Jericho has always been an interesting neighbourhood, inspiring poets (Betjeman), artists (the Pre-Raphaelites) and writers (Philip Pullman). Dating back to Saxon times, it offered refuge in the 17th century to those travelling from the north after the city gates had closed. Jericho House is now known as The Jericho Tavern, a thriving pub/restaurant and music venue with its modern claim to fame (Radiohead & Supergrass both started out playing gigs here in their early years).
The area grew substantially as workers for the collection of industries, including Oxford University Press, needed somewhere to live. Over the years the area declined into such dereliction that it was nearly demolished in the 60s and the canal filled in to make way for a road. However, after a public outcry saved the historic locale it’s now a coveted place to live. In fact the price of a two-bedroom worker’s cottage is eye watering.
Wander around the back streets and you’ll find 3 pubs within a spitting distance of each other, one of the best Lebanese restaurants in town, numerous restaurants and cafes, an independent cinema, a deli, a boutique, bookshop, pottery shop and several funky hairdressers.
Philip Pullman calls Jericho ‘vivid and interesting’ and used the area in his Dark Materials trilogy. On a foggy autumnal night, strolling along the canal or down a street where cobbles still exist, or walking past the landmark of St Barnabas Church, you don’t need much more to be inspired.