The Blackbird Leys Estate, Oxford: ‘Never accepted as part of the city proper’

Municipal Dreams

This is the 200th post on the blog.  I’ll be participating this week in the ‘Architecture, Citizenship, Space: British Architecture from the 1920s to the 1970s‘ conference at Oxford Brookes University.  For that reason, I hope you’ll forgive a repost – the first to date – of this piece on the Blackbird Leys Estate which seemed appropriate. Rosamund West, who contributed an earlier post on the blog, will be there too, speaking on ‘Replanning Communities through Architecture and Art: the post-war London County Council’. 

Blackbird Leys, situated on the south-eastern periphery of Oxford, is to all appearances a pretty ordinary, not to say humdrum, council estate.  But it’s achieved notoriety.  Some of this is typical of unloved and maligned marginal estates throughout the country but it’s loomed larger in Blackbird Leys and came to a peak in 1991 when three days of rioting followed a police crackdown…

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