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Seven Roads in Summertown:
Voices from an Oxford Suburb

Perilla Kinchin
with an introduction by Paul Thompson

from the reviews |  the author  |  bibliographic details

'It's much more varied and interesting than it looks from the outside, and there's an awful lot going on. It's amazing how much you can say about a single road!' (Peter Clarke)

Based on interviews with a wide range of residents (of Lonsdale, Portland, Hamilton, Victoria, King's Cross, and Lucerne Roads and Hawskswell Gardens), this book examines the history of a small middle-class neighbourhood since its beginnings a century ago. It looks at the development of the roads and what people have done to their houses, at lives both 'ordinary' and outstanding, at education, work, shopping, and at the nature of neighbourly relations. As Paul Thompson writes in his introduction, 'We have here a rare window into a community world whose significance has been too long neglected.'

Much here is typical, and would be echoed in similar streets across the land. Yet the influx of academics into what was earlier a largely 'town' population (a process beginning with notable refugees from Nazi Germany in the late 1930s) has made these unassuming roads unusual and cosmopolitan too. Secretaries and surgeons, firemen and Nobel Prize winners have lived here in a neighbourly social mix threatened only recently by steeply rising house prices. The book gives us both the particularities of interesting lives, conveyed with the vividness of the spoken word, and insight into wider social change during the twentieth century. It does much to challenge the commonly dismissive attitude to suburbs.


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FROM THE REVIEWS

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THE AUTHORS
Perilla Kinchin
studied Classics at Cambridge and came to Oxford as a graduate student. She taught part-time for Trinity and Merton Colleges before a change of direction brought her to writing and publishing in the field of social history, design history, and oral history She established White Cockade Publishing in 1988.

Paul Thompson, who took his degree and doctorate at Oxford, is Research Professor in Sociology at the University of Essex. He is a pioneer of oral history in Europe and author of the international classic The Voice of the Past.


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BIBLIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS
ISBN 9781873487136 paperback £15 (inc p&p)
Published in association with the Seven Road Oral History Project, November 2006
232 pp., 240 x 170 mm., 158 b&w ill., bibliog., index
SOCIAL / ORAL HISTORY