Templars Square

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Templars Square
Templars Square Shopping.jpg
The interior of Templars Square in October 2008
LocationCowley, Oxfordshire
CoordinatesCoordinates: 51°43′56″N 1°13′01″W / 51.732147°N 1.216974°W / 51.732147; -1.216974
Opening dateMay 1965 (as Cowley Centre)
ManagementAaron Bayliss[1]
No. of stores and services63

Templars Square is a shopping centre located in Between Towns Road, Cowley, Oxford, England. It was opened in 1965 and was known as Cowley Centre[2] until 1989. It is the largest enclosed shopping centre in Oxford.[3]

Development and construction[edit]

A shopping centre in central Cowley was first proposed in the late 1950s. By 1959, the proposal had received strong endorsement from Oxford City Council, and an embargo on new shopping developments along the nearby Cowley Road was enforced. The development was opposed by William Beveridge, who felt that Cowley was the wrong location for the centre.[4]

Construction of the development, by now known as Cowley Centre, began in 1960. Its design was inspired by new town centres and North American shopping malls.[5] The shopping centre designed by the Oxford City Architects E. G. Chandler and Douglas Murray.[2] Between Towns Road was realigned when Cowley Centre was built.

Opening and subsequent history[edit]

Cowley Centre was opened in May 1965 by Richard Crossman, then Minister of Housing and Local Government. The opening ceremony was attended by over 300 people.[1]

In 1970, the Sainsbury's store at the northern end of the centre was extended, requiring the demolition of a local pub, which was rebuilt around twenty yards away.[6] The Sainsbury's store later closed and was replaced by branches of Wilkinson and Iceland.[7]

The centre was renamed to Templars Square in 1989, and celebrated its 20th year under the name with a series of events in August 2009.[1] In January 2014 part of the centre's glass roof was damaged in a storm.[8]


As of August 2009, Templars Square has 63 retailers, making it the largest shopping centre in Oxford. This number had decreased from 85 in 2002, partly because of the financial crisis of 2007–2010; one of the largest stores, Woolworth's, closed in December 2009. However, overall trade at the centre was largely unaffected by the recession.[1] The Woolworth's site has since been taken over by 99p Stores.[9] As of June 2010, the centre's occupancy rate is 96%.[10]

Templars Square has a six-storey car park. This opened in 1964, a year before the shopping centre. In July 2009 the top deck of the car park was temporarily closed after three people died by falling from it.[11]

The centre is located adjacent to the Templars Retail Park, which was legally restricted to non-food sales to avoid competition with the centre. In December 2010 a proposal was announced to relax the restriction and open a new supermarket at the site, which was opposed by the centre's management.[9] This has since changed with a Sainsburys superstore opening in this retail park.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Cowley shopping centre. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1968. ISBN 0-11-700376-X.


  1. ^ a b c d Hearn, Dan (14 August 2009). "We're beating the recession, says Oxford shopping centre". Oxford Mail.
  2. ^ a b Hibbert, Christopher; Hibbert, Edward, eds. (1988). "Cowley Centre". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. p. 112. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  3. ^ "Templars Square Shopping Centre, Cowley, Oxford". templarssquare.com. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  4. ^ Skinner, Annie (2005). Cowley Road: A History. Signal Books. ISBN 978-1-904955-10-8.
  5. ^ Benson, John; Shaw, Gareth (1999). The retailing industry. 3. Post 1945 - retail revolutions. I.B. Tauris.
  6. ^ Yurdan, Marilyn (2009). Oxford in the 1950s and '60s. The History Press Ltd. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-7524-5219-7.
  7. ^ "Perl found in Cowley shopping centre". Property Week. 5 September 2003.
  8. ^ Oxford's Templars Square shopping centre glass roof smashes BBC News, 26 January 2014
  9. ^ a b Hartford, Maggie (2 December 2010). "New supermarket could open in Cowley". UK: Witney Gazette. External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "B&M boosts retail offering at Templars Square". shopping-centre.co.uk. 22 June 2010.
  11. ^ Wilkinson, Matt (10 July 2009). "Suicides prompt closure of Oxford car park's top storey". Oxford Mail.

External links[edit]