When I moved to Oxford from Wales I wanted to be near greenery that connected me to a childhood past. The budget did not stretch to a chic property overlooking one of the prominent parks however I did notice that there were some neighbourhood conservation areas in progress that held some promise (although even when viewing the muddy grassland was full of old tin cans and take away boxes!). That was 20 years ago and the conservation space above (and below) now looks like a worthy place to spend some tranquil time.
An information sheet has picked out the fact that this is built on a Jurassic line. Beakers relating to a nomadic tribe that predates the Celts have also been found here as well as on some of the University’s park land. The ceramic connection also links up to the fact that when the Romans later used Oxford to fire their pots in giant kilns a lot of ceramics were found where the Churchill Hospital is now built. The history of this hospital building deserves a mention in reconstructing the story of our modern neighbourhood conservation site above.
The Churchill Hospital in Oxford was built during the WW2 conflict by and for the American veterans who served here. Even today it’s architecture holds true to a typical army layout and it remains one of the key hospitals in the city with world renowned research taking place nearby in newly built departments. The Historic commemoration of what has gone before is held beautifully in the calm, tranquil American garden of the hospital with the flags and sculpture shown below which offers a new vision of the hospital building.
After England’s December rainy season, walking away I am treading on soil that barely holds my weight. I think of the layers of jurassic soil underground that stretch much further than the Roman pottery kilns that archaeologists have so far preserved. So many lost worlds, hidden discoveries and unwritten stories lie underground. I wonder how deep we truly need to dig to find the treasure in our lives and neighbourhoods. For Christmas I will ask for a sharp, sturdy and super spade to keep digging. Here’s to happy hunting!
Enjoy more posts showing a new horizon here