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It's all go at Wolvercote this weekend

Why not join Wolvercote Tree Group for their AGM followed by an evening of dancing, music - and apples!

 The Wolvercote Tree Group are holding their AGM this Saturday evening at the Village Hall at 6:30pm followed at 7:30 by the 20th anniversary of Wolvercote Community Orchard celebrations.

Tim Healey and the Oxford Waits will be providing the music, interspersed with appley anecdotes and there will be a Ploughman's supper (with the famous Wolvercote apple cake dessert). 

The tickets cost £10 each (£8 concessions). Please contact Jo Malden for tickets and further information on 01865 556 422

Monday 10th November 2014

OPT Awards 2014 celebrating the best of the old and the new

Positive conservation, good design and strong modern architecture were much in evidence at the OPT Awards 2014

This has been another bumper year for the OPT Awards with a strong range of submissions, and plenty of debate and discussion amongst our judging panel in choosing the winners.  sponsored by Critchleys and Kemp & Kemp Property Consultants.

The projects, large and small,  spanned across the City and beyond, from the wonderful new spirit lifting John Henry Brookes Building for Oxford Brookes,  the stunning conservation work at the University Museum of Natural History,  and the work to the Queen’s College Library, to the building at 1-3 Ock Street in Abingdon, marrying the old with the new, and providing offices that cannot fail but to impress.

There was a range of smaller work this year, with the conservation and repair of choir vault at Christ Church, and the new wine bar at Oxford Castle 1855 winning the day.

The Oxford Preservation Trust Awards are now in their 37th year and are judged by a panel of experts from across all walks of the City and Universities, chaired by Professor Malcolm Airs, OPT trustee and eminent architectural historian. This year, the panel awarded 9 plaques and 12 certificates across categories of New Buildings, Building Conservation, Small Projects and Environment/ Landscape 

Debbie Dance, Director of the Oxford Preservation Trust says “The awards are OPT’s opportunity to recognise prominent local projects, large and small, and to highlight the teams that make them happen.  They illustrate the vital role that positive design has across our community and how our physical environment is shaped by the buildings around us each day”. 

Kemp & Kemp partner, Steven Sensecall, said. “This year has seen strong competition and the judges have had tough decisions to make.  Oxford is a special place and the City is very lucky to have landowners, developers and institutions that continue to bring forward buildings of such high quality.”

Anthony Harris, Chairman of Critchleys, said “It is great to see that the Oxford Preservation Trust is not just about preserving the cobwebs on old buildings and the status quo, but supporting the manner in which buildings can be built, renovated and upgraded for the 21st century whilst still contributing to the heritage of our city and the county”.

As a charity, OPT receives no State or statutory funding and relies on membership subscriptions and attracting external funding.

The full list of plaque winners is as follows:                                             

New Buildings:

John Henry Brookes Building at Oxford Brookes University                                               

Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College

Clocktower Court at Radley College                                                                                                                                   

Building Conservation:

1-3 Ock Street, Abingdon-on-Thames                                                                                  

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

The Queens College Library  

Small Projects:

Conservation and repair of the choir vault at Christ Church Cathedral                            

1855 at Oxford Castle                                                                  


Wolvercote Lakes      

Wednesday 5th November 2014

More of Oxford’s hidden history unearthed in new OPT book

Excellent stocking filler for Christmas

Following the success of the first book in the Oxford Heritage Walks series, OPT have unveiled their latest offering, exploring the cracks and crevasses of Oxford.  

The Oxford Heritage Walk series, written by renowned local historian Malcolm Graham and illustrated by former city council conservation officer Edith Gollnast, capture the ‘hidden history’ of Oxford – looking beyond the usual, delving behind the facades, and seeing the familiar in a new way. 
Malcolm and Edith bring their professional expertise, harnessed through long careers dedicated to Oxford, and add their own personal journeys. The result is a treasure-chest of information packed with the history of the streets across the centuries.
Book 2, ‘On foot from Broad Street’ covers the heart of the University around the Radcliffe Camera, alongside the Covered Market, Blackwells,  Cornmarket, Ship Street and the Turl including parts of the earliest town. 
 “Malcolm and Edith eat and breathe Oxford  – it has been a pleasure to work together with them so that everyone can share their special gift.  I promise you will never look at the streets in the same way again.” says OPT Director Debbie Dance 
“The first book ‘On Foot from Oxford Castle’ sold so well we have had to reprint it none of which could have happened without some very helpful financial support, which is also helping us to keep on publishing future books in the series” Debbie adds.
The books are a great read as well as being a reference and interest walk, recording the forgotten features as well as the new, and highlighting some of the more vulnerable features of the City.  
Grab your copies now – the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who loves Oxford. 
Buy direct from our office at 10 Turn Again Lane or online at Copies are also available at Blackwells and the Visitor Information Centre.  
Wednesday 22nd October 2014

Why not join OPT for an evening of local history?

Places are still available for the Oxford Preservation Trust talk on our new book.
Author Malcolm Graham and Illustrator Edith Gollnast will be joined by OPT Director, Debbie Dance, to talk about their new book, Book 2 of the Oxford Heritage Walks series.
The book, On Foot from Broad Street, covers Blackwells bookshop and many university and college buildings. The first book sold out completely and has been reprinted.
The Oxford Heritage Walk series capture the ‘hidden history’ of Oxford – the cracks and crevasses, going beyond the usual attractions and above the ground level view of Oxford.  
The books also make a great reference guide, a treasure chest of information and history, recording the forgotten features as well as the new. Given the ever-changing nature of Oxford, the Heritage Walks books highlight the more vulnerable features of the City.  
The talk will be held  on Wednesday 22 October at 5pm at the Key Learning Centre at Oxford Castle Quarter. Please book online or call 01865 242 918 to book a place.
Tuesday 14th October 2014

Fun in Wolvercote for Apple Day

There was a great turnout at the Wolvercote Community Orchard in October on Sunday 5 October as local residents (and those from further afield) came along to visit.

The weather was lovely and there was lots of fun to be had - apple bobbing, apple head making, apple juice pressing, apple cakes and conker bashing.

The OPT stand was very popular, with residents asking how they could get involved in the Lakes. Wolvercote Community Orchard gave their traditional ‘rent’ in apples, including several from the ‘Flower of Kent’ apple tree, made famous by Sir Isaac Newton.

Monday 6th October 2014

Help us make Oxford Open Doors 2015 even better!

Could you support our small team by volunteering to help with the planning and execution Oxford Open Doors?
Our Oxford Open Doors project celebrates all that makes the city special its buildings old and new and most of all - its people.  In 2015 all kinds of places will open their doors - University buildings and collections, colleges, churches, chapels, synagogue and mosques, towers and tunnels, canal boats and vintage buses.  Each year we have a  special theme to encourage the widest interest and run outreach projects to encourage more of Oxford’s people to come along - particularly families and young people.  In 2015 we are piloting an Open Doors for schools programme.
We want: an Oxford Open Doors Assistant with a passion for places, people and the past   
We are looking for a dynamic and enthusiastic assistant to help us start planning for our Oxford Open Doors 2015 project.  We would like your help to inspire others to engage in the Oxford Open Doors weekend this may be as part of our outreach programme – assisting with mini-events road shows, delivering workshops to schools and youth groups or helping to pull together the extensive annual weekend programme – liaising with participants, marketing, researching and fundraising or evaluating the programme and reporting on the highlights.   You’ll be a bright, fast learner and worker, with strong IT and team skills – and happy to take on whatever task comes your way. 
What we can offer:
In return, you’ll gain insights into the world and workings of a conservation charity and an introduction to Oxford and its built heritage, new architecture and rich history. You’ll also meet a wonderful variety of people, from our cultural partners, community organisers, to architects and business people, from school children to leaders of city and University to our volunteers and local residents. We believe we can offer a stimulating experience where you’ll acquire knowledge and skills to add to your CV and give you a taste of this sector. 
If you are interested in joining our small and friendly team in our historic building in Oxford city centre, please send a CV and covering letter telling us why you are interested in this placement, what you can bring and hope to gain to Jane Baldwin 
When you could start
ASAP (4 days a week Monday-Thursday). 
Maintenance of links with the project partners, venues and volunteers for Open Doors 2015.
Assisting with the planning of the Open Doors 2015 special theme. 
Assisting with the planning of Open Doors and other outreach work 2015 including roadshows with project partners and any groups. 
Assisting with project evaluation and reporting of Open Doors 2015
Assisting with the preparation of the Communications Plan for Open Doors 2015
Assisting with  fundraising for Oxford Open Doors 2015 (including data entry)
Assisting with membership recruitment
Research activities across OPT work
A diverse range of administrative activities across OPT work
We really need someone who has:
demonstrable interest in heritage and the built environment (architecture old and new)
experience of an office environment/administration systems
experience of producing printed/web material
We would like it if you had:
experience of event organisation
experience of marketing
We really need someone who:
is a good communicator face to face, and on paper 
has good organisational skills
can manage their own work load and can work to tight deadlines
has good  IT skills
We think you will be someone:
who is out-going and confident - able to be the first point of contact/public face of the Trust
who enjoys working with a wide cross section of people 
who works on their own initiative
who is enthusiastic about what they do
who does detail but gets the big picture too!
We think this placement will give you valuable experience of our sector if you have just done a degree or similar in history, archaeology, architecture or town planning 
Monday 29th September 2014

What a weekend!

Thank you for making Oxford Open Doors so special

Oxford’s community came together to enjoy their City and open their doors.... and a great time was had by all.

Oxford Preservation Trust organise Oxford Open Doors in partnership with Oxford University and all were delighted to see so many people visiting the 130 + places and events that took place, overseen by the smiling band of volunteers who helped visitors and spread the word about OPT’s work all year round.    
There was fun in the sun for all the family with the OPT childrens’ ‘passports’ leading to the interactive Science Fair at Nuffield Department of Medicine, and the new Oxford Brookes building, where they could make edible masterpieces, or have a go at building their own cities whilst their parents took in the stunning surroundings. 
Magdalen College saw over 7,500 people over the weekend with the Chapel packed to hear their organ scholars both days. At Lincoln College queues formed in the street, as they opened for the first time this year, including access to the Library in the former All Saints Church on the High Street.  
Also opening their doors for the first time was the Registry Office, the Griffith Institute – home of the University’s world-famous Egyptology collection, and the stunning new Maggie’s Oxford Centre designed by leading architects Wilkinson & Eyre. 
‘ What a great place we live in and what a great community we have – and they are pretty good at a party too – we all had a great time celebrating and cannot thank our many supporters and volunteers enough for their part – because it is the people that open their doors that really make this weekend special’  says OPT Director, Debbie Dance
Monday 15th September 2014

Don't miss our bat walk at Wolvercote Lakes

Come and explore Wolvercote and learn more about the bats that live there

Dr Danielle Linton, Wytham Bat Project Coordinator, will be taking a party of eager adventurous around Wolvercote Lakes to conduct bat surveys and explore the habitat of the local area. 

The walk begins at the Wolvercote Car park at 7:30pm on 13th September. This is a great chance to explore OPT's latest nature area and to take part in important surveys to find out how many bats live in the Lakes.
For more information and how to book please contact 
Friday 5th September 2014

Oxford Open Doors – how will you fit it all in?

With so many free events and activities, the dilemma is how you will you fit everything in?

As it’s the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, OPT will bring the Bard to life with pop-up performances across the City. Oxford’s Creation Theatre will be enacting many of the Bard’s famous speeches, sonnets and monologues. They will be touring around the City on the Sunday with performances at Exeter College, The Sheldonian Theatre, The Museum of Natural History, The Old County Court Rooms, Worcester College and Keble College.  From 1-4pm, the Ashmolean Museum will be displaying amazing items from their collection from Shakespeare’s time. 

New for 2014 is the Griffith Institute – world-famous home of the University’s Egyptology collection, Lincoln College (containing one of the city’s most well preserved early interiors including its medieval hall), together with the stunning new John Henry Brookes building at Oxford Brookes and the equally stunning new Maggie’s Oxford Centre designed by leading architects Wilkinson & Eyre. 
Oxford’s Registry Office is taking part for the first year too and has hinted at the treats in store. Their archives contain the birth, marriage and death records of many famous people including some famous names – like Agatha Christie and Winston Churchill. There will also be the opportunity to hear about their more unusual inquests. 
There’s lots of family fun with Oxford Preservation Trust’s free ‘passports’ to children and young people to make learning about Oxford and visiting all its exciting places fun. There’s an interactive Science Fair at Nuffield Department of Medicine, where children can learn about their scientific advances – and take part in activities. At the new Oxford Brookes University building, children can make tasty masterpieces and build their own cities. 
Oxford Castle Quarter offers free access to the Castle Mound and punishment cells to explore, as well as seeing life at Oxford Prison with their gaolers. Why not go along and discover out what you will sent down for?
Don’t fancy being outside? Why not come to a talk? Talks include “Why write another book about the First World War?” by Prof Adrian Gregory, “A Pre-Raphaelite Museum” by Dr John Holmes and “Beer, sausages & marmalade: Oxford food and drink in the nineteenth century” by Liz Woolley, local historian & author. For a full list of talks, visit or pick up a brochure.   
Want to explore further afield? There are talks and tours outside of the city centre.  Florence Park estate turns 80 this year and they are putting on events on the Saturday. Oxford Stadium is opening its doors, and there are several talks at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Cowley.
Debbie Dance, Director of Oxford Preservation Trust said, “Oxford Open Doors is such a great weekend, when all areas of the City come together to open their doors. OPT is enormously grateful to all who take part to open their buildings, put on events and volunteer their time. There are so many events and activities throughout the weekend that there really is something for everyone”.
Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford said “It is wonderful to see so many University and college facilities – libraries, museums, collections and even some of our newest developments as well as many Colleges opening their doors to the local community and visiting public”.
To find out more about all of the activities and venues across Oxford Open Doors, and to book events, visit 
Thursday 4th September 2014

Fun for all the family at Oxford Open Doors

Feeling the post-Summer holiday blues? Oxford Open Doors is just the ticket to cheer you up

The Oxford Open Doors weekend (13 to 14 September) has lots of free events and activities for families to take part in. 

Oxford Preservation Trust is handing out free ‘passports’ to children and young people to make learning about Oxford and visiting all its exciting places fun. In fact, there is so much for families to do over the weekend that you may find it hard to fit everything in!  
There’s’ an interactive Science Fair at Nuffield Department of Medicine, where children can learn about their scientific advances – and take part in activities. At the new Oxford Brookes University building, children can make tasty masterpieces and build their own cities. 
Oxford Fire Station is open all day on the Saturday for children to visit and see what happens at the station, with live demonstrations and a rare chance to see the fire engines and equipment. 
Oxford Castle Quarter offers free access to the Castle Mound and punishment cells for kids to explore, as well as seeing life at Oxford Prison with their gaolers. Why not go along and discover out what you will sent down for?
Debbie Dance, Director of Oxford Preservation Trust said, “Oxford Open Doors offers an excellent opportunity for families to explore the rich history and diverse cultural heritage of Oxford, whilst having fun. There are so many events and activities throughout the weekend that parents and children are bound to find something which inspires them.”
To find out more about family activities at Oxford Open Doors, or to see the full programme of events, visit 
Wednesday 3rd September 2014

Work for OPT!

Are you efficient with good numerate and I.T. skills? Interested in Oxford?

We are looking for a  P/T Administrator/Finance Officer

As a busy charity run by a small team, we want someone who wants to help us make a difference to Oxford. 

General Bookkeeping duties using Sage 50 accounts, assistance with budgets and monitoring, some VAT and Gift Aid.    
Charity and Companies House Returns, input into Annual Reports and Governance administration including secretary to the Trustees and Finance and Investment Committees. 
Administrative support to the Director across all areas of Trust work helping to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Working across the Team on Projects such as Oxford Open Doors, and the LMS Swingbridge to provide financial support to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the Trust’s project finances to include assistances with working and keeping to budgets, timely claiming of grant etc. 
Providing support across the OPT team in areas such as database, membership, and events to help to ensure that they are run efficiently 
Person Profile:
Able to demonstrate good numerical skills
Familiar with Sage 50
Well organised and able to demonstrate past experience of providing administrative support.
Computer literate
Able to work in a small team and turn hand to whatever is needed
An interest in Oxford and its environment  is desirable 
Flexible hours 2/3 days per week £24 – 28,000 pa pro rata 
Send letter and short c.v. to
Please contact Eleanor Cooper if you have any queries 
Closing Date: Monday 29 September 12.00pm 
Tuesday 2nd September 2014

OPT members events - Oxford Open Doors 2014

Last chance to book!

Don't miss out on the last chance to book onto our members events! 

Time is running out but there are still a few places on the Oxford Rock Breakdown Lab, Malcolm Graham's walking tour of the city and to visit the stunning Ripon College. 
Please visit to book or call 01865 242 918
Not a member of OPT currently? Why not join today and take advantage of our members events?
Monday 1st September 2014

Join our fundraising team for Oxford Open Doors

Do something different to get great work experience

OPT are looking for friendly, motivated, well-presented, confident individuals to support their fundraising team over Oxford Open Doors. This would suit those undertaking a DofE award, National Citizenship Scheme and those interested in working in marketing or PR.

We will be collecting donations and raising money during the weekend, visiting various events as well as raising money on the OPT Hub.   

OPT, as a charity, relies upon membership and donations to run Oxford Open Doors as well as to carry out the work we undertake all year round. 

To find out more, please contact Lindsey Kell at

Wednesday 27th August 2014

Wanted: Volunteer stewards

Oxford Open Doors needs YOU!

Interested in doing something different? Looking to have fun and learn more of our City's rich history?

We are looking for stewards on walks and tours for Oxford Open Doors - dont worry if you never done it before as you will be fully briefed prior to the event.

Interested in finding out more? Please contact Jane Baldwin on for further information.

Wednesday 27th August 2014

The countdown continues

Follow us on twitter for latest on Oxford Open Doors
Our countdown of all things Oxford Open Doors continues at break-neck speed. Follow @OxPresTrust to find out the latest or the hashtag #OxfordOpenDoors
Taking part in Oxford Open Doors? Please do tweet your events, pictures and experiences. 
Realtime information is also available at  along with how to book. Sadly some events are limited, but many places across the City you can just turn up at! There's something for everyone.
Not already a member of OPT? Find out how you can get behind closed doors all year round and join at
Sunday 24th August 2014

Go behind closed doors with OPT

A-Z of Oxford Open Doors

Oxford Preservation Trust is highlighting the A-Z of it's popular Oxford Open Doors event on Twitter.

Follow @OxPresTrust to find out all about it or the hashtag #OxfordOpenDoors

Taking part in Oxford Open Doors? Please do tweet your events, pictures and experiences. 

Realtime information is available at  

From the Jam Factory to Oxford Town Hall, via the Fire Station and Hertford College, there is something for everyone.   

Not already a member of OPT? Find out how you can get behind closed doors all year round and join at

Thursday 21st August 2014

Oxford Open Doors opens for bookings

2014 Oxford Open Doors has formally opened!

Booking opened today for Oxford Preservation Trust's Oxford Open Doors programme. For full information and realtime booking details, visit 

Places opening for the first time include the brand new Oxford Brookes building, with exciting tours and family fun celebrating their 150th anniversary. Oxford's Registry Office is also opening, with a rare opportunity to see some of the birth marriage and death records kept here since 1st July 1837 including some famous names – like Agatha Christie and Winston Churchill.

Other highlights include the Science Fair showcasing medical advances at the Nuffield Department of medicine, the stunning Maggie's centre and Griffith Institute – world-famous home of the University’s Egyptology collection

Lincoln College is opening its doors this year,along with many other college buildings. Magdalen are holding an organ recital and handringing.  

We are grateful to the support of the University of Oxford, along with Oxford Brookes University, colleges, and all those who open their doors. We especially want to thank our volunteers who make Oxford Open Doors possible.

Not already a member of OPT? Find out how you can get behind closed doors all year round and join at

Tuesday 19th August 2014

Find out which doors will open for this year’s Oxford Open Doors

Coming soon....

Standing at the Registry office on the Castle site, the home of the judiciary where the High Sheriffs reigned supreme for hundreds of years, this year’s High Sheriff, Tony Stratton in full regalia, joined OPT director Debbie Dance to take a first look at the 2014 Oxford Open Doors brochure. 

The Registry office opens for the first time this year and housing all the birth, marriage certificates of Oxford residents, it includes some pretty famous people, and some of this will be on show over the weekend.  
Jacquie Bugeja, Head of Registration, Coroner's Services & Lead Manager for Cultural Services says “Visitors will have the chance for a tour to hear about the work of the Register Office and the Coroner’s Service, and view some of the birth marriage and death records kept here since 1st July 1837 including some famous names – like Agatha Christie and Winston Churchill as well as hear about some of the/our more unusual inquests”. 
Debbie Dance says ‘We are so excited about this year’s programme and never cease to be amazed by the hidden history that our Oxford buildings, they just keep on coming.  We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Oxford again – the key to the weekend’s success, of course.  This year’s programme opens places across the town and the University and Colleges and it wonderful to see how popular the weekend has become over the years’
Mixing the old with the new this year sees the Griffith Institute – world-famous home of the University’s Egyptology collection, Lincoln College (containing one of the city’s most well preserved early interiors including its medieval hall), together with the stunning new John Henry Brookes building at Oxford Brookes and the equally stunning new Maggie’s Oxford Centre designed by leading architects Wilkinson & Eyre. 
With this year’s Oxford Open Doors also celebrating the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, and his links with Oxford, the programme is endlessly rich.   
Debbie Dance, Director of Oxford Preservation Trust says  ‘We never run out of great places and great people to work with when we put the programme together and can only thank our many partners for the part they play.  This year the Oxford Bus company has put up posters on the buses so that as many people as possible will remember to come – we know we are in for a great weekend and we are looking forward to it.’      
The Oxford Open Doors brochure will be available from Monday 4th August. The online version will be available from 11 August with booking from 19 August. For more information see online or pick up a brochure from local libraries and cultural centres, the Tourist Information Office and Oxford Castle Unlocked. 
Monday 4th August 2014

Why not join Oxford Preservation Trust and Oxford Castle Unlocked at our free annual Archaeology Day event?

Discover Oxford's hidden history through a series of talks and a big dig at the Oxford Castle Quarter beach.

Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 July, 10.30am - 3pm

Saturday 12 July
At the Oxford Castle Quarter beach:
Secrets of the Sand 10:30am-12.30pm
Join us at the Oxford Beach to find out more about how archaeologists dig for finds, handle some real examples from Oxford Castle that are hundreds of years old, and see what you can uncover for yourself. Suitable for ages 4+
Sand Castle Competition 1.00pm-3.00pm
Build the most impressive sand castle you can using tools provided at the Oxford Castle Quarter beach for the chance to win a family ticket to Oxford Castle Unlocked. One winner will be picked at 2.00pm and one at 3.00pm. 
Sunday 13 July
Climb the historic castle mound for free on Sunday 13 July!
FREE Talks in the Key Learning Centre: 
The following talks will be available in the Key Learning Centre at Oxford Castle Unlocked, providing an insight into some of the recent archaeological research in the city. There's no need to book - just come along for an insight into the following fascinating topics:
10:30am St John's College - Mass Burial: Massacre or Misfortune with Professor A.M. Pollard FSA Professor of Archaeological Science Research Lab for Archaeology, University of Oxford
11:45am Fish and fishing in medieval and post-medieval Oxford with Dr Rebecca Nicholson, Head of Environmental Archaeology at Oxford Archaeology
1:00pm 'What's the purpose of a porpoise? Medieval diets, kitchens and waste' with David Radford, Oxford City Council Archaeologist
Wednesday 9th July 2014

OPT commended by national charity for Oxford Open Doors

Heritage Open Days has recognised OPT for its innovation, creativity and community engagement at Oxford Open Doors.

Oxford Open Doors is OPT’s local take on Heritage Open Days and is now a firm favourite in Oxford’s cultural calendar -  residents come in their 1,000s to be ‘tourists in their own City’, with over 20,000 visitors and 70% of them from Oxford or Oxfordshire. 

Debbie Dance, OPT Director says “We are delighted that OPT has had national recognition for Oxford Open Doors.   Now in its seventh year, we work hard to keep it fresh with something different to enjoy each year alongside the University, Colleges and other favourites.    We have new themes each year and are always impressed by the commitment of our many partners to doing something a bit special – and it’s all free of charge”.  
This year’s Oxford Open Doors 13/14 September will include the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and his Oxford links, plus WW1 centenary and commemorations. Other highlights so far include a Sheldonian concert, tours of Pembroke College’s rarely seen art collection, and Oxford Brookes University showing off their confident and award winning new £130 million John Henry Brookes Building – there is something for everyone to enjoy. 
Monday 7th July 2014

New dates announced for OPT work parties

Why not get involved?

Oxford Preservation Trust relies upon its growing army of volunteers to help out at land parties. Its great fun as well as being a huge support to our work.   

Dont be put off if you have never done it before as Andy will be there to show you the ropes! 

The new dates announced for 2014 are:

Wolvercote Lakes: 

Sunday 3rd of August

Sunday 31st of August

Sunday 14th of September

Sunday 12th of October

Sunday 23rd of November

Sunday 7th of December

Heyford Meadow/Simons Land:

Thursday 31st of July

Thursday 28th of August

Thursday 18th of September

Thursday 23rd of October

Thursday 20th of November


Thursday 18th of December

For more information, and to confirm attendance, contact Andy Gunn at

Tuesday 24th June 2014

Wolvercote Lakes launch a real hit

OPT delighted at the turn out for launch of Wolvercote Lakes

Over 250 people came along to OPT's launch of Wolvercote Lakes on Sunday, to see the Trust's newest community facility.

The sun was shining and there was tea and cake at the Lakes, with the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Tony Stratton, cutting the ribbon at Kingfisher Island at 11am alongside OPT Director Debbie Dance.

Since the gift of the Lakes in 2010 by Oxford resident Viv Kirk, OPT’s vision of opening them to the people of Oxford has never faltered.  The launch was a celebration of this achievement, thanks to the support of Grantscape, BBOWT and our many volunteers and supporters. 

The Lakes are now accessible to the public after extensive works to remove debris and litter, making it safe, cutting out invasive plants, replacing the railings and introducing walkways, birdhides, and shallows to encourage fish, birds and marine life.  Interpretation across the site will help everyone to enjoy looking out for the many creatures and plants that make the Lakes their home.

Debbie Dance, OPT Director, said ‘One of our main aims is to look after Oxford’s green setting, so this chance to add to the setting is wonderful’  ‘The goodwill of our many volunteers and supporters has been a delight and shows what can be achieved and we look forward to hearing how people are enjoying Oxford latest community wildlife space.’ 

Monday 9th June 2014

OPT opens Wolvercote Lakes for Festival of Nature

OPT are delighted to take part in BBOWT's Oxford Festival of Nature by opening up Wolvercote Lakes

OPT acquired Wolvercote Lakes in 2010 and we are thrilled to be open the area up as a community facility in June.

What better way to launch the Lakes than to take part in BBOWT's amazing Oxford Festival of Nature?

For more information, please visit

Wednesday 14th May 2014

OPT takes Oxford Heritage Walks on Tour

The OPT team were proud to showcase book 1 of the Oxford Heritage Walks series, ‘On Foot from Oxford Castle to St Giles’ at the Oxford Literary Festival on 29 March.

OPT Director Debbie Dance joined author Malcolm Graham and illustrator Edith Gollnast, treating guests to their ‘best bits’ of the book and setting the scene for the rest of the series. Featuring images from ‘On Foot’, Debbie quizzed Malcolm and Edith about their experiences of the City and how Oxford has changed, and continues to evolve.  

The event was well-attended, despite the glorious weather, and it was incredible how much local knowledge and insights that the team were able to pack into an hour. The questions asked by audience members at the end of the session demonstrated their engagement with the book as well as their interest in the journey of the series, along with the individual journeys of Malcolm and Edith.     

We would like to thank members and supporters who have made the book a success, and of course Malcolm and Edith, without whom the work would not have been possible. 

Thursday 3rd April 2014

Nominations sought for the OPT Awards 2014

Now in their 37th year the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards continue to go from strength to strength and celebrate those projects that make our City thrive. This is our chance to recognise the contribution of others and for everyone to share the conservation projects, new buildings, landscape and community projects, large or small, which are adding to Oxford and its setting. So, whether you are an owner, architect or just have a favourite project we would like to hear from you.

 Read more

Sunday 9th March 2014

Shakespeare Study Day Planned

Experts flock to Painted Room

 On 23 January the Painted Rooms will be alive with conversation when experts from Oxford and across the country come together to discuss the Painted Rooms to help OPT to learn more. 

With the support of English Heritage, OPT has commissioned a report from Oxford Archaeology which will form the heart of the discussion on the day.   

As one of Oxford’s most important buildings, it is still a hidden gem, with much still to discover about the full history of the building. 

During 2014 Oxford Preservation Trust will be looking at various options to ensure that the painted Rooms are looked after, can tell their story, and will allow the public to visit them.

 The Painted Room is becoming better known as the former Crown Tavern where William Shakespeare would stay with his friend John Davenant, innkeeper and Mayor of Oxford, on his way between London and Stratford.

Debbie Dance, Director of Oxford Preservation Trust says “It is going to be a great day and the opportunity to bring so many experts together at the rooms themselves will be invaluable in learning more. This is such an exciting project for OPT and for Oxford and we look forward to sharing what we learn, and taking a step further towards the right future for the Rooms. Thanks go to English Heritage without whom this would not be possible.”  

Kathy Davies from English Heritage South England said “English Heritage is very pleased to support the OPT in seeking to secure a viable, long-term future for this building. The first stage in this is to understand the significance of what we have here, what does the building have to tell us about the past. If we look carefully enough at the building we can discover this. By bringing together a group of experts in different fields, we can piece together the story it has to tell us”.

Monday 20th January 2014

Wolvercote Lakes

Latest update

 December: The Planning Application for the replacement gates and railings is now in, which will allow us to replace the current dilapidated boundary and give the Lakes a more inviting approach, with level access, suitable for use by wheelchairs and pushchairs. The railings will follow the same line as the existing along the Godstow Road, and, following consultation with the Conservation Officer, will match the appearance of the existing railings. The ivy will be kept and allowed to regenerate, and the work will be carried out over the winter to minimise the impact on bird habitats.
Read more about our work at Wolvercote

Tuesday 31st December 2013

OPT Awards 2013 - Results announced

Oxford Preservation Trust Awards in 2013 celebrate good building design and modern architecture

Good design and good modern architecture were much in evidence at the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards 2013, sponsored by Kemp & Kemp Property Consultants.
This has been an extraordinary year for the OPT Awards in the new building category, with the highest award of a plaque going to the stunning Edward King Chapel at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, a particularly popular award, having narrowly missed out on the Stirling Prize. 
The wonderful new quad at Pembroke College complete with its new bridge, also received a plaque as did the Gateway Buildings at St Anthony’s College.
The competition in the Conservation category was also high with plaques awarded to the restored University Church of St Mary the Virgin, to the former Radcliffe Infirmary, now the Radcliffe Humanities Building complete with its replaced Triton Fountain, and to Magdalen College for the sensitive restoration of its cloisters. 
Two more unusual but equally deserving projects are the external lighting at the Ultimate Picture Palace and the KIDS wall painting at the children’s hospital at the JRII.   
The Oxford Preservation Trust Environmental Awards are now in their 36th year and are judged by a panel of experts from across all walks of the City and Universities, chaired by Professor Malcolm Airs, an OPT trustee and eminent architectural historian. This year, the panel awarded eight plaques and eleven certificates across the categories of Buildings Conservation, New Buildings and Small Projects. 
Debbie Dance, Director of the Oxford Preservation Trust says “The  awards are OPT’s opportunity to give prominent local recognition to projects, large and small, and to recognise the teams that make them happen. They illustrate the vital role that positive design has across our community and how improvements to our physical environment shape the city”. 
Kemp & Kemp partner, Steven Sensecall, said.This year has seen strong competition and the judges have had tough decisions to make. Oxford is a special place and the City is very lucky to have landowners, developers and institutions that continue to bring forward buildings of such high quality."
Do you know of any projects in Oxford that deserve recognition in the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards 2014? Anyone can nominate, whether it is a community project or new building. If you have seen something that has impressed you please contact  e.cooper at

For full details see our 2013 Awards Brochure

Wednesday 13th November 2013

Overjoyed to win Best Promotional Campaign award at OCVA award ceremony against such strong competition

Monday 14th October 2013

Oxford Preservation Trust continues to open doors

Publishing a Book of Heritage Walks: ‘Oxford Castle on foot to St. Giles’

Following the success of Oxford Open Doors, Oxford Preservation Trust has launched the first in a series of ‘Heritage Walks - On Foot from Oxford Castle to St. Giles’. Written by Malcolm Graham, local historian, with wonderful illustrations by Edith Gollnast, former conservation officer, this is a real treat for anyone who loves Oxford and wants to know more.

Focusing on the area from Oxford Castle to St Giles, Malcolm explores the history and evolution of the local street scene, with plenty of local stories and tales of hidden gems. Edith in her own words has tried to capture the ‘cracks and crevices’ opening our eyes to the everyday and the hidden features.

To mark the publication Malcolm Graham will be talking about ‘Oxford on Foot’ on Thursday 3rd October at 6pm at the Key Learning Centre at Oxford Castle. Tickets £12.00 or £8.00 for Oxford Preservation Trust members -book direct.

Debbie Dance, Director says “Malcolm knows so much, and can tell it so well – we just wanted to find a way to capture this and to share it with as wide an audience as possible. Edith’s illustrations across the text, make it even more compelling”.

Oxford Heritage Walks: On Foot from Oxford Castle to St Giles is available online or from the OPT office at 10 Turn Again Lane.
Malcolm Graham will be available to sign copies at the Key Learning Centre next Thursday.
This is the first in a series of Heritage Walks, opening up Oxford’s streets, to share their history and stories across the City.
Oxford Preservation Trust relies upon its members to fund their work all-year round to run events, undertake projects, organise Oxford Open Doors and promote positive planning.
Friday 27th September 2013

Oxford features in Daily Telegraph Travel Guide

Gail Simmons shares her special Oxford places - including ones which are special to us too.
Tuesday 24th September 2013

On Foot from Oxford Castle to St Giles

The first in a series of Oxford Heritage Walks – available from 10th September.

Written by Malcolm Graham, with illustrations by Edith Gollnast and maps by Alun Jones.  A treasure-chest of information exploring the history and evolution of this area of Oxford. Covering Oxford Castle, St Giles, Little Clarendon Street etc

Order your copy now
OPT Member (10% discount) £8.99 (free p&p)
Non-Member – £11.99 (including £2 for p&p)
Monday 5th August 2013

Roger Dudman Way

Oxford Preservation Trust’s Director, Debbie Dance, has welcomed the decision by Oxford City Council to establish an independent review into the planning decisions that led to the construction of controversial student accommodation at Roger Dudman Way.

At the last meeting of the West Area Planning Committee, councillors voted to set up a working group which would discuss and agree the terms of reference for the review. This is likely to happen in September.
Oxford Preservation Trust is pleased that the planning process will be looked at by an independent person and that OPT will play its part in this.
OPT is interested in a wider exploration of design throughout the City and has developed this as a theme as part of this year’s Oxford Open Doors, the Trust’s free annual heritage weekend, encouraging an interest in the many good new buildings that sit alongside the old in and around the City.
Oxford Preservation Trust has also submitted our views on the importance of good design within the built environment to the Government’s current review of Architecture and the Built Environment, being led by Sir Terry Farrell, for Culture Minister Ed Vaizey at the DCMS.
Wednesday 31st July 2013

Funds granted to secure future of Shakespeare’s Painted Room

Following the success of the ‘Painted Room tours in April, Oxford Preservation Trust and their partners at Oxford Castle Unlocked have joined forces to ensure the Room is accessible to the public.

Since taking on the lease last year, Oxford Preservation Trust has been working hard to find a way ahead in the long-term which will allow the Room, its content and their history to be recognised, restored, cared for and shared with the public. 

Vital support has been given from Oxford Castle Unlocked and English Heritage, who have just awarded Oxford Preservation Trust with a grant of £30,000 to undertake conservation and exploratory work relating to the original structure of the building and condition of the room as well as investigate the state of the paintings, which date back to the 16th century.
Debbie Dance said “I am delighted that we have secured English Heritage funds to carry out important research to enable us to secure the Painted Room’s future. This forms part of OPT’s long-term strategy to conserve the Room and make it accessible to the public”.  She added “I am grateful to Oxford Castle Unlocked for their continued support and contributions. Their themed tours proved a huge hit with the public, attracting over 700 visitors in less than a week, and I am thrilled that they have scheduled more dates”. 
Michael Speight, general manager at Oxford Castle Unlocked, commented, “After a phenomenal response from visitors to the Painted Room in April, I’m delighted that Oxford Preservation Trust and Oxford Castle Unlocked have decided to come together once again to open up the Room for a further week from Monday 17 June”.
David Brock, English Heritage’s Principal Inspector for Historic Buildings in the South East, said "We are very pleased to help the Oxford Preservation Trust rescue this remarkable building. It has extraordinary wall paintings which tell us about the lives of the people who lived there in the late 16th century and it has a strong connection with William Shakespeare. We hope our grant will lead to a better understanding of the historical significance of this building and help ensure it has a viable future."
The themed tours will run from 17th to 23rd June 11:00 - 15:30 with tours every 30 minutes.
Monday 10th June 2013

Heyford Meadow wins the CRT Natural Environment Award

at the Canal & River Trust Renaissance Awards 2013

We are delighted that our restoration of Heyford Meadow has won the Natural Environment Award at the 2013 Canal & River Trust Renaissance Awards 2013.
The award celebrates projects which have contributed to the improvement, interpretation or restoration of the natural environment and added to the public's enjoyment of the waterway.

Friday 24th May 2013

Community Nature Park gets national recognition

Oxford Preservation Trust’s first Nature Park has been shortlisted for a Waterways Renaissance Award 2013 by the Canal and River Trust.

Oxford Preservation Trust cleared over 250 tons of rubbish from 11 acres of water meadow at Sandford-on-Thames, and with the support of the local community, including Four Pillars Hotel Group, BBOWT, Pond Conservation Million Ponds Project and Trust for Oxfordshire's Environment / Waste Recycling Environmental, transformed it into a wildlife haven for people to enjoy and where kestrels, kingfishers, and snakes can be seen.
The Awards judge was keen to see the work at first hand, joining Director, Debbie Dance, and local volunteers for a recent visit.  Debbie says
This is one of my favourite places.  It is easy to forget what a tip it was, when you see it today.  Even in the depths of winter we could reach the river using the board walk we built for just that purpose, so it works.”

The Four Pillars Hotel Group not only helped to fund the project, but now provide volunteers to keep the meadows in shape.  Wendy Procter, Regional General Manager for Oxfordshire adds her congratulations 
“Many of our young people come from other countries and find themselves many miles from home.  The opportunity to be a part of the community and to enjoy the fresh air and exercise is a winning combination.”   

More on the Canal & River Trust, and their Renaissance Awards

Tuesday 19th February 2013

Oxford Castle - an example of highly successful heritage-led regeneration

New English Heritage publication cites Oxford Castle regeneration project

English Heritage have released a new practical toolkit for heritage-led regeneration Heritage Works. The document targets owners, developers and local authorities, giving ‘good-practice guidelines’ encouraging success in historic building regeneration. Oxford Castle, and the involvement of Oxford Preservation Trust, features as an example of regeneration which has opened up a new area of the city, celebrating its heritage, achieving commercial success and creating more jobs in the city.

Read the full document here  (Oxford Castle pg 17)
Find out more about OPT's Castle Project , Oxford Castle Unlocked  or the Oxford Castle Quarter . 
Tuesday 19th February 2013

Congratulations to our Director - Debbie Dance

Debbie was awarded an OBE for services to Heritage in the New Year Honours list.

As Director of the Oxford Preservation Trust for 14 years, Debbie has been at the forefront of the battle to protect some of the city’s oldest features, but she has also helped create some of the city’s newest attractions - listing the work at Oxford Castle among her proudest achievements.
Debbie says: “It is fantastic to have been honoured like this and there are lots of people in my time as Director of the Trust I would like to thank. We opened Oxford Castle to the public for the first time in its 1,000-history and I am incredibly proud of it."
Read more

Wednesday 2nd January 2013

Philip Pullman continues Oxford Preservation Trust’s tree planting tradition 75 years on...

To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Oxford Preservation Trust and Phillip Pullman will plant six English Oaks, one for each decade of her reign, on Trust land, alongside Marston Ferry Link Road at 2.30pm on Sunday 25 November.

It will be exactly 75 years to the time and date since the trees in Sunderland Avenue were planted, the first trees planted by the Trust to mark the coronation of King George VI.  The Trust went on to plant trees throughout Oxford, many of them in memory of people who had died in WWII.

The trees in Sunderland Avenue have since been immortalised in Philip Pullman’s bestselling book, Northern Lights.

Debbie Dance Director says “we are delighted that Philip Pullman was inspired by our trees in Sunderland Avenue, and with his strong links to the City, and his love of trees, we cannot think of anyone more fitting to do this for us.”

The tree planting has been paid for by kind donations from the Oxford Preservation Trustees and former Trustees, local Marston members, and land agents Savills.

Read more about the Trust's history of tree planting and the Trust's land at Marston

Friday 23rd November 2012

Thousands celebrate their city- Oxford Open Doors

Cartwheeling in the Quad will be some memory for the younger visitors who joined the crowd of 4,500 at All Souls this Sunday. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of local people took advantage of Oxford Open Doors to find out more about their City. With nearly 300 things to see and do, there was something for everyone, with Hertford, Trinity and Queen’s Colleges opening for the first time. The town was there too, with some unusual venues including the Old Mortuary, in St. Aldate’s, now the home of Oxfordshire Community Volunteer Association OCVA, the secret tunnel into the Prison under County Hall, and Oxfam opening their doors, this year celebrating their 70th anniversary this year. “We had so many visits from local people who had fascinating connections to the building. A lady shared her memories from working at the Mortuary in the 1960’s and a retired fireman told us tales of dangerous poison and protective clothing. It was a great chance to tell people about our work, and to encourage new people to volunteer.” Alison Baxter, Chief Executive of OCVA "Oxfam started out in Oxford back in 1942 and we remain very much at the heart of the community here 70 years on. We are delighted that so many local people joined us for our Open House. It was an opportunity for people to find out more about our work from responding to emergencies to campaigning for a world where everyone has enough to eat. Our pop-up Oxfam shop was bustling all day and the challenge for the quickest time to put up one of our emergency water taps was hotly contested! I hope the experience has inspired many of our visitors to make a regular donation, support our campaigning or get involved with one of the many other ways to support Oxfam." Dame Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of Oxfam Families and fun featured large, and at the Town Hall a ‘City of Dreams’ appeared, all built of card, paper and foil, complete with river, stadium and flying balloons. Oxford Preservation Trust’s own Oxford Castle celebrated local brewing heritage, saw old cars, eco cars, free visits, a forge, a tank and soldiers all enjoyed by the 8,000 visitors who came. With Open Doors 2012 celebrating Oxford’s Industrial heritage, the free canal boat trips were very popular, sailing past the LMS Railway Swingbridge, one of only two moving bridges on the Thames (the other is Tower Bridge), with Oxford Preservation Trust on hand to reveal its secrets, prior to the restoration project which starts next year. Oxford Preservation Trust, who organise Oxford Open Doors in partnership with the University of Oxford have been thrilled by the whole weekend “What better way to discover what’s going on right on the doorstep, and to celebrate and enjoy, and be proud of all Oxford has to offer. Lots of hard work goes into arranging Oxford Open Doors, with the support of so many people who open their doors, lead the walks and volunteer over the weekend and we thank them all. We were pleased to meet so many local supporters and to join up new members over the weekend.” Debbie Dance, Director, Oxford Preservation Trust “Once again Oxford Open Doors has been a great success. It is excellent to see so many local people taking the opportunity to see inside the University’s buildings, the places where we live and work. We have been delighted to support Oxford Preservation Trust in making this happen.” Professor Ewan McKendrick, Registrar, University of Oxford Did you attend Oxford Open Doors 2012? Please get in touch and fill in our online feedback form at You can find out more about the Oxford Preservation Trust, Oxford Open Doors and the benefits of membership by calling Lauren at the Trust on 01865242918.
Tuesday 11th September 2012

Oxford City Heritage Asset Register

The Oxford City Heritage Asset Register criteria and forms are now available online

Read More

Wednesday 15th August 2012

Youngsters really dig this archaeology event

Archaeology Day 2012
Friday 20th July 2012

National Planning Policy Framework published

The Government has published the National Planning Policy Framework which will guide planning in the future.   

OPT is encouraged to see that the NPPF, published on Tuesday 28 April, has included a definition of sustainable development which will allow due consideration to be given to matters such as green belt designations, historic buildings and conservation areas, and environmental and landscape considerations in assessing future development.
OPT will work with the national planning framework seeking to influence new development for Oxford and its surrounds in a positive way.  Whilst we understand the often pressing need for new development in and around the city, we are keen that such development is done in a considered and responsible way.  We do not want to see an Oxford, spoiled by our generation, but one where future generations look back on the work of the early 21st century with pride.   
Read Greg Clark's Statement to the House of Commons here
Thursday 29th March 2012

Prime Minister, David Cameron, presents Four Pillars Hotels with Green Tourism Business Scheme silver award for all six hotels

Delighted to read that our partner at Heyford Meadow and Simons Land has been given a Green Tourism Award

<Read more>

Wednesday 28th March 2012

Discover Oxford's Architecture

Brochure now available to download

Find out more

Friday 24th February 2012

Oxford Covered Market – keeping the spirit of the place

Recent press articles cover the personal support of the Prime Minister, David Cameron for Mary Portas and her study into the future of the High Street, using words like individuality, independent retailers, and markets – things already on offer in the Oxford Covered Market. Oxford City Council recently let a large unit to a national chain – somewhat against the spirit of the place. We are wondering if there is any merit in bringing together a group of interested stakeholders to work with the City to ensure that the essence of this much loved Oxford place is not lost.

Friday 17th February 2012

Read the latest results from our Acid Grassland Restoration Project


Monday 18th July 2011