Book is taking a step back in city’s rich past

From left, Edith Gollnast, Malcolm Graham and Debbie Dance with the book

From left, Edith Gollnast, Malcolm Graham and Debbie Dance with the book Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

NEWCOMERS and residents alike will be able to discover some of the secrets of Oxford’s city centre in a talk by history expert Malcolm Graham.

Renowned local historian Dr Graham will be speaking today with Oxford Preservation Trust director Debbie Dance as part of the Oxford Literary Festival.

They will be discussing his book On Foot from Oxford Castle to St Giles, which Mr Graham worked on with illustrator Edith Gollnast and the Preservation Trust.

The invitation to revisit and expand upon the On Foot in Oxford leaflets, that were published by the city and county councils between 1973 and 1988, came from the trust.

Ms Dance said: “This all comes out of some leaflets Malcolm had done in the 1970s. We wanted to expand them and turn them into a book. He walks along the road and just unlocks the history for you, the history of everyday buildings. It opens up a whole new Oxford if you take the time to look.”

The 56-year-old added: “It’s a layering of history stuff that you wouldn’t necessarily see.

“I absolutely promise you, no matter how much you know about Oxford you will learn something new from this.”

Dr Graham, 66, from Botley, Oxford, said: “It’s almost like archaeology.

“I’ve lived and worked in Oxford for over 40 years. I think I know more about how Oxford has looked and changed than almost anybody else.”

Ms Gollnast, 64, added: “It’s very difficult for people to stop and stand and stare and see what’s there.

“To see everything you have to raise your eyes and look above, and this book will help.”

On Foot from Oxford Castle to St Giles is the first in a series of five guides, with the second book planned to be released in the summer.

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Ms Dance said: “This one has been very successful, so we’re going to do the second in the series by September.

“It will focus on Broad Street area in the centre.”

The talk will be held today at 4pm at Christ Church off St Aldate’s.

For more information visit oxfordliteraryfestival.org.

MALCOLM’S TOP TIPS

See Oxford’s two oldest buildings, the Saxon towers of St Michael at the Northgate and St George in the Castle

Pass the site of Beaumont Palace, birthplace of two Kings, Richard I and King John

View a 17th-century barn in St Giles

Note that today’s New Theatre is the fourth one on the site

Plot the transformation of Workhouse Lane into Little Trendy Street

Discover that MG sports cars were assembled in a workshop off Pusey Street in the mid-1920s

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