Jericho Open Door

There is this little old lady who lives opposite us who always feeds the pigeons very early in the morning She comes out with her enamel bowl and scatters a great pile of bread all over the gutter and the pigeons dive down and gobble it up We thought it would make a nice opening sequence so we all got up at 6.30 and there we were standing around making snowballs and waiting and waiting and the pigeons were waiting and we were waiting Every morning the pigeons wait for Miss Bennet to feed them they sit on her roof up there They start flying in about seven o’clock They’ve been sitting there for half an hour they must be frozen I don’t think she’s going to feed them today, it’s the snow it’s put her off or something What do you think Luce? I think we’re going to have to leave it Yeah They certainly look very cold I think they would rather need some food today, I should have thought (Pigeons cooing..) In the distance are Oxford’s dreaming spires Although they’re so close, some of the college people don’t even know Jericho exists, except as a place that servants came from …and retired to It looks like many old working-class areas little two-up two-down terraced houses front doors on the streets The big building in the middle distance, is the Oxford University Press In fact ‘The Press’ as Jericho people call it, built much of Jericho to house its workers during the last century The press forms the boundary on that side together with Worcester College Gardens all grace and favor lawns with trees leading down to the canal The church, right in the middle of the bottom edge of Jericho, is an incredible neo Ravenna affair It doesn’t really seem to belong to this community, maybe partly because it’s in the living of Keble On the far side of the canal is the station Lots of railway people used to live in Jericho and come home by ferry across the canal the second of Jericho’s boundaries There’s not much traffic on it The coal wharf is quite gone, so is the ferry There’s just the pleasure boats now One of the nice things about living in Jericho, is that you can cross the canal by the new footbridge and in a few minutes you’re over the railway line and into Port Meadow and into the countryside You just walk down the tow path opposite the Lucy factory and you’re there W. Lucy & Company built the factory in 1815 It’s a foundry and many Jericho people worked there through both world wars The factory forms the third closed boundary to Jericho It has a strange alien atmosphere, half decayed, echoes from the past are all around Perhaps because, there’s a cemetery right in the very heart The factory buildings surround the graveyard The tombstones seem to crowd together inside The headstones are very grand for Jericho people, but then, death used to be much more important in the old days Those people were honoured in death, even though their relations had to go without to afford a proper burial The foundry bought the cemetery a few years back, so after a hundred years or so It’ll all be covered in offices in factories I suppose Although from the graveyard that great L-shaped building looks derelict and silent, It’s actually the reverse, the company’s doing fine But it doesn’t employ so many Jericho people nowadays, a lot of them have died or retired, and their young have moved out to pastures new That old corner house is owned by the council but the rest of this street, Juxton Street, is owned by Lucys On the left gardens back onto the cemetery It’s one of the prettiest streets in Jericho, with gardens in front of the houses In the distance that tower belongs to the Radcliff hospital which backs onto Walton Street Walton Street is the fourth

boundary, the one you enter from A lot of the top part of Jericho there was razed to the ground a few years ago, and entirely rebuilt The threat of all this demolition caused a great outcry, At first, they didn’t want those new old people’s flats that’s not surprising when you think some people had the houses taken away for just 200 pounds or so Terrible Well, the same houses, nowadays you can get seven thousand pounds, even when they’re in a run-down state But a lot of the redevelopment’s been good They’ve kept to the terraced style of housing and they’ve rehabilitated a lot of the old houses, many are under preservation order But all the same, a lot of the older residents feel Jericho’s being ruined It used to be such a tight-knit community, now it’s full of newcomers And some of it certainly has died, there used to be a pub on literally every corner, many have closed, been converted, and a lot of the shops have gone too, boarded up, their owners moved on…retired But not some of the tradesmen, there’s Mr. Hayworth the butcher Now he’s doing a thriving business Morning Mr Hayworth! Morning Iris Two lots of steak please Morning all……morning Very cold ain’t it? (chatter…..) One pound and a quarter my dear.. that’ll do and er a pound of …erm …sprouts please and 2 pounds of potatoes Mr Hayworth, you’ve been trading down here for many years, in the butcher business, have you seen the pattern of trading change a lot? It has changed yes, because obviously in 15 years there’s been, a vast change in incomes and, in.. er.. and of course and the style of selling meat as well you know, they’ve been great changes in the meat trade Where are you living then? Croydon? it’s a bit of a change from here isn’t it What do you think of the changes that have taken place in Jericho as a community? Well I think they’ve been very good on the whole Jericho was a victorian part of Oxford and as such had existed for probably about a hundred years and it was I think time for change How much do you want? £1.79 £1.79? Righto! (chatter ) Thank you very much Alright my love! Bye… Bye! I can’t stand having all those people staring at me through those peculiar machines Producer: What do you want the film to do Maggie? I think I really want the film really to look like a picture of a community, partly through our eyes but partly through the other people’s eyes. It’s not really trying to say, to wave banners at people I don’t want people around here who do feel strongly about things, for example about the redevelopment of the school or the squatters. I don’t want them to use it as their political platform and it’s a great tendency for people to sort of think..’ Aha! this gives us a chance to say our piece on the BBC, you know, but really we want to give a picture, as true a picture as we can of the community and how it’s changing [church bells] How long have you been here? When I was a courting my husband, he brought me down here, that would be about 58 years ago -And do you come to the church every Sunday? I’ve been ever since. -Yes? Yes He was a boat boy, choir boy, and when I courted him he carried the Cross round And you come every Sunday, and you like the service? When I can, oh I love it You like it? Yeah, I love the church [organ music] I think 30, 40 years ago, it must have been the dominating influence in Jericho I mean, it towers over Jericho. Would you say that’s true today? Rather in a different way, I think I hope that it has a great…that it has an influence in Jericho Of course in those days it was very, what one might call an authoritarian influence it was staffed by a vicar and three priests, everything was done for the people in that way But now, of course, its role has changed,

and I think that it has now been necessary to involve the laypeople Can you you tell me a little bit about the history of the church? Well it was built about a hundred, over a hundred years ago, by a man called Thomas Combe, who was the founder of the University Press, for the work people of the press who lived in these streets and for the railway men who lived here too It’s an Oxford movement church isn’t it? It is an Oxford movement church. It’s one of the first Tractarian churches in the country You’ve been here seven years, I think? Of the changes that you’ve seen, generally speaking, are you pleased or do they distress you? They certainly don’t distress me I think that the future here is a very exciting future, for the people and for the church itself too Obviously things can never remain as they are and although there have been difficulties, I hope very much that one day there will be the unity in the community, which we all want Tell me about the church? How old is it? Over a hundred years old, isn’t it? Oh yes, it was a’hundred last October What about Sundays in those days, when you were young? They were very nice. Much different then than what they are now, I feel like they don’t have it Did you enjoy church yourselves? Oh yes. Did you enjoy going to church? Oh yes, we looked forward to it Sunday mornings We used to get up and put on our best clothes, buttoned-up shoes and then they were put away on Monday [everybody giggles] And then we went to church in the afternoon, Sunday school and then if mother had left us sometimes we went to church Sunday night -Tell me about what happened after church when you used to have the Sunday dinner We used to go to the bake house to fetch the dinner To the bake house? Yes. Where was that? They would wait outside wouldn’t they, for a baked potato? [laughter] We used to go along to Cranham Street one Yes, we generally did. And then after that was closed, we went to Lays, didn’t we? Yes We used to have a nice white pinny, nearly always we had a clean one for Sunday and it was all golfered and all very pretty and we’d wear it Monday morning to school And you were all at school at St. Barnabas school? Yes. Yes. All of us at St Barnabas Yes, we were in the same class [everybody giggles] And I had the cane. [laughter] [playground noise] All the old people in the neighborhood came to this school Mr. Penfold didn’t they? -Yes -And it’s always had a reputation of a very happy school Do you like it here, do you think it’s still a happy school? Well since I came at Easter I’ve enjoyed it very much here and it is still a happy school and in the past there was certainly a very good community spirit in this area Do you think that’s still the case? Well, it’s changing There are still the people who are here a long time ago and immigrants have moved in and we’re getting people from the universities and the colleges more now and people who just stay for a short while So you’ve got more of a hotchpotch of children than you used to have? We have a great variety, yes Do they get on well with each other? Yes, they play together very happily Mrs Crachet you’ve been running a campaign about the the fact that this school has not been pulled down and the new school hasn’t been rebuilt. Yes Could you tell me something about that? Yes, well as Mr Penfold said, it is a very happy school but we are very worried about the physical state of the buildings I don’t know if you can see, this iron staircase over here, for instance The children have to go up and down that every day to get to those classrooms and in the weather like this it’s very dangerous, it’s slippery Don’t any of you like this school? Child: Well, I’d prefer the school to be a bit more modern, but otherwise it’s nice What’s wrong with the building? Child: It’s a Victorian building. You get the feeling that it’s gonna fall right on top of you, it’s horrible Well I don’t think it’s horrid, but it’s gonna fall down soon Well it might. [laughter] The roof of the junior park fell down once -Have any of your mothers been at this school before? Children: Yes! Yes! Yes, my mum has, and my nan -Who wants to move to the new school? Children: Me! Me! Me. All of us -Why? Child: It’s nicer. It’s got lots of grass and it has football pitches and lots of climbing frames and it’s bigger -Do you like living in Jericho? Child: Yeah Interviewer: Where do you live exactly? Child: 15 Jericho Street I’m lucky because I live near Port Meadow We’re only about 5 minute, 5 or 2 minute,

or 5 or 4 minutes walk Mr Birmingham, you’re the Secretary of the Residents Association and somebody that everybody knows, what are the sort of things that people come to talk to you about? Well, everything in general, you know, er domestic, or housing, housing on repairs, new accommodation When they’ve got into the new accommodation grumbles, or otherwise, you know, sometimes they grumble, sometimes they’re very pleased That is the general, well, everything, domestic and personal -Yes, and what about the old people who’ve had to move, a lot of them from their old houses and go into council flats, I think there was a lot of reluctance wasn’t there? Well, it always is with old people, you know, they get used to the bath on Fridays and the kitchen and all this sort of thing and when they’ve been told that they have modern bathroom underfloor heating well they just don’t like to leave their old places, thinking that they may not be able to keep up with the new accommodation But once they get in, at least everyone that I know, they’re really chuffed about it -Oh, well that’s nice Tell me I think you have some personal worries about this footbridge I’m rather afraid that now we’ve got the ropes away over the canal, and we have the northern spur at the back of the canal, it’s still on the planning -That’s the big metal one? Man: I’m rather worried myself that eventually we shall have a motorway through Jericho the same as they have St Ebbes, and it’s one of my big worries – And I think the school, a lot of people are anxious about the site up on the recreation ground -Well of course it had always been our policy, the Association policy, that we oblige the council never to turn people out of the houses until they were due to come down Well if they’d have did that, we wouldn’t have had the problems that we have new with the school site This government stopped the building of the new school there’s two years, you see that, well, the place has deteriorated and the whole atmosphere in Jericho has deteriorated because of the empty houses -There’s been a lot of criticism in Jericho of squatters, do you think it’s fair? In all communities everybody’s got something to bitch about, okay, you know, that there are old age pensions aren’t enough or their house is leaking or something, you know, or there’s a lot of noise and so it it come to squatters, oh it’s the squatters, it must be the squatters fault and they don’t realise, I don’t think, that they’re using us that some residents do actually believe that we’re as horrible as they say we are I think that, some of the people that came to live here didn’t really respect the lives of the people who’d been here for 70 years or more, you know? And some of the people could have been more considerate and on the other hand it’s taken time for the residents to grow accustomed to us living here and to see that we can be good people to live for example, we’ve got a very old lady lives next door to us and she’s very glad to have somebody in the house because she’d be a bit scared if the house was empty or it was just ruined by vandals -What’s been your experience? -With the residents? -Yes Well at first I was a bit suspicious, I thought there was a bad atmosphere here, mainly because there was a Jericho residents association meeting and that got sparks flying Some of the residents threatened to tear out floorboards and smash the windows in houses that became empty to prevent squatters moving in, that was before Christmas But now, I find, personally, I’m quite friendly and chat to quite a few of the local residents -You work down here, don’t you? -Yeah -Can you tell me about your job? I work for one of the oldest building merchants in this area They’ve all been born round here and they were brought up here, so just been working for them, in the lorry that I drive, it’s got their name on it so all the other old residents kind of get to know me like that so it’s okay Pint please darling [Whoohoo! ..laughter] Are you happy in your house now, Mrs. Robbins? -Yeah, not too bad in there -Not too bad, -Well it’s nice near the pub anyway -Yeah [laughter] -You like coming in here for your Guinness in the evenings? -Yes, I comes in here for my Guinness I thought you said you wanna know about the ferry? -Oh, tell me about the ferry! Well. Let’s see, my uncle and aunt lived in number 2 at Ferry Road Well, it was Combe Road as it is Well, down at the bottom, was the old ferry where the old ferry boats used to go, from the ferry, over to the canal and my dad worked on the railway,

and he used to come over on the old ferry boat, and come into my arms at number 2 Do you remember that? What do you think about your new neighbours Mrs. Robbins, me and Lucy? Oh not too bad my love! -Oh that’s ok What’s this? – Say cheese Hello Cheese! [laughter] Have some more tea You used to live here didn’t you? Oh sos You used to live her didn’t you Aunty Lil? -Yes I did, didn’t I? You know who used to live with you? Me, mum and dad and Trisha -You didn’t, your mum n dad and Trisha did -Yeah, and I was born at Granny’s weren’t I? – Ahuh Interviewer: Where’s Granny’s place? – 78. She used to live up the top, you know number 17 It’s been pulled down, now isn’t it? -Yeah Tell us a bit about how the old community was? Was it very closely knit? Ohhh.. yes Well everywhere really But erm you know, if anyone were.. a family any trouble like someone would take the kids off someone else to take the washing someone else would do cooking, you know Do you think maybe people like me and Maggie will settle down here and have our families and then maybe our generations would -Ah yes you should do. But then again it would be ..erm -well.. erm [silence] it wouldn’t be our sort of life were your sort of life, wouldn’t it? -Your own families been here how long.. in Jericho? mother was 20, when she married she moved into Jericho, now she’s nearly 81 -Does she regret the old days? Yes.. nobody’s the same The old Jericho’s gone -Can you tell me about the cemetery, you said some of your relations are buried there My mother, n my Father are buried there My grandmother and I think my grandfather Do you think there’s a lot of Jericho people buried there? Yes.. oh yes Quite a lot [classical music] Producer: Do you like it as a visual place? -Oh yes, I like it as a visual place I can see that some people, who think that, you know, what’s all this, you know just sort of any place, like anywhere else, but it’s very pretty too In a sort of working-class way I suppose in the quaint kind of way that middle-class people like me, think this sort of place is pretty Artisan cottages and so on Producer: Are you regretting the change? – No, I don’t regret the change because I’m part of the change, I can’t regret the change [Classical sentimental music] You’re Oxford University students living in Jericho, tell us how you feel about the way people react to you and how you like it here I’ve been living here three years and now going to the pub really know quite a lot of people years and now I’m going to the pub I Which is quite nice The people here are very, kindly disposed towards students you consider that the students have been a factor which, in a way has probably made life worse for them, in that it’s made the housing here less readily available for them I blame largely the University which has done absolutely nothing to cater for it’s expanding student population -How do you find people treat you in such a community as an immigrant and university student? There’s no particular, erm sort of way of treating me, I don’t think that there is any special kodos attached to being one of the darker skinned races well not in Jericho anyway [shop chatter] -Mr Khan it’s rather a unique kind of shop this, can you tell me how you started it and and why, why you sell the things you do? -Actually it was established by my father in 1966 and er I joined him a year later I was inclined in some business [shop noises] -This is Jericho It’s a mixture really entirely of old and young couples, new people like myself and other sorts of people, all sorts of people, immigrants I live down Cardigan Street I found Jericho one evening when I was returning from the station I shared a taxi with a guy who got off the train with me and we ended up in one of these streets, I think somewhere over there, and he got out and I looked around me and I thought boy, I’m gonna live here You felt the same way about it?- Yes I loved it [noise of car back firing] [laughter] – For God’s sake! Hello Dear! What are all these cars out here then? -I don’t know -Aighe?

Have you got the key? -It’s on the back of the door! [giggles] Everyone will know how to get in our house! [giggles] [upbeat guitar music] Where do you reckon you fit into the Jericho community? -Well I think that it’s such a mixed bag of people here There’s, the established older community and there’s the younger people that have moved in and there are people like ourselves but you don’t get on a normal modern housing estate where people are moving in and starting off all together -What do what you value most about living in Jericho? -Well different things, from a job point of view of course, it’s very convenient I work at the Ashmolean Museum and Jennifer used to work at the Radcliffe and so it’s only four or five minutes away either on the bicycle or on foot, And that’s immensely valuable when ones spent the last five years or so commuting in endless traffic jams We also value the fact that we can find in the centre of Oxford a small house and a small garden which doesn’t require a lot of work to keep up, but is very cozy and and in very nice surroundings with nice people next door and opposite and so on -What are the sort of, the bits of the neighborhood that you visit to take part in mostly? -Well then the place that we always seem to end up in is the Carpenters Arms. Led mainly by James because of the beer, because it’s off the wood [Pub chatter] One pint [laughter] Alright? There we go then It doesn’t matter who it is, a complete stranger Once the come into the door, they’re in amongst us, and we except them, as, like a family And the whole atmosphere is familywise, and nobody is left out in the cold Cheers mate! I’ve never know this pub altered since I’ve been here There were spittoons along there, years and years ago, about 28 years ago but apart from that it hasn’t altered has it, not since I’ve been coming here -No I mean Jericho itself, I mean neighbours were really neighbours there’s no doubt about it -We have a good old crack, a good old laugh and a joke If I said something to Cecil now, he’d pick me up immediately, because he’d know what I meant, but the others wouldn’t Well it’s clannish, if you put it that way, but we thoroughly enjoy it anyway, and the beer of course. -AHHHH People here really, really fabulous It was really nice happy days We had some happy times and that, and bad times Hello my sweetheart! yes ok stop it. [Laughter} -All the best! [Music-Carly Simon- These are the Good Old Days.]