Oxford’s Mill Street in 1901 begins to be revealed

HERE, in the very house where I live right now, in 2012 on Mill Street, in Oxford, lived a couple in 1901, according to the census records.

Francis William Wooldridge, head of the family, lived here with his missus Ellen and at that time too their neice, Ellen aged 10 also lived in what then was a two up, two down with  a scullery space and bog outside. Francis was a railway guard, according to the 1901 census. He was a railway guard 10 years on.

The house in Mill Street was firmly established as being in Osney – not “New Osney” as the estate agents call it. Mill Street is the original Osney, see the Miller’s Tale, for example. A story of adultery in the aboriginal Osney Island, where the river flowed before the railway was built.

Next door, at number 26, lived the Quicks in 1901.  They had many sons and when I saw the entry I thought to myself the Great War (to end all wars) must have loomed large in the Quicks’ existence a bit further on.

At number 28 lived the Bowells – the head of the family was 64, Sarah was 59 and they had a son aged 19, called Mark, according to the census.

Francis and Ellen Wooldridge were still here 10 years on. He worked for the Great Western Railway and according to the census she was born in Shillingford while he had as the place of arising Worcester, Stonebridge.

Both the Wooldridges were born in 1869. The Kite pub was rebuilt in 1904 for reasons as yet unascertained…

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