Photographs wanted for canal project

The Oxford Times: IDEAS: Project manager Maria Parsons, right, with from left, Lauren Spiceley, Bruce Heagerty, Steph Pirrie and Katie Baxendale from groups involved in the plans Buy this photo » IDEAS: Project manager Maria Parsons, right, with from left, Lauren Spiceley, Bruce Heagerty, Steph Pirrie and Katie Baxendale from groups involved in the plans

PHOTOGRAPHS are being sought to tell the story of the Oxford Canal as part of a £65,000 online heritage project.

The Oxford Canal Heritage Project is due to launch a website on May 3 thanks to a £65,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Already, an audio recording is being put together for visitors to download from the project website.

Now organisers want images from the 222-year-old canal to go online.

Project manager Maria Parsons said: “Mark Davies, a local historian, has written the content for a new audio trail for the Oxford Heritage Trail walk and this will be recorded in due course with older boaters and children from local schools taking part. It wil be uploaded on the website.

“I really want to put out an appeal for photographs of the canal that we can upload onto our gallery.

“Any documents and other memorabilia would be welcome – we would take photos of these and perhaps the story behind them and upload them.”

Oxford City Canal Partnership hopes the project will draw more people to the three-and-a-half-mile stretch of canal that runs through the city.

It wants to put together a map and guide for the May launch.

Visitors would be given information about the surrounding areas of Jericho, Summertown, Wolvercote and Port Meadow.

Public meetings were held last year to discuss the project. Ms Parsons said there had already been a good response.

More meetings are planned for the end of the month and people will be able to see ideas for canal signs developed by Oxford Brookes University planning students.

The Oxford Canal was opened in 1790 and became a key trade artery, but declined with the development of the railway network in the mid-19th century. In the 1950s the poet Sir John Betjeman joined a campaign to save the canal from closure, which was successful when Minister for Transport Barbara Castle stepped in.

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Anyone with photos of the canal they would like to share should contact Mr Parsons on 07801509993 or email mariastparsons@gmail.com.

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