the Estates and the Walls

March 1935 Two undergraduates: David Wallace and John Bayley charged before City Magistrates for attempting to demolish the walls. The case against them is dismissed on payment of 4 shillings costs and 15 shillings and ninepence for the cost of repairing the wall.

29th April "Massive" meeting at Town Hall chaired by Patrick Gordon-Walker with Cutteslowe Tenants Trust Chairman, Mr Hathaway and the Florence Park Tenants' Committee on the platform. Tenants of both housing estates marched to Town Hall and heard Abe Lazarus declare that since Sir Stafford Cripps had told him that the walls were illegal they would be smashed down on May 11th.

Saturday 11th May 1935 Demonstration against the Walls

Legal Challenges to the Walls

July 1936 Public Inquiry

2nd August 1936 Car driven into the Wall in Carlton Rd - Wall demolished but quickly rebuilt.

November 1936 Minister Turns Down Compulsory Purchase Order.

December 1936 Councillor Gibbs proposes special Parliamentary Bill

January 1937 Council considers construction of alternative footpath

April 1937 Councillor Gibbs proposes footpath scheme "ultra vires"

May 1937 Tyldesley Jones unfavourable opinion on special Parliamentary Bill. Tydesley Jones falls ill.

July 1937 Sir Stafford Cripps writes opinion on special Parliamentary Bill

September 1937 Council writes to Company declaring walls must be removed within 21 days

November 1937 Mr Wilfred Hunt provides Parliamentary Committee with opinion on Mental Health Act

7 February 1938 Resolution adopting Private Street Works Act passed by Council

31 March 1938 Private Street Works Act becomes effective

May 1938 Council declares all roads on Urban Housing Estate repairable by the public at large

7 June 1938 Parliamentary Committee instructs City Engineer to remove the walls. Walls demolished

8? June 1938 Company attempts to rebuild walls and Corporation knocks them down again

Cutteslowe Walls - temporary gates

Workmen erecting temporary gates after the demolition of Cutteslowe Walls

17 June 1938 Company applies for injunction and both sides agree to moveable barriers until matter is settled in High Court.

June 1938 Large Gates erected by Corporation

20 July 1939-24? July 1939 High Court Hearing (finds in Company's favour)

end of July 1939? Walls reconstructed

3 September 1939 Start of Second World War

18 September 1939 Councillor Gibbbs asks if walls can be removed if they become impregnated with poison gas

26 October 1939 Corporation's appeal against High Court Ruling (rejected and permission to appeal to House of Lords refused)

4 December 1939 City Council accepts recommendation to include provision for removing walls in City's town planning scheme.

December 1940 Head Air-Raid Precautions Warden for Summertown raises the issue of the walls

March 1941 Company refuses to take down walls under powers of Defence Regulation

end of August 1941 Ministry of Home Security agrees to visit walls

September 1941 Inspector General visits walls and concludes they are only a slight inconvenience

October 1942 Councillor Gibbs dies

30-31 January 1943 Large scale invasion exercise takes place in Oxford.
Tank demolishes Aldrich Road wall in mock street fighting on Sunday 31st January

3 February 1943 War Office agrees to bear cost of rebuilding

1947 Government introduces new town planning legislation

1949 Urban Housing Company sells all its property

1953 City's development plan published including compulsory purchase of 9 inch strips of land containing the walls
Residents of Urban Housing Estate (most now owner-occupiers) raise objections to the compulsory purchase.

August 1955 Minister approves cumpulsory purchase

November 1956 Council traces owner of walls

February 1957 Wendholm Ltd (owner of walls) agrees to sell voluntarily

Date not yet identified Wendholm registers land with Land Registry after raising concern over whether land belongs to them or Mr Barton

Cutteslowe Walls - demolished children walking through
Monday 9th March 1959 Walls Demolished One householder chooses to keep the part of the wall in his garden in Wentworth Road.