Why do we typecast some cities as “posh” and others as “working class” or “industrial” when, really, the story of a place is so much more nuanced? In this article for The Telegraph I defend the working class heritage of Oxford – my city.
Granted, Oxford boasts an illustrious heritage of higher education and academic prowess that’s had more than its fair share of credit over the centuries. The city’s links with J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Christopher Wren certainly conform to the Brideshead Revisited image, depicted by Evelyn Waugh in 1945. But sorting through my uncle’s photos, soaked in the nostalgic scent of his familiar cigarette smoke, Oxford’s working class, industrial heritage, also deserves to be remembered.
This is, after all, the city where William Morris helped pioneer motor manufacturing in Britain, before the Cowley steel works then went on to produce the de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth biplane during the Second World War – with the help of my orphaned grandmother. To this day, Plant Oxford remains one of the largest producers of vehicles in Britain, however somewhat ironically considering its former guise, it’s now owned by German car giants BMW.
You can read the full article here.
July 26, 2019