Headington history: Streets

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Windmill Road: The censuses

At the time of the 1841–1871 censuses, Windmill Road was just a lane leading from Old Headington to the Windmill, where there was a mill house and a mill cottage.

Just after the 1871 census, three events took place:

  • The Wingfield Convalescent Home was opened in 1871 at the SW end of the road
  • The old Windmill at the SE end of the road was demolished and replaced by six cottages.
  • Between 1876 and 1881 the toll-gate on the London Road was taken down, and the old toll-house on the NE corner of Windmill Road was turned into a police station.

Later in the 1880s a cluster of houses appeared at the top of Windmill Lane and John Mattock built a house at 88 Windmill Road near his nursery. By 1901 it was described as Windmill Road rather than Windmill Lane, but the greatest growth was between 1901 and 1911, when the number of houses more than quadrupled.

Leaving aside the Wingfield Convalescent Home, the census population of Windmill Road in the censues from 1881 to 1901 was as follows:

  • 1881: 8 houses (population 39): all tacked on to Quarry village (Holy Trinity parish). These are the six Windmill Cottages, the police house, and one other
  • 1891: 16 houses (population 70): all tacked on to New Headington village (St Andrew’s parish). These include John Mattock’s new house (No. 80) by his nursery
  • 1901: 21 houses (population  82): all tacked on to New Headington village (St Andrew’s parish).

It was in the next fifteen years that Windmill Road was built up as it is today.

1911 census

Between 1901 and 1911 the number of houses in Windmill Road had more than quadrupled. The 1911 census the number 104 houses (population 430): split between the census books for Quarry and Highfield as follows:

  • Highfield (All Saints) parish: 52 houses:
    the east side to the north of Blanchford’s, and the entire west side
  • Quarry (Holy Trinity) parish: 52 houses:
    the east side from Blanchford’s to Old Road


Only 30 of the women of Windmill Road worked outside the home in 1911: of these 16 were in domestic service, 8 were teachers, 2 were factory machinists, 1 was a draper’s assistant, and 1 was a sick nurse. Another 17 worked from home: 9 were laundresses, 3 dressmakers, 2 shopkeepers and 1 a market gardener in their own right, 1 a sick nurse, and 1 was an assistant in her husband’s boot shop.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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