Saturday, 23 August 2008

Save Our Subway!

Oxford City Council are “redeveloping” the Headington district of Oxford and part of the programme is to fill in the subway that runs under the London Road. This is very unpopular with residents, particularly the elderly and disabled, or those with kids of buggy age because crossing the busy road will be much more difficult, inconvenient and, of course, dangerous. ( http://www.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk/search/display.var.1443190.0.subway_could_be_filled_in.php )

But there’s another reason to oppose the loss of the subway: A number of years ago some beautiful murals were painted on the walls, depicting scenes that counterpoint the culture and environment of daily life in Headington. These pictures are very stylish, warm and humourous. Some of them have a very sophisticated surrealism to them. I decided to take some photos of the murals to preserve them in case the council goes ahead with its “hare-brained” scheme to demolish the subway. It’s fairly typical of this world in that gimmicky economic false-progress takes precedence over everything, even… no especially… deep and meaningful human creativity. They'd much rather we just stared at blank concrete; God forbid that we should enjoy soul-enrichment and inspiration!

Here are some highlights of the mural. As you can see, I’m no Koo Stark and I only have a cheap fun camera, but I’ve written to the Oxford Mail to ask if they’ll send a proper photographer to the subway to record the mural properly… before it’s too late:

This is a depiction of the famous rooftop shark sculpture by the local businessman Bill Heine; it is on the roof of his house on nearby New High Street.


This picture has a very original surrealist style to it. It depicts a football match at Oxford United's nearby Manor Ground. The Manor has gone now and the "U's" have moved to the new Kassam Stadium, but their presence is still a part of Headington's history.


This is a picture of my hospital, the John Radcliffe.





4 comments:

NYoMaN said...

interesting topic, n picture also so nice =)

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks, Nyoman. The Oxford Mail said they liked my photos too and want to publish them. But I'm sure they could do a better job themselves!

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

I'm glad to say that the story has made it into the Oxford Mail:

http://www.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk/display.var.2437369.0.3m_scheme_threatens_murals.php

There's going to be a full enquiery over the matter and hopefully reason will prevail.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Follow-up article:

http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/06/rip-subway.html