Firoz Kassam’s company Firoka (London Park Ltd) paid £6 million for the Manor Ground, and just three months later (in January 2002) sold it for £12 million to Nuffield Hospitals, after gaining planning permission for a hospital and 87 flats on the site. But Oxford United creditors failed to gain any extra money from the £6m profit.
Kassam came in at No. 272 on the Sunday Times Rich List for 2002, and was reckoned to be worth £120m. This is 52 places higher and £20m richer than last year.
Demolition of the stadium and supporters’ club began on 29 April 2002, with building work for the new Acland Hospital and 87 flats starting in August.
See the Manor Ground development subsection
Headington shopping centre suffered from a spate of broken windows in 2002.
Janet Young died in 2002 at the age of 75. She grew up at 11/13 New High Street (the large grey house called Stone Rise) and attended Headington School.
Author Joanna Trollope has opened Headington’s first theatre, in the grounds of Headington School. The school says that many events at this £1.5m, 260-seat performing arts centre will be open to the public, with money raised going to Douglas House Hospice.
The 10/10A bus-route was split in two on Sunday 5 August 2002. The No. 10 would now terminate its current route at Templars Square, while the No. 10A would run from the railway station to the John Radcliffe Hospital via the Cowley Road and Hollow Way. This meant that residents of Wood Farm now had to catch two buses to get to the city centre during weekdays. The Chiltern Queens 10C and 10D service would still run on the original city circle route in the evening and on Sundays, reduced to an hourly service.
Barton Information Technology Hub in Underhill Circus opened in 2002 after a £25,000 refurbishment. Run by the county council, it included twelve new computers with free Internet access.
Somerfield reopened on 14 November 2001 after its £1 million refit. The manager, Colin Sheriff, said, “We’ve listened to our customers in Headington have have created a concept to deliver what they want from the store.”
This concept included a toilet for the disabled and a baby-changing area, and a new entrance in Old High Street.
Residents in Windmill Road were angry when the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre chopped down a row of mature birch and beech trees screening the car-park.
Work to rebuild the hospital started in May 2002, to be done in two phases (with the hospital moving into one half while the other was demolished). The £35 million cost was funded by the PFI (Private Finance Initiative).
Just like the rest of Oxford, Headington has had a number of brothels in recent years, most notably the Kitten Club (which moves around) and “Sasha and Friends” (which is permanently based in the London Road). This is a fact not usually publicized in the local newspapers, which enjoy a considerable revenue from the advertisements of these “massage parlours”. On 11 December 2001 two men from the Headington area were found guilty of robbing the London Road brothel on 23 December 2000.
Headington councillor Stephen Fairweather-Tall pledged to bring up the subject of how to remove brothels from residential areas at Headington’s Area Committee meeting.
At the end of 2001 a planning application was submitted to demolish the Bell and to erect “a three-storey (with third floor in roof space) dwelling, incorporating existing two-storey building at rear to create four-bedroom house with garage accessed from The Croft and on-plot parking space accessed from Old High Street”.
The pub was built in 1930 as a house for the landlord of the Old Bell, a beerhouse that occupied the seventeenth-century stables next door. The original stables/beerhouse have already been replaced by a modern private house.
2002 was the seventh year of the City Council’s ten-year Management Plan. The plan includes a description of the trees that were in this 19-acre park in 1880 (transcript provided here), and its main aim is to introduce rare and interesting trees and to develop it as an arboretum. The council, in partnership with Oxford Brookes, is now proposing to link Headington Hill Hall with its park again. At present, although the public are allowed in the grounds of both, they are not able to cross from one to the other. Long-term aims include developing Dairy Lodge (opposite Cheney Lane) for educational purposes and improving the Marston Road entrance.
The disbanding of the Oxford City Centre Management Partnership (replaced by a city centre company run by a board of business representatives and councillors) means that Headington lost the services of Sophie Lancaster, who was seconded to the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions for 12 months.
Sculpture in Bury Knowle Park:
Korky Paul unveiled Headington subway art:
George Williams celebrated his 90th birthday on 4 May 2001. He started working for his father, the eponymous G. H. Williams, when he was 13: the shop then occupied the then Cotswold Collection shop across the road, and the firm made bicycles and sold petrol as well as doing repairs. He was still working 77 years later in the smaller cycle shop near Bury Knowle Park with his son, daughter, and retired son-in-law.
His father, the eponymous G. H. Williams, can be found in the 1891 census as a schoolboy of nine living with his family at 117 Lime Walk.
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Vente Tsunami was the new name given to Styles Hairdressing in Windmill Road in 2002
Top to Tail, 4D New High Street: Application 02/02040/FUL for change of use from dog-grooming parlour (Class A1) to estate agency/ financial services (Class A2) was approved at the end of 2002. (The shop is outside the boundary of the Headington District Shopping Centre.)
Spiers Blake An application for the change of use of the upstairs offices at 95 London Road to a dental surgery was also allowed.
On Tuesday 23 October 2001 a motorcyclist was hit by a car in the middle of the London Road opposite Kennett Road, at much the same spot as Mrs Ann Weygang (64) of Horwood Close was struck down just over two weeks earlier: she later died in hospital. Another woman was killed just over a year ago crossing the London Road here.
On Saturday 27 October 2001 at 8.50 p.m. five cars were involved in an accident at the Windmill Road junction with Langley Close.
The Oxford Centre for Enablement opened at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Headington in 2002. The former Rivermead Rehabilitation Centre, Ritchie Russell House, the carer charity Crossroads, Dialability, and the Oxford Wheelchair Service would all transfer to this new £9.1m centre.
Cancer Unit. The Government Health Secretary announced in 2002 that a new £60m cancer unit was to be built at the Churchill Hospital, opening in 2007:
Transplant Centre. An appeal was launched in 2002 to build a new transplant centre at the Churchill Hospital:
MRI suite. Actress Sheila Hancock unveiled a plaque at the Churchill Hospital on 12 September 2002 to mark the opening of a £1.75m MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) suite:
Trauma Unit. A new £8.5m trauma unit with 56 new beds opened at the John Radcliffe Hospital on 29 October 2002. It was built in the record time of 18 months on the site of a former carpark:
Diabetes Centre. The Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism (OCDEM) opened in 2002
Following Iain Duncan Smith’s visit to Oxford on 31 October, The Times of 1 November 2002 focussed on Headington Conservative Club (on the corner of Windmill Road and Bateman Street), and local Headington people’s views of the Tory leader.
Golden Jubilee in Headington, 2002
Mathew Clulee Hairdressing in London Road was awarded the title of favourite salon by the national magazine Hair in 2002.
These were remembered in the Oxford Mail of 2001: details here.
The contra-flow cycle lanes in Kennett Road and New High Street became operational
It was announced that Harry Robinson of London Roadould not be playing Professor Albus Dumbledore in the next Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban .
The Sunday Times of 27 October 2002 stated:
”An outsider to play the snowy-bearded Dumbledore is Harry Robinson, a bit-part actor who plays a wizard on the stairs greeting children as they arrive at Hogwarts in the first two films. He has previously played small roles in films such as Shadowlands and also acted as Harris’s double.”
Dr Clive Waddington of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne excavated the field owned by Oxford Preservation Trust opposite the Black Boy in the hope of finding the remains of Ethelred’s Palace, and discovered Mesolithic (Stone Age) material on the site. This indicates that people have lived in Headington for at least 12,000 years.
John Moore Heritage Services investigated the Manor Ground at the beginning of July prior to the start of building work and found a large amount of pottery believed to date from the first century BC. There is likely to be a burial site on the settlement, which extended northwards towards the John Radcliffe Hospital. All the artefacts found on the Manor Ground were due to go to the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock.
Residents in Sandfield Road say that their road has become a rat-run since the Sandfield Nursery was built at the JR Hospital.
The Oxford Times of 2 November 2001 advertised a house in Headington for £1.5 million: it is North End in Jack Straw’s Lane.
Totem pole at 35 New High Street:
The Radcliffe Infirmary gained permission to move to Headington:
Trees of Upper Meadow:
St Hilda’s plans for youth hostel in Jack Straw’s Lane
A consultation document on a revised scheme was sent to central Headington residents by the county council, which in 2002 took over responsibility for traffic management in Oxford from the city. Some roads showed a small reduction in the number of parking spaces generally. The “residents’ only” parking signs would have to be removed from Norton Close, Nursery Close, and Cecil Sharp Place because no authorization for the signs was obtained by the city council; and the council admitted that restrictions in the Lime Walk area were not being enforced because the road markings had worn away.