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History and Local Information On Osney Island & West Oxford

Osney Island is a conservation area, located just to the west of the city centre, and has a strong community spirit. The development of Osney Island can be traced back to 1851, when George Hester, a solicitor and the Town Clerk of Oxford, bought the island and laid out the streets and plots of what he called Osney Town, for sale to developers.


By the mid-1850s, most of the terraces of smaller houses in Bridge Street and East Street were built, together with some of the eastern side of West Street. It was a time of great change, with the railway which arrived in Oxford in 1844, leading to the need for affordable homes for the railway workers. The 1861 census showed that they made up the majority of residents on the island - a far cry from today when many homes are occupied by middle-class families.

During the island's 150-year history, a strong sense of community spirit  developed, and the island once boasted of five pubs and several shops. Although only two pubs - The Waterman's Arms and Holly Bush - remain, there is still a feeling that the island is separate from the rest of Oxford.

Over the years, Osney Island has featured in several books including Joanna Trollope's The Men and the Girls and Tony Strong's The Poison Tree.
An earlier spelling of the name is ‘Oseney’. Osney Abbey, once one of Oxford’s most important institutions, was located on the opposite (eastern) bank of the Thames from the island, in the area known as New Osney.  

By the 1890’s there was no land available for the continuing demand from potential new residents plus people wishing to upgrade to larger and more modern houses. Oatlands Meadow owned by Morrell’s Trustees provided a solution and was first advertised in 1894, Thomas Gable, an Oxford publican, laid out Hill View Road in 1895, providing plots for others to develop. Thomas Gable died later that year and Kingerlee builders bought the unsold plots to the rest of Hill View Road. In 1901 they gained permission for a building estate extending from Alexandra Road to Riverside Road. The firm also acquired consent to develop the land north of Botley Road and laid out Henry and Helen Road (named after Thomas Henry Kingerlee’s eldest children) and part of Binsey Lane, in 1902. Harley and Riverside Road were laid out in 1919, and built in the following few years. 

Local amenities are close to hand for day to day needs, and there is a trading estate located off the Botley Road with well known national retailers. Further shopping and retail facilities can be found into the city centre, and there is easy access out of Oxford onto the A34 which in-turn allows access onto the M40.


City Council 249811
Police 08458-505505
Osney Island Residents Association
West Oxford Community Association
West Oxford Health Centre 429993
St Frideswide’s Church  Fr Russell Dewhurst 242680
Southern Electricity
Thames Water
British Gas
West Oxford Community Primary School


North Hinksey C of E School 248626
Matthew Arnold School 862232
Eggsetera 241900
Warlands Cycle Shop 241336
Osney Arms 247103
The Watermans Arms 248832
The Holly Bush 242333
Woodland Pharmacy 242649
Tuscan Pots 251599

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Helen Road, Oxford
Price: £499,950 | 4 Beds
* Attractively Presented & Significantly Extended 4 Bedroom Home * Accommodation Arranged Over 3 Floors * Stunning 21ft ‘Open Plan’ Kitchen/Breakfast Room With Central Island Unit * 2nd ...
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33 Botley Road

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