History of Oxford Road
(CWN Sept. 16, 1982)
The enclosure award of 1840 had allotted what later became Oxford Road to a man named Myles Custance. By 1888 Custance’s estate had been acquired by the Home Counties Land Investment Company, and Oxford, Richmond and Halifax roads and the part of Huntingdon Road at the top were known as the Huntingdon Road estate in the parish of Chesterton. the roads were divided intonplots and sold by auction at the Lion Hotel, Petty Cury, on April 18 1888. oxford Road was divided into 188 plots. There were certain conditions of sale. One was that no house was to be built at a value of less than £150. It was a middle class estate.
Other conditions prevented certain occupations, pubs, circuses, swings or roundabouts.
There were only three private gardens and some cowsheds
Building was well under way:
Camden House: James Carpenter
Victoria House: Harriet Thompson.
In 1982 (CWN Sep 16) Agnes Newling reminisced about Oxford Road in the early days: In my early days Oxford Road was a quiet cul-de-sac with a cornfield across the bottom and grass where we children could play. Unfortunately a man kept some goats tethered there and if we got too near them they would lower their heads and butt us over. Most of the lower half of the road was gardens and orchards, and Fitzwilliam playing field was pasture with cows on it. Fitzwilliam House [College] used to pay us children 1/2d a bucket for daffodil bulbs when they wanted us to clear the field.
Another thing which gave us pleasure was the organ gronder playing his tunes. he had a little monkey in a red coat on his shoulder. If we took him a copper he would let us turn the handle. Sometimes a man came along leading a big brown bear on a chain walking on its hind legs. We all laughed when a woman living opposite us came out of her door to look. When she saw the bear she screamed and threw her apron over her head and dashed indoors.
Then there was the muffin man, ringing his bell and carrying a tray of muffins on his head covered with a green baize cloth. Another man came with a handcart collecting jam jars in exchange for a paper windmill. One street lamp lighter who came round in the evening was sometimes a little worse for drink, and it amused us to watch hm trying to push his pole in the opening to light the lamp. Sometimes he missed it altogether. In the summer the water cart came round spraying water on the road to lay the dust……..
Oxford Road was the terminus for the horse drawn bus from the town. the fare was one penny. During the winter of Castle Hill was slippery the bus went round St Peter’s Street which was not such a steep incline. Later we had the nice green Ortona buses.