East Oxford: Cowley Road

Cowley Road

Cowley Road in about 1900. James Street is on the left, with Edward Radbone's grocer's shop and post office on one corner at No.136, and on the other the Cowley Road Congregational church. This church was established as a mission from the Congregational Chapel in George Street in 1868/9, changing its name to Tyndale Church in 1955. It was closed in 1962 and demolished in 1963, and Tyndale House was built on the site.

Wesley Hall

Wesley Hall (now Cowley Road Methodist Church) on the corner of Cowley Road and Jeune Street is an Arts and Crafts stone Gothic building designed by Stephen Salter and built by Thomas Kingerlee & Sons. It is Grade II listed (list entry 1047330).

It has five foundation stones, of which four were laid on 30 July 1903: by C. Stevens, Walter Slaughter (a grocer who was behind the campaign for this church), Charles Early, J.P., and Mrs Robert William Perks (see below). The fifth stone that was laid by Alderman John Salter, JP (first cousin of the church's architect) has the bottom line covered up with a shaped stone. :

Wesleyan foundation stones

The Oxford Chronicle for 23 October 1903 (p. 7, col. f) reported:

The Wesleyan church and schools are in course of erection in Cowley Road from designs of Mr. Stephen Salter, F.R.I.B.A., the builders being Messrs. Kingerlee and Sons, of Oxford. The church is built to seat 700, and the schools 500. The total cost will be nearly £9,000. The church is in Handborough stone with Bath stone tracings. The architect has striven to avoid the usual “stock pattern” buildings so much in vogue for this class of work.

The church was opened in 1904 by Robert William Perks, whose wife had laid one of the foundation stones the previous year. The Methodists of east Oxford had formerly met at a chapel in Tyndale Road (then called William Street), and the first service took place in September 1904,

Wesley Hall was renamed Cowley Road Methodist Church in 1934. In 1984 it was divided at gallery level and completely renovated.

Cowley Road Hospital

This postcard shows the Cowley Road Hospital when it was a military hospital during the First World War. The sign at the front reads: “3rd Southern General Hospital: Cowley section: No admittance except on business”.

The buildings were originally constructed as Oxford Workhouse for 330 inmates on eleven acres of land outside the city bought from Magdalen and Pembroke Colleges. Its foundation stone was laid on 6 April 1863 and it was completed in 1865.

The hospital (latterly often recorded simply as 205A Cowley Road) closed in 1981 and has since been demolished. All that survives today is the former workhouse/hospital chapel, which stands at the end of Manzil Way and is now the Asian Cultural Centre.

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