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Wall collapse on Headington Hill

Wall at Headington Hill

The above picture was taken at 9am on Monday 23 October 2006, soon after eight metres of the wall supporting the raised walkway on Headington Hill collapsed. Luckily no one was cycling uphill in the cycle lane at the time the wall fell.

Below: the wall under repair, 4 November 2006:

Wall on Headington Hill


History of the raised walkway

The eighteenth-century engraving below shows a section of the same wall nearer the top of the hill. Headington Hill runs through a natural hollow way, and this raised walkway was built in about 1700 by the University of Oxford. Josiah Pullen was responsible for organizing a general subscription of the University, and there was a joke that Pullen had “made a-way with public money”.

Raised walk on Headington Hill

(The bridge over Headington Hill was not built until 1877.)

The boundary stone below, which once stood near the top of the hill, was set into the wall to the north-east of the bridge during road improvements in 1930, and is not easily seen today because of the danger of the traffic. It reads:

H E R E  E N D E T H
H E D I N G T O N
H Y W A Y
W K   I F

It marks the point where the city of Oxford’s responsibility for the one-mile maintenance of the highway outside the city used to end. This stone probably dates from 1729, as WK and IF are likely to be the initials of William Kenton and Jeremiah Franklin, who were respectively Senior Bailiff and Mayor of Oxford in 1728/9.

Boundary stone, Headington Hill

© Stephanie Jenkins

 

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