Last modified: 2012-01-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: oxfordshire | oxford |
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Oxford itself used a banner of the arms (a red bull on white over wavy blue
line - canting on the city name).
James Dignan, 11 February 2005
The situation with the city council, which occupies Oxford Town Hall, (opened
1897, when Oxford was a town and not a city, thus Town Hall) is somewhat
different. They have two flags, the first of which it has used for many years
and is a banner of arms. It is (please forgive my lack of knowledge of the
correct heraldic terms) as James describes, (his memory is very good), except
some parts of the oxen (Oxenford, Oxford) particularly its hooves, are coloured
yellow, I believe also the tip of his tail, but I will verify this and get a
photograph. The second is of the same dimensions, but is a sort of stylised
version of the banner of arms in blue and white, akin to the logo of the city
council, which can be seen at their web site
oxford.gov.uk at the top left. Both of these flags are only ever flown from
the flagpole above the main entrance to the Town Hall, the former on occasions
of civic importance such as Mayor Making, although being a city, that ceremony
involves a Lord Mayor, the ceremony itself dating from the item when Oxford was
a town (with a Mayor) and not a city with a Lord Mayor.
Less than 100 metres away, on the corner of a strategic crossroads in the centre of the city, there is another flagpole, above a shop, so it looks as if it belongs to them. In fact, it actually belongs to the city council, and is accessed via the Town Hall roof . This flagpole ordinarily flies the Union Flag, except for a brief interlude circa 1983, when it flew a 'CND' flag. On the diagonal opposite corner, is Carfax Tower, which is the former tower of St Martin's Church, this church having been demolished early in the 20th century, to make way for so-called road improvements. This tower also belongs to the city council and also has a flagpole. You can see a Quick Time movie view from the top of this tower and an overview of the whole area generally here. Fortunately for them, they can thus use these facilities to fly a myriad of flags all at the same time, relating to partisan political causes and also the United Nations flag on United Nations Day, for example. A perfect political compromise, but which is the point of honour?
Colin Dobson, 13 February 2005