Headington history: People

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Elizabeth Jennings (1926–2001)

Elizabeth Joan Cecil Jennings was born in Boston, Lincolnshire on 18 July 1926, the younger daughter of Henry Cecil Jennings and Mary Helen Turner, who were married at Hereford in 1923.

The family moved to Oxford when she was six. Being a Roman Catholic, she was first sent to Rye St Antony School in Headington, but later moved on to Oxford High School. The 1939 Register shows her living with her family at 431 Banbury Road, Oxford, aged 13, with her occupation given as “unpaid domestic duties”. Her father was now the Medical Officer of Health for Oxfordshire.

Elizabeth went on to read English at St Anne’s College in Oxford from 1944 to 1947.

After working in advertising, Elizabeth Jennings became an assistant at Oxford City Library, where she remained until 1958. Her first collection of poems was published in 1953.

She spent her later years living in a bedsit at Unity House, 8 St Andrew’s Lane. When not writing there, she took the bus down to Oxford and sat in cafés and pubs reading most of the day.

Elizabeth Jennings died on 26 October 2001 at the age of 75 at a care home in Bampton and wass buried in Wolvercote Cemetery on 24 January 2002 (see grave).

Elizabeth Jennings Way which runs from the Woodstock Road westwards and crosses the canal is named after this poet


Secret poets revealed” (Oxford Mail, 18 June 1998)

Note that there is a much fuller entry on Elizabeth Jennings
in the online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Wikipedia: Elizabeth Jennings

© Stephanie Jenkins

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