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Uncomfortable Scavenger Hunt

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JERICHO: Location 3

Lucy Group, OX2 6EE

Welcome to the former site of the Eagle Ironworks.

The Eagle Ironworks

Oxford is famous for its scholarship, but it is also a town historically known for its central role in the history of manufacture. Today, the Mini Cooper plant is the industrial site of the city, but long before BMW set up its factory, and even before Morris Motors made its name, numerous other manufacturing companies settled among the city of dreaming spires. 

One such company was the Eagle Ironworks, founded on the bank of the Oxford canal nearly 200 years ago. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the canal was an important route for industrial goods travelling between London and the midlands. When an Iron monger named William Carter set up shop on the High Street, the banks of the canal served as the perfect location for his ironworks factory. Railings, lamp posts, gates, manhole covers, and other cast iron goods were the initial specialty of the Ironworks. But it would later expand into electrical engineering, an area it still specialises in today.

Ornate Cast Iron Electrical Pillar built by Lucy & Co. 1926.

In 1873, the Ironworks would be renamed the Lucy & Co. Eagle Ironworks. It served an important purpose as an ammunitions manufacturer in the Second World War. At the time, much of the iron from the surrounding neighbourhood was melted down for use in the war effort.

The post box on the wall of the Lucy Group office

Jericho was built as a residential area around many of the industrial works that lined the canal. Those who lived around it often complained of the noise and fumes, which lead the company to purchase many houses nearby.

 

Today the old works structure has been turned into a modern apartment complex and many of the neighbouring houses on Walton Street and Walton Well Road are owned and letted by Lucy Group, Ltd.

The three former factory gates remain, each adorned with two eagles sitting on the gateposts. The largest is right above the gates in front of you, which served as the original main entrance to the factory.​

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With friends or family? Discuss the following:

On average, homes in British cities now cost 5.8 times the typical local salary, but in Oxford, this averages at 11.25 times. Although Jericho was a former working class sector, it is one of the most expensive areas to live in the city today.

  • How was this neighbourhood transformed from its working class roots?

  • In what ways has it stayed the same?

  • What are other neighbourhoods you can think of that have undergone similar transformations?

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Interested in seeing more?

Check out the public art inside the complex itself!

Continue through the gates and walk down the path.

Then turn right at the intersection, and up the slight slope.

You will come face to face with 16-feet tall public art-piece titled 'Flight of the Eagles' which covers the ventilation shaft of the underground car park. Made by the artist Jon Mills, a blacksmith who works in iron casting, the sculpture depicts circuit boards, electrical switchgear symbols and other references to the Eagle Foundry.

  • Check out the artist's page here.

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