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Running Head: History of Oxford

History of Oxford

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Alfred the great is known as the founder of the city of Oxford. Oxford was founded in the 9th century as a result of many fortified towns, which Alfred created across his kingdom. In the initial days of its foundation oxford only had a small market, a mint for making coins and only 1000 houses. The population was approximately 5,000 but was still considered as the 6th largest town in England. This small market soon turned into a blooming town. During the war in the 10th century with a Danish king, oxford got completely burned but was then soon rebuilt (Fasnacht, 1954).

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In the 11th century a civil war broke out in the oxford, which greatly affected the town. The situation became peaceful with the escape of one of the warriors and soon Oxford managed to recover from the disaster and began to flourish once again (Headlam, 1907). The famous university of Oxford was founded in 1167. During the initial days of the university there used to be great tension between the town people and the students of the university. The university tried to control the situation by appointing a chancellor but this also did not solved the problem. The main reason for this was the privileges given to the students by the king. The situation got better when a number of rebellions forced the king to make changes to the privileges given to the students. This brought positive change in the economical position of the Oxford and soon it flourished as a manufacturing town for cloth and leather (Fasnacht, 1954).

In the 14th and 15th centuries manufacturing declined in the oxford and the earning of the town people became completely dependent on the students of the university. In order to help the people of oxford an annual fair was organised, which used to attract merchants from all over the UK. This brought substantial change in the financial position of the town people (Headlam, 1907).

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In the Middle Ages although two hospitals opened in the oxford but it continued to lost its national importance. The situation got worse during 16th and 17th century when Oxford suffered through outbreaks of plague. In 1542 Oxford was made a city and was given a Bishop. In 1642 a civil war again broke out between king and parliament, which came to an end when the royalist army occupied the area and forced the king to leave the city in. Oxford was then in the hands of parliamentary army (Fasnacht, 1954).

Coffee was introduced for the first time in 1651 in oxford when the first coffee house in England opened there. Although it was a new drink it soon became popular. In the middle of 16th century a free grammar school was founded in Oxford followed by a charity school for boys in 1708. By the end of 17th century oxford had a proper covered market for vegetables, meat and fish and new roads were built all over the area. The prison of Oxford was also rebuilt in 1789. Due to many developments that took place in oxford during 16,17 and 18th century the population of Oxford reached to nearly 12,000 by the end of the 18th Century. The modern sewerage system of oxford was built in the early 19th. In spite of all these developments oxford suffered through outbreaks of cholera in 1832, 1849 and 1854, which greatly affected the life of its inhabitants (Fasnacht, 1954).

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The first electricity generating station of oxford was built in 1892 and the railway system was also improved. Oxford was given the status of a county borough in 1889. By the end of 19th century oxford had a marmalade making industry, publishing industry and an iron factory. The first cinema in oxford opened in 1910 followed by the foundation of a car making industry laid by a man named Morris who began making cars in Oxford. Soon a radiator making company and a pressed steel company, which made car bodies, was founded (Fasnacht, 1954).

The Museum of the History of Science opened in 1924 and the two big hospitals Nuffield Orthopaedic centre and Churchill Hospital were also opened during this century. One main development of this century was Oxford airport, which opened in 1938. In later 1950s and 1960s a council house estate was built at Blackbird Leys. In 1970 it was declared that pedestrians would only use Queen Street. The Museum of Oxford opened in 1975. (Fasnacht, 1954)

Today the population of oxford is 134248 and its main industries are manufacturing car and making vehicle parts. There is also a biotech industry in Oxford.

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A History of the City of Oxford by Ruth Fasnacht; Publisher: Basil Blackwell Oxford 1954.

The story of Oxford by Headlam, C (1907).

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