Uncomfortable Oxford

Uncomfortable Oxford is inviting us to take part in a tour which challenges the idealised, rose-tinted view of Oxford with a more hard hitting reality tomorrow at 3pm (October 23).

Visiting spots that wouldn’t normally be part of a guided tour, Uncomfortable Oxford aims to provoke new ways of seeing the city’s landscape and its history, a far cry from the Brideshead Revisited/Inspector Morse image of the city.

From North Oxford to Jericho, Oxford’s red light district to Cutteslowe’s ‘Berlin Wall’, no stone is left unturned.

Uncomfortable Oxford is all about what can we learn from alternative perspectives of Oxford’s history?” ” Paula Larsson, Olivia Durand, and Waqas Mirza, the Uncomfortable Oxford team, say.

“Our tours will give both residents and visitors to the city an insight into the way Oxford developed and the social history of the communities who have lived there, unearthing their different narratives.”

Uncomfortable Oxford

“In Jericho, for example,” continues Olivia, “once the city’s ‘Red Light’ District, we might illuminate the early history of Oxford’s working class. There’s a real contrast between the area’s industrial roots, the poverty found there in Georgian times, and the well-to-do bohemian vibe today.”

“We hope that locals will stop and look again at the places or things they’ve walked past a hundred times and wonder what they mean and what they show”

The tour also focuses on the university’s elitist literary contradictions highlighted by the likes of Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure (also a famous pub in Jericho) and author Virginia Woolf.

“Jude’s life is wasted trying to get into a fictional Oxford (barely disguised as Christminster), and, as a woman, Virginia Woolf was not allowed into Oxford’s libraries, and yet her books are now stacked high in the Radcliffe Camera.

“So the tour is eye-opening,” Olivia points out, “because these places are as important to the development of the city as the iconic buildings and the more traditional places on the standard tourist trail.”

“We hope that locals will stop and look again at the places or things they’ve walked past a hundred times and wonder what they mean and what they show.”

Cowley Road features in Uncomfortable Oxford’s tour

The immigration experience is also addressed, particularly along Cowley Road where many people who moved to Oxford over the years have had difficult experiences.

To book go to https://if-oxford.com/event/original-uncomfortable-oxford-tour-2/

For more info on Uncomfortable Oxford go to: https://www.uncomfortableoxford.co.uk/walking-tours

IF Oxford the Science and Ideas Festival runs until the end of October with hundreds of exciting events to choose from: https://if-oxford.com/welcome-page/ Read about it here: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/its-back-if-oxford-announces-stunning-line-up-for-2021s-grand-science-and-ideas-festival-extravaganza-with-100-events/