A WHILE BACK, I sent a Freedom of Information request to Oxford University – I wanted to know what the future of this building was.
Here’s what the authorities said last year – Ox Uni “had no plans”. Now Oxford University has plans.
The Old Power Station has had an interesting past – in the late 1890s it provided electrical power to Oxford, fuelled by coal. A look at the 1901 census shows quite a few people in Mill Street worked as stokers to generate the energy. As far as I’m aware, it’s been used for many purposes since, including, anecdotal evidence suggests, testing jet engines. It is certainly much higher than it was originally.
I’m grateful to readers of this blog that have now indicated what its future might be. According to this Congregation notice:
“The capital investment priorities of the University, covering building, equipment, IT infrastructure and provision for matching emerging opportunities, are set out in the Capital Masterplan approved by Council. Two of the capital priorities have bearing on the future of the Old Power Station building.
“The first is a need for a Joint Museums’ Collections Study Centre – a facility that would bring together those parts of the museums’ collections which are not on display, or otherwise located, within their main premises (including artefacts currently located in the Old Power Station), in a state-of-the-art facility.
“The second is a need for better and more centrally located facilities for the Executive Education programme offered by the Saïd Business School. That facility would provide space for teaching and social interaction, together with accommodation. The Old Power Station has been identified as an ideal location for this facility, being in close proximity to both the school and the railway station.
“As each individual project within the Capital Masterplan remains subject to the usual approval processes within the University, Congregation’s authority for this future use of space at the Old Power Station is now sought. Project approval, through Council and its Planning and Resource Allocation Committee, will be sought in due course.”
To that end, the resolution is: “That the Old Power Station building (building number 189), approximately 4,020 sqm net usable area, be allocated to the Saïd Business School for a period of thirty years, the allocation being effective upon the building becoming vacant and subject to Council giving approval for the project to convert the building into a new Executive Education facility to proceed to completion.”
Well shiver my timbers! Some of us locals would like to know if the people who live in the Executive Accommodation will buy us locals a round at The Kite – a pub built in the early years of the 20th century, no doubt to satisfy the thirst of the poor bloody stokers. ♣