“Experiencing Oxford” by Ian Davis – virtual book launch

St Margaret’s Area Society, Oxford
Invites you to the Virtual Book Launch of
Experiencing Oxford by Ian Davis

Saturday, 27 June 2020, 5 pm 
in Zoom (link to be confirmed upon RSVP)  

Please join Ian Davis (ianrobertdavis.com) as he introduces Experiencing Oxford, his newly published book that collates 50 years of work into a visual tour of the city.
About Experiencing Oxford:
During Ian’s time in Oxford, he has developed an interest in watercolour painting, writing, and lecturing about Oxford, its rich architecture, and its landscape.  Experiencing Oxford brings together articles, paintings, and drawings that span almost fifty years and allows the reader to appreciate over one hundred of Ian’s narrated compositions. 

About the Author:
Ian Davis, an architect, was in practice for twelve years in the UK and USA before spending twenty years lecturing in the School of Architecture in Oxford Brookes University.  Since the 1970s Ian has advised the United Nations and governments on humanitarian shelter following disasters and on disaster risk management in over 45 countries.  Currently, Ian is a visiting professor at Kyoto, Lund and Oxford Brookes Universities and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Europe.

To attend this free event, please complete this form. Within 48 hours of receiving your registration, you will receive confirmation of your booking via email. If you have difficulties completing this form, please contact Corinne Morgan: corinne.morgan.13@gmail.com

If you cannot attend the event but would like to be notified when the recorded event is online, please complete this form.

Purchasing your own copy of Experiencing Oxford:
If you would like to purchase a copy of Experiencing Oxford, the simplest way is to visit Ian’s website here.  Alternatively, you can email Ian at ian.robert.davis@gmail.com with your name, address and number of books requested. The book is currently retailing for £25, plus postage of £5 for UK delivery,. Upon receiving your email, Ian will provide payment details for cheque or bank transfer.
This book launch was originally scheduled to be at the St Margaret’s Area Society 2020 AGM. 
When we are once again able to meet safely, SMAS will hold its AGM featuring Ian Davis talking about Experiencing Oxford

SMAS AGM Postponed

The St Margaret’s Area Society’s AGM which was planned for Friday 24th April, and the preceding talk on Experiencing Oxford by Ian Davis, have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be re-arranged when circumstances permit

Notes from Public Meeting with Thames Valley Police 13th March 2020

Notes from St Margaret’s Area Society Meeting with Thames Valley Police

H B Allen Centre, Banbury Rd.  13th March 2020. 19:30

The meeting, organised by James Fry was attended by about 25 local residents.

They were addressed by Sgt Andy Poole who was accompanied by two of his PCSOs: Claire Bonneville and Chris Malin.

Andy’s team covers all of North Oxford, from St Giles north as well as Botley Rd and Abingdon Rd areas.  Other teams cover the city centre and east Oxford.

There are typically 11 to 14 police active in Oxford at any time and a similar number of PCSOs.  Rises to 30 to 35 in total on Friday and Saturday nights.

Changes in crime levels from 2 years ago to last year [calendar years?]:

Thames Valley overall +4%

Andy’s area                             -1%

Burglary                                  -59% (= 67 crimes)
due to offenders being imprisoned and monitored after coming out

Bike theft                                +10% (=15 crimes)
mostly unsecured bikes or using cheap locks

Shed break-ins                        down by 3

Drugs offences                        +25% (=6 crimes)

Street robberies                       -40% (=4 crimes)

Thefts from person                  Up a bit
Watch out for Romanians who steal phones

Thefts from motor vehicles     +99 offences
Be aware of the ease of opening some keyless cars
Consider buying a Faraday pouch to keep your key in or keeping it out of range of the car

Thefts of motor vehicles         Up a bit

Crime reports are welcomed.  101 can be slow (“awful”). 
Website could be quicker and easier  www.ThamesValley.police.uk

Some types of report are better sent to other agencies:

Cold callers     Trading Standards if they are selling without a licence.
This is on Oxfordshire County Council website under Doorstep Crime

Parking             To police if dangerous or obstructing driveway.
                           To NSL otherwise (via Oxfordshire County Council website under Illegally Parked Vehicles)

            Graffiti                                    City Council (via ODS) will clean graffiti from private property free

            Drug paraphernalia      City Council will remove, via Streetscene

Crime prevention suggestions:

  • Neighbourhood Watch
  • Sign up for Thames Valley Alert (emails about local crimes)
  • Ring doorbells – combined bell and wifi connected TV camera which records movement outside the door and can communicate with your phone etc.  Quite cheap and easy to fit.
  • Car dashcams to get evidence in case of road accidents

Responses to questions

  • Patrols at night in Cornmarket: regularly patrolled, particularly concerned with drug problems around McDonalds (which removed its door staff) and in Westgate.
  • Bicycle riding in Cornmarket and Queen St: when resources permit TVP will stop the rider and educate them, but the moving student population means it will always happen
  • Cycles without lights: police educate students during their induction and offer cheap lights at £5 in place of a more expensive £50 fine
  • Noisy motorbikes: report it, especially if you have the registration details
  • Begging: one sergeant works to stop aggressive begging.  There are Romanian professional beggars / shoplifters.  One girl was deported for begging in Summertown
  • Big Issue sellers: generally reputable and trying hard
  • CCTV cameras: OK if within your own property boundary or just outside to cover car park space.
  • Drugs: A separate group under Andy dedicated to dealing with drug dealers.
    Follow users to find the dealers (usually 14-18 wearing hoods and with bags slung over their chests).  Please report any sightings.
  • Speeding: Local community can set up a speed recorder to gather data. These are cheap, maybe only £100 or so.

The officers were thanked for their time and information.

Meeting closed at 20:30 and adjourned for coffee and biscuits.

Low Carbon Oxford North meeting, Wed 3rd July at 7pm

Low Carbon Oxford North is holding a meeting this Wednesday 3rd July at 7pm at the Woodstock Road Baptist Church. You can get tickets here:

LCON says: “Our theme for this meeting is Cosy Homes Oxfordshire – the new local home energy efficiency retrofit service. Our headline speaker, Charlie Luxton, is an architectural designer and TV presenter who writes and speaks about the environment and sustainable architecture. His practice Charlie Luxton Design is based in North Oxfordshire and specialises in sustainable housing.

We will also hear from Russell Smith from the Cosy Homes Oxfordshire service and there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the new service.

The meeting will be followed at 21.00 by our Annual General Meeting. All are welcome to stay for this, although only members can vote. If you are not yet a member, but live in our area, it is easy to join. Just visit our website for details.”

St Margaret’s Area Society Lecture and AGM 2019



On Wednesday 29th May, at 7.30 p.m., in the Maplethorpe Hall,  St Hugh’s College, OX2 6LE (entrance from St Margaret’s Road), by kind permission of the Principal, followed by refreshments. 

William Whyte

Professor Reverend William Whyte, Vice-President of St. John’s College, is the Chair of the Oxford Preservation Trust, and has kindly agreed to build on his very successful Civic Society talk,

Heaven might be something like North Oxford*

Followed by the AGM

Photos from the North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Appraisal

* Professor Whyte’s reading list linked to his Civic Society talk is highly recommended. It is at https://www.oxcivicsoc.org.uk/prof-whytes-reading-list/


7.30 p.m. Welcome by the Chair

7.40 p.m. Lecture, followed by questions

9.00 p.m. approx., tea, coffee and biscuits

9.15 p.m. AGM (See below for Current Committee Membership, Requests for nominations and Report on 2018-19 activities)


  1. Introductions
  2. Annual Report of the Committee
  3. Financial Report and Accounts
  4. Questions and comments on items 2 & 3.
  5. Election of the Hon. Treasurer and Committee members.
  6. Any other business



Please contact us if you have a local planning problem or you wish to express an opinion.

This Amenity Society was formed in 1971. It exists to protect and improve the area and to promote social cohesion. The Committee meets regularly.

SMAS submits comments to the City Council on planning matters, representing the views of residents in central North Oxford.

Committee 2018-19: Chair James Fry (554001); Treasurer Virginia Ross (553195); Minutes Secretary Bill Manville; Tim King (515453); Stephen Eeley (554977); Florence Rossignol (516858); Jonathan Patrick; Geoffrey Croome; Maggie Farrar; James Wyman.

Nominations for 2019-20 in writing to the Chair, James Fry, at 7 Rawlinson Road by Saturday 25th May. (All nominations must have the prior consent of the nominee.)


  1. The full committee met twice in 2018-19, but the planning sub-committee met many times during the year. It surveyed every planning application in the area and commented on many of them. There were several successful objections, particularly to inappropriate extensions. It also provided advice to many householders, and cooperated with other amenity societies in North Oxford.
  2. SMAS promoted local social events, including a public meeting with Thames Valley Police officers, September’s Oxford Canal Festival, which is sponsored by the Society, and a monthly Quiz at The Anchor, which raises money for the Canal Festival.
  3. It continued to distribute the very well received leaflet about Front Gardens in the Conservation Area, prepared in consultation with the City Council.
  4. SMAS was represented on the Oxford Canal Partnership and Tim King represented the society on the City’s Port Meadow Management Committee.
  5. Several SMAS members were active in the Friends of Aristotle Lane Recreation Ground and Friends of Burgess Field.

The Society would welcome donations towards the costs of this AGM.

Guide to the Front Gardens of North Oxford

The North Oxford Victorian suburb is admired throughout the world. Its character is that of a garden city and it is in all our interests to keep it that way.

St Margaret’s Area Society has produced the following leaflet, with advice from Oxford City Council, which has been delivered to homes in the area. It provides planning advice, discusses the current planning constraints and emphasises the value of suitable planting.

You can download a pdf of the leaflet by clicking Gardens leaflet 2018 final

Gardens leaflet darker picture 2018 final2 Gardens leaflet darker picture 2018 final3 Gardens leaflet darker picture 2018 final

Autumn Meeting, LMH at 7pm on 22nd Nov 2017

All residents and neighbouring associations are invited to attend the Norham Manor Residents’ Association and St Margaret’s Area Society Autumn Meeting:



Speakers include:




This is an opportunity to raise concerns about the conservation of our special area. Please come with your questions and comments!

The Monson Room at Lady Margaret Hall, Wednesday 22nd November 2017 at 19.00 for 19.30 – refreshments will be served

Meeting to discuss Area Appraisal, Thursday 23rd March 2017


Everyone is welcome to join St Margarets Area Society to hear from the consultants, Artemis Heritage, who prepared the North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area Appraisal report that is now out for consultation.

A draft of the report can be accessed by clicking here:


The meeting will take place in the Mordan Hall at St Hugh’s at 7.30 on Thursday 23rd March. Tea and biscuits will be provided.