Victorian & Edwardian Oxfordshire illustrates through words and pictures the county in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was a time of change for all levels of society. In the countryside, agriculture was becoming increasingly mechanized and there were bitter struggles over agricultural wages. In Oxford, significant social changes were taking place, the first colleges for women opened in 1879, religious tests in the universities were abolished in 1871 and in 1877 dons acquired the permission to marry. By 1912 William Morris had made his first car in Oxford and begun a process of industrialization and employment opportunity hitherto undreamt of.
The area covered by this book is that of the old county, before 1974 and the reorganization of county boundaries. The photographs, printed here in sepia, depict the farmer and his labourer in the countryside, the traditional industries and the interaction of the city and the university in Oxford. The home life of rich and poor, sports and pastimes, traditional country customs, religious life and education are all depicted in this collection.
The text, composed of a series of extracts gathered from a variety of contemporary sources, helps to bring alive these glimpses of life in the county of a time that is only just outside living memory.