Summertown is a one-mile square residential area, north of St Giles, the boulevard leading out of Oxford’s city centre. Summertown is home to several independent schools and the city’s most expensive houses. On both sides of Banbury Road are Summertown's popular shops. There is also a smaller street of shops and restaurants, South Parade, that links Banbury Road and Woodstock Road.
Summertown is home to much of Oxford's broadcast media. BBC Radio Oxford and the BBC Television's Oxford studios are on Banbury Road. Start-ups also have an increasing presence on the parade, such as Brainomix and Passle. The studios for JACK FM, Glide FM, and Six TV Oxford (no longer broadcasting) are on Woodstock Road.
Most of north Oxford came into being as a result of the revolutionary decision by the university[when?] to permit college fellows to marry and live in real houses, as opposed to rooms in college.[dead link] Large houses were built on farmland either side of Banbury Road and Woodstock Road. Much of the land belonged to St John's College, Oxford and the houses were originally sold leasehold. St John's has since sold the freehold on most of these properties.
Church of England
Summertown's Church of England parish church is Saint Michael and All Angels in Lonsdale Road. The parish originated as part of Saint Giles, Oxford, when the chapel of Saint John the Baptist was completed in Middle Way, Summertown in 1832. It was a chapel of ease until 1834, when it was made a separate ecclesiastical parish.
The Gothic Revival architect H.J. Underwood designed St. John's in an Early English Gothic style. It was cruciform with a nave, north and south transepts and a short chancel. It had no tower but there was a bell-turret on the western gable of the nave. The Oxford Diocesan architect, G.E. Street extended the chancel and added the vestry in 1857. In 1875 St. John's was enlarged again with the addition of north and south aisles, an organ chamber and a second vestry, presumably for a choir.
The congregation outgrew St. John's so a new church, St. Michael and All Angels in Lonsdale Road, was built to replace it 1908-09. St. John's was demolished in 1924, the site was sold in 1970 and a block of flats now stands on the site.
St. Michael's also is a cruciform Early English Gothic Revival building, in this case designed by A.M. Mowbray. The building has never been completed. It has a chancel, north and south transepts, vestry, and a south chapel beside the chancel, but the nave and north and south aisles comprise only one bay ending in a "temporary" west wall that has stood for more than a century. The building is coursed rubblestone apart from the temporary west wall, which is brick.
Summertown United Reformed Church began in 1838 as a Congregational mission to Summertown. A chapel for it in Middle Way was completed in 1844. The present Gothic Revival church on Banbury Road was built in 1894 and its transepts and meeting room were added in 1910. The former chapel in Middle Way was demolished in 1971.
The Roman Catholic Parish church of SS Gregory and Augustine on Woodstock Road, was founded in 1911, the same year as SS Edmund and Frideswide (Iffley Road, now run by the Capuchin Franciscans). Previously the Oxford area had been served by the Jesuits at St Aloysius (now an Oratory of St Philip Neri), which was founded in 1875, replacing the church of St Ignatius (in St Clement's), which had been founded immediately after the relaxation of the penal laws forbidding the building of Catholic places of worship, in 1795. More Catholic parishes were established in the ensuing decades.
Nikolaus Pevsner described the church thus (1974): "By Ernest Newton. Small and stuccoed. A rectangle, white, with a cupola. W. window with a gently double-curved head. Plaster tunnel-vault inside with tie beams."
The following schools and colleges are in Summertown:
- Cherwell School, the secondary school for the area, is on Marston Ferry Road to the east of Banbury Road.
- MECO Islamic School, a Saturday Islamic School for children aged 4–16, is on the site of Cherwell School.
- St. Clare's, Oxford, an independent, international residential college offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma, English-language courses and IB teacher workshops, is on Banbury Road.
- St Edward's School, an independent co-educational (13-18) boarding school, is located on Woodstock Road.
- The independent day and boarding Sixth Form of d'Overbroeck's College is on Banbury Road.
- Summer Fields School, an independent boys' (8-13) preparatory school, is on Mayfield Road.
- The Dragon School, an independent co-educational boarding and day school (4-13), is on Bardwell Road on the perimeter of Summertown. Lynams, the pre-prep school for the Dragon School, is located on Woodstock Road.
- Northern House School, for special needs education, is on South Parade.
- Oxford High School, an independent girls' (11-18) school, is on Belbroughton Road, east of Banbury Road. The two junior sections, Greycotes and The Squirrel, are respectively on Bardwell Road and Woodstock Road.
- SS Philip and James Primary School, a Church of England Aided Primary School, is on Navigation Way.
- Ewert House in Ewert Place is part of the University of Oxford. It houses lecture and seminar rooms of the Department for Continuing Education and a large examination hall.
- Wolfson College is on Linton Road.
- Magna Carta College is on Mayfield Road.
In 1898 the City of Oxford Tramways Company extended its Banbury Road horse tram route to a new terminus at Summertown. In 1913 the company replaced its horse trams with motor buses. Buses running between central Oxford and Summertown via Banbury Road include the Oxford Bus Company 2, 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D, Heyfordian Travel 25 and 25A and Stagecoach 7, 7A, 7B, 17 and S5. Banbury Road also has limited-stop Park and Ride bus services linking Water Eaton with central Oxford (route 500 run by the Oxford Bus Company) and with the John Radcliffe Hospital (route 700 run by Stagecoach). As of 2011, Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach came to an agreement in which they would share the same bus timetable. This eliminated the 7, 7A and 7B buses. This also benefited the public because not only were the buses more coordinated in their schedule but the public could use the same ticket/bus pass on each of the bus companies' buses.
Notable former and current residents
- J.R.R Tolkien, philologist, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University and Fellow of Pembroke College.
- Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse novels.
- James Murray, lexicographer and philologist.
- Desmond Morris, zoologist, ethologist and popular anthropologist.
- Sir Martin Wood, co-founder of Oxford Instruments plc.
- Sir Harold Warris Thompson, physical chemist.
- Lord Berkeley, chairman of the Rail Freight Group.
- Leszek Kołakowski, philosopher and publicist.
- Yannis Philippakis of Foals.
- Sir Adam Roberts, academic, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College and President of the British Academy.
- Margaret Gowing, academic, first Professor of the History of Science at the University of Oxford, Fellow of Linacre College.
- Tom Ward, actor who plays Harry in the BBC drama series Silent Witness.
- Sir Owen St. Clair O'Malley, diplomat.
- Thom Yorke of Radiohead.
- Sir Francis Simon, the leading physical chemist, physicist, and Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford.
- Dame Iris Murdoch, author and philosopher.
- John Bayley, previously Warton Professor of English at Oxford, novelist and literary critic.
- John Scott Haldane CH FRS, physiologist, Fellow of New College, famous for intrepid self-experimentation.
- J.B.S. Haldane, British-born Indian geneticist and evolutionary biologist.
- Naomi Mitchison, novelist and poet.
- Athol Williams, award-winning poet and social philosopher.
- "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". Property.timesonline.co.uk. 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "Frequently asked questions | Oxfam International". Oxfam.org. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "St Michaels Church, Summertown". Stmichaels-summertown.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Crossley & Elrington, 1979, pages 369-412
- "Oxfordshire Churches & Chapels: Summertown: St Michael & All Angels". Oxfordshirechurches.info. Archived from the original on 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Sherwood & Pevsner, 1974, page 332
- Crossley & Elrington, 1979, pages 415-424
- "Woodstock Road Baptist Church". Wrbc.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "SS Gregory & Augustine RC Church". Gregoryandaugustine.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Crossley & Elrington, 1979, pages 412-415
- "Summertown - Schools". Summertown.info. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Crossley & Elrington, 1979, pages 350-364
- "Times report". Property.timesonline.co.uk. 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Rail Freight Group - Directors
- Kinchin, Perilla (2006). Seven Roads in Summertown: Voices from an Oxford Suburb. White Cockade Publishing. ISBN 187348713-4.
- Eleanor Chance, Christina Colvin, Janet Cooper, C.J. Day, T.G. Hassall, Mary Jessup, Nesta Selwyn (1979). Crossley, Alan; Elrington, C.R., eds. Victoria County History: A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 4.
- Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin. p. 332 et al. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.
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