Statement of significance

A public area for children was gifted by Rev’d Dr L P Jacks in 1951. OJMF is off Kiln Lane in Risinghurst, Oxford. The field has extensive and an up-to-date enclosed pay area with a variety of equipment. It is adjacent to the much larger Risinghurst Recreation Ground.

Historical context

The memorial field was a gift from Rev’d Dr Lawence Pearsall Jacks in memory of his wife Olivia. It was particularly designated for children, with the wish that play would be supervised by an adult.

Early Ordnance Survey (OS) maps show a field with boundaries, as today. Apart from a change of play equipment, tree growth and the planting of a hedge, the field remains as it was in 1950.

The field

The 0.5 ha field lies at the south end of Kiln Lane. It is enclosed by trees to the west and south with a high hedge on the north side. There are two entrances, one from Kiln Lane and one from Risinghurst Recreation Ground. The main entrance from Kiln Lane has iron gates and a pedestrian access gate. The original wooden gates were moon shaped and hung on two brick pillars with a memorial stone inset into each pillar. These stones are now displayed into a low brick wall outside the field at the Kiln Road entrance.

The principal horticultural feature in the field is the groups of older plane trees on the south side. More recently on the west side five native trees have been planted, as has the ‘Jubilee Hedge’ on the north side. The latest feature is the creation of a wildflower bed, at the southeast end of the park, bordering the spinney which is part of Risinghurst Recreation Ground.

Current use

The play area, enclosed by a low hedge, is equipped with swings, climbing frame and roundabout. The grass outside the play area has plenty of space for young children to exercise and play.

Designation status

OJMF is run by a charity with the remit of providing ‘buildings./facilities/open space for children/young people to enable them to engage in play and amateur sports’.

Ownership and access

The land is under the direction of the Risinghurst and Sandhills Parish Council and The Olive Jacks Memorial Field Charity. It is open to the public during daylight hours.

Name of district

Parish of Risinghurst and Sandhills, Oxford City.

Grid reference

SP 562 068

Sources of information

Maps

Ordnance Survey (1960) 1:2500. SP60 – C series, Survey/Revised 1919-1956, published 1960 © Crown copyright and database rights 2021

Photograph

Oxford Parks: Kiln Lane Gateway to Olive Jacks Play Park with plaques, Picture Oxon (POX0104340) 1969.

Websites

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Jacks, Lawrence Pearsall (accessed July 2021)

Risinghurst and Sandhills Parish Tree Condition Survey 2018 (accessed August 2021)

Full research report, with Risinghurst Recreation Ground – Olive Jacks Memorial Field

Arrival 27th July 1921

The Botanic Gardens

Magdalen College

The bike ride from Woodstock to Oxford would have been along the same road as today but a much quieter road. The 1921 [Oxford and District special edition one inch map] shows the road  passing by Yarnton, over the Oxford Canal, through Peartree Hill, past Upper Wolvercote and down the Woodstock Road. As Loyal and Sam arrived in Oxford on the afternoon of the 27th July, it was possibly quite a leisurely ride.

The following day they manage to squeeze in visits to the Botanic Gardens, Magdalen College, a glimpse of Merton, lunch at the University Museum, a flash past Wadham, St John’s College, the Bodleian (Duke Humphrey’s), the Radcliffe Camera and All Souls College.

In the Botanic Gardens Loyal was able to identify a tree that he had been unable to at Blenheim – (possibly) the ‘Cypress’ planted by ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II.  The specimen he recognised at the Botanic Gardens was a Taxodium disticheum – the cypress that Loyal may have been familiar with from the swampy south eastern States of America.  The tree planted in 1840 was unfortunately severely damaged by a freak gust of wind and the top snapped off.  It had to be felled in 1995.  To celebrate the 400 anniversary of the gardens (2021) it has been decided to plant a Taxodium very close to the original spot where the first tree grew.

Just over the road at Magdalen College, Loyal was greatly impressed with the ‘most beautiful tower  . . .but the finest thing there is the meadow with the deer, the walk along the Cherwell and best of all Addison’s walk with the beautiful trees overhanging’