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Headington history: Streets

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Windmill Road: Timeline


Prehistoric
times

 

Under the sea. The cliff at Rock Edge has exposures of Upper Jurassic rock, laid down about 160 million years ago. This pit has many fragments of coral and fossils including sea urchins and is thought to have been a former boundary between a coral reef and the surrounding shallow sea

Roman times

There appears to have been a Roman pottery on the site of the Nuffield Orthopaedic centre, as in 2001 Oxford Archaeoology discovered probable kiln waste with a sizeable assemblage of Roman pottery adjacent to Windmill Road

13th century

Headington Windmill was already in existence on the site of the present Windmill House

17th
century

Headington stone was being used for every building in Oxford, so Crossroads Pit (now usually known as Rock Edge after the road which skirts it) had probably come into operation by this time

c.1775

The new London Road was cut through the fields of Headington, bisecting and shortening Windmill Lane, which originally led continuously from the southern edge of Old Headington (near the carpark) to the mill

c.1820

The windmill was replaced by a new stone windmill with a fantail

1851–1871
censuses

There were only two dwellings in Windmill Lane at this time: Mill House and Mill Cottage (listed in joint New Headington/Quarry census book). Otherwise it was just an unpopulated country lane leading from Old Headington to the windmill

1852

The development of New Headington village to the west of Windmill Lane began, and East Road (later Bateman Street) was extended to Windmill Lane

1872

Wingfield Convalescent Home opened on site of present Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre

1876

The windmill is shown on the 1876 Ordnance Survey map as “Old Windmill”, and was demolished shortly afterwards to make way for Windmill Cottages

John Mattock started growing roses to the south of Wilberforce Street, on land spreading out to Windmill Road

1881
census

Windmill Lane had just 8 houses (the six Windmill Cottages, a policeman’s house, and one other) and a population of 39 (with the whole road in the Quarry village (Holy Trinity parish) census book)

1880s

Windmill Lane’s first grand house, Rosslyn Villa, was built near the top of the road

1889

The term “Windmill Road” first appears in street directories, although the census two years later still uses “Windmill Lane”

1887

Ten acres of land at the NE end of Windmill Road “suitable for immediate building development” was put up for auction in April, in accordance with the will of Mrs Ballachey of Bury Knowle House, and development started

c.1890

John Mattock had his villa built in isolation at the south end of Windmill Road at the new entrance to his rose garden next to the Wingfield Convalescent Home grounds (No. 88, now Champneys Court)

1891
census

Windmill Lane had 16 houses and a population of 70 (with the whole road in the New Headington village (St Andrew’s parish) census book)

1892

Headington Co-op opened on the corner of Windmill and London Roads, on the site of the old toll house

1893

Samuel West started up West’s Nursery facing Windmill Road (with the land spread behind over the present Norton Close) and built a house for himself at No. 74

1900

Eleven acres of building land with a frontage of 789 feet were bought at auction by Charlie Morris, a builder who lived at 1 Stoke Place in Old Headington. With the help of a loan of £750 he laid out 36 lots, each 20 feet wide, on the east side of the road, in the field numbered 203 on the 1876 OS map, just to the north of Windmill Cottages. The result was Nos. 95–157 inclusive. Morris carefully left spaces for two roads to facilitate the development of the hinterland of the estate, and in due course Margaret Road and Gathorne (originally Alexandra) Road were slotted in.

1901
census

Windmill Road had 21 houses with a population of 82 (with the whole road in the New Headington village (St Andrew’s parish) census book)

1901–1911

Great growth of Windmill Road: the number of houses more than quadrupled in ten years

c.1908

Alfred Dring started his carrier’s business at 2 Windmill Road, with the horses and cart kept on the site of the present Simon House and the yard behind. This eventually developed into a private coach hire business

1910

Opening of All Saints Church and the creation of Highfield parish.
Windmill Road was split between two parishes: the south-east end (from the present Blanchford’s to Old Road) became part of Quarry (Holy Trinity) parish, and all the rest came under Highfield

Mrs Jeffreys opened a grocer’s shop at 58 Windmill Road, and a boot shop opened at 14 Windmill Road

Margaret Road was created between 107 and 109 Windmill Road. It originally only led as far as St Anne’s Road, and for some years had just two houses

1911
census

Windmill Lane had 104 houses and a population of 430 (with 52 houses in the census book for Quarry, and 52 in that for Highfield)

1912

John Wesley Woodward of 15 Windmill Road was one of the musicians who sank with the Titanic, and a plaque was put up in All Saints Church

St Leonard’s Road (then Southern Road) was created between 39 and 45 Windmill Road, but at first only led as far as Holyoake (then Western) Road

Gathorne Road (then Alexandra Road) was created between 143 and 145 Windmill Road

 1914–1918
War

Six Windmill Road men died in the First World War:
Ralph Nutt
 (No. 46); Gerald Judge (No. 49);
Francis John Jeffreys (No. 58); Ernest James Butler (No. 59);
Walter George Herbert 
(No. 99); Bertie Jeffs (No. 125)

The Wingfield Convalescent Home was converted into a twenty-bed military hospital in 1914, and by 1918 the 100-bed Wingfield Hospital stood in the home’s grounds

1921

Mrs Janie Moore moved to Uplands at 54 Windmill Road, and C. S. Lewis spent time with her here before her move to Holyoake Road

1922

Joseph Skey opened a grocer’s shop at 8 Windmill Road

1927

The short-lived Headington Urban District Council acquired land for a children’s playground in Windmill Road (now St Leonard’s Road carpark)

1928

The present Conservative Club opened at 60 Windmill Road

1931

Following a gift of £70,000 from Sir William Morris, the Wingfield Hospital was renamed the Wingfield-Morris Orthopaedic Hospital.

1933

Bury Knowle Club opened upstairs at 2d Windmill Road, for men only. It had 100 members in 1998

c.1934

Langley Close was built in the gap between 75 and 79 Windmill Road

c.1935

Eight new semi-detached houses (Nos. 159–173) were built at the south-east end of Windmill Road, and a new road called Rock Edge was created just to the south of these houses, winding around the old Crossroads Quarry

1940s

The children’s playground on the site of the St Leonard’s Road carpark was turned into an air-raid shelter

c.1955

The Wingfield-Morris Hospital was renamed the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.

1957

Windmill Cottages were demolished and replaced by Windmill House Children’s Home

Blanchford’s moved into Vallis’s builder’s yard and house at 61 Windmill Road, and expanded into the grocer’s shop at No. 59 by 1962

1964

Headington Homewares opened at The Parade, Windmill Road

c.1965

Mattock’s Rose Nursery was compulsorily purchased by Oxford City Council, and the business moved to Nuneham Courtenay

Dring’s Coaches closed down

1981

The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 introduced Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and Rock Edge was designated an SSSI

c.1982

The All Seasons Guest House opened at 63 Windmill Road, and soon added an extra storey to the house

1983

Mattock Close council estate was built on the grounds of John Mattock’s former rose nursery

1996

Headington Labour Club at 21/23 Windmill Road was replaced by flats

2002–2005

The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre was rebuilt at a cost of £35 million

2005

West’s Garden Centre closed and was replaced by housing

2006

Richens Mobility Centre at top of Windmill Road was destroyed by a serious fire, and neighbours were evacuated

2008

Champneys Court replaced John Mattock’s house at No. 88
Edna Rose Court replaced John Robert Mattock’s house at No. 90

2009

Helen & Douglas Charity shop opened at 14 Windmill Road in January

Windmill House was demolished and rebuilding started

© Stephanie Jenkins

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