Definitions

Easington, Banbury

Banbury

[ban-ber-ee, -buh-ree, -bree, bam-]

Banbury is a market town located on the River Cherwell in northern Oxfordshire, England. It had a population of 43,867 at the 2001 census, though this figure has increased markedly in recent years. Banbury is part of the Cherwell district. The Member of Parliament for Banbury is Tony Baldry.

Banbury is a significant commercial and retail centre for the surrounding area, which is predominantly rural. Banbury has a shopping centre called Castle Quay. Banbury's main industries include car components, electrical goods, plastics, food processing, and printing. Banbury is home to the world's largest coffee-producing facility (Kraft Foods), built in 1964. The town is famed for Banbury cakes – similar to Eccles cakes but oval in shape. Since July 2000 it has hosted a unique gathering of traditional mock animals, from around the UK and beyond, at the annual Banbury Hobby Horse Festival.

The surrounding area is known informally by some as Banburyshire and covers the north half of the Cherwell district and neighbouring areas. It has one of the fastest growing populations in the country. As Banbury lies near the Oxfordshire border, "Banburyshire" includes parts of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

History

During excavations for the building of an office in Hennef Way in 2002, the remains of an Iron Age settlement with circular buildings, dating back to 200 AD were found. The site contained around 150 pieces of pottery and stone. Later, there was a Roman villa at nearby Wykham Park.

Banbury itself developed in the Anglo-Saxon period under strong Danish influence, starting in the latter half of the fifth century. The name Banbury may have derived from "Banna", a Saxon chieftain said to have built his stockade there in the sixth century, and "bury" meaning settlement. The Saxon spelling was Banesbyrig. The name appears as "Banesberie" in the Domesday Book.

The Saxons built Banbury on the west bank of the River Cherwell. On the opposite bank they built Grimsbury, which was later incorporated into Banbury.

Banbury stands at the junction of two ancient roads: Salt Way (still used as a bridle path to the west and south of the town), its primary use being the transportation of salt; and Banbury Lane, which began near Northampton and closely followed the modern 22-mile-long road before running through Banbury's High Street and on towards the Fosse Way at Stow-on-the-Wold. Banbury's mediæval prosperity was based on wool.

Banbury Castle was built from 1135 by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, and survived into the Civil War, when it was besieged. Due to its proximity to Oxford, the King's capital, Banbury was a Royalist town, but the inhabitants were known to be strongly Puritan. The castle was demolished after the war.

Banbury played an important part in the Civil War as a base of operations for Oliver Cromwell, who purportedly planned the Battle of Edge Hill in the back room (which can still be visited) of a local inn, The Reindeer, a noted hostelry to this day.

For centuries, trading in wool, ale, cakes and cheese created wealth for the town. Wool was first referred to in 1268, and cheese was manufactured from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Communications have always played a major role in the town's prosperity and prevented it from being just a quiet rural market town. It was a notable stagecoach stop and both the Red Lion and White Lion were coaching inns of note. Wealthy travellers would leave well supplied with Banbury Cakes.

Banbury was ravaged by fire in 1628. Although some buildings have survived to the present day, many were destroyed.

The construction of the Oxford Canal in 1790 greatly aided the town's growth. Later the railways also helped its expansion: in 1850 the first rails reached Banbury, one line from the Great Western Railway and one from the London and North Western Railway, giving Banbury two stations side by side: the Great Western station, always the town's main station, later became known as Banbury Bridge Street, while the London & North Western became Banbury Merton Street. Merton Street closed in 1959 to allow all traffic to be concentrated on the main station. The railway lines to Brackley and Woodford Halse (both in Northamptonshire) closed in 1961 and 1966 respectively, but the main station, called Banbury, is a busy commuter and tourist station, served by trains running between London Paddington and Birmingham via Reading, Oxford and Leamington Spa, and from London Marylebone via High Wycombe and Bicester, the fastest non-stop train taking 68 minutes to London Marylebone (and 62 minutes for the return journey). The former mineral line from Banbury to an ironstone quarry beside Wroxton village opened in about 1900 and closed in 1967 after the quarry was exhausted. The small opencast mine was heavily used during World War II.

Until its closure in June 1998, Banbury was home to the largest livestock market in western Europe.

The town saw rapid expansion during the 1960s as housing was built for the overspill from London. Banbury's continued growth was accelerated by the completion of the M40 motorway which gave faster access by road to London and Birmingham.

Banbury was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Reform Act 1835. It retained a borough council until 1974, when under the Local Government Act 1972 it became part of the Cherwell district, an unparished area with Charter Trustees. A civil parish with a town council was set up in 2000.

Transport and infrastructure

Due to the building of the M40 motorway, Banbury is now a sizeable, prosperous town with good industry, although the town has not expanded quite as rapidly as some had anticipated. It is now one of the major commuter towns for London, Oxford, Solihull and Birmingham. The M40 also provides local residents great access to both the Midlands and the southeast.

Banbury also has rail services run by Chiltern Railways to Warwick, Birmingham and London Marylebone via the non-electrified Chiltern Main Line that runs from London Marylebone. It also has services run by First Great Western to Oxford, Reading and London Paddington. Services to other parts of the country are provided by CrossCountry via Birmingham New Street, to Cardiff, Bristol, Stansted, as well as direct services to Reading, Bournemouth, Brighton, Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Banbury has an intra-urban bus service provided by Stagecoach Group which also feeds the outlying villages and provides transport to towns such as Oxford, Chipping Norton and Brackley.

The Oxford Canal snakes its way through Banbury, providing a stopping point for narrowboat owners, and although the canal is no longer used for freight, it remains a busy and bustling waterway as it joins to the main Grand Union Canal further north.

Hennef Way (A422) was upgraded to a dual carriageway easing traffic on the heavily congested road and providing better links to north Banbury and the town centre from the M40. The project was planned to take 85 weeks but was finished 6 weeks overdue.

There have been recent suggestions to build a ring road around Banbury or add a relief road from Bodicote to ease town centre traffic although none of these plans have yet gone forth.

Expansion timeline of Banbury

  • 1790 — Oxford Canal built, making access to Banbury easier for industry
  • 1850 — Railway built through Banbury, making commuting to London and Birmingham much easier
  • 1960 — London overspill greatly increases town's population and leads to the construction of the Bird's factory (now Kraft Foods) and the Bretch Hill estate
  • 1991 — M40 construction complete, further improving links to London and Birmingham
  • 2000 — Hanwell Fields estate construction starts (still being expanded today)
  • 2004 — Cherwell Centre construction complete (with bowling alley, Matalan and car park)
  • 2006 — College Fields estate construction is approved (1,070 houses adjacent to Bankside/Bodicote). The town's Tesco store is expanded into a two-storey Tesco Extra.

Shopping

Banbury has many shops in suburban local centres and in the town centre along the High Street, Parsons Street, Broad Street and in the market place. There is also a market held on Thursdays and Saturdays in the market place. Banbury also has an average size retail park (Banbury Cross Retail Park).

Castle Quay

Castle Quay is a shopping centre located in the centre of Banbury. It opened as the Castle Shopping Centre in 1977 before being expanded in the 1990s. It has five entrances; two along the canal, one on Bridge Street and two in the market place. The centre has over 80 stores including well-known names such as Woolworths, Marks & Spencer, Bhs, Debenhams and many more.

Market

Every Thursday and Saturday, a market is held in the market place, as well as a farmers' market on the first Friday of every month.

Polish and East European immigration

Banbury has one of the UK's lowest unemployment rates (less than 1%), with a resultant high demand for labour. Once Poland joined the European Union in 2004, a number of Banbury-based employment agencies began advertising for staff in major Polish newspapers. According to an estimate by the Banbury Polish Association, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 Poles in the town. The influx of the largely Catholic Polish workers has had a revitalising effect on Banbury's Catholic churches, to the extent that at least one now offers a Mass said partially in Polish. Additionally specialist Polish food shops have opened as well as supermarkets such as Tesco opening specialist food counters for the new population.

The town also has significant numbers of other Eastern European populations, notably Hungarians and Lithuanians.

Banbury Cross

At one time Banbury had many crosses (The High Cross, The Bread Cross and The White Cross), but these were destroyed by Puritans on 26 July 1600. Banbury remained without a cross for another 250 years until the current Banbury Cross was erected in 1859 at the centre of the town to commemorate the marriage of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter to Prince Frederick of Prussia. The current Banbury Cross is a stone, spire-shaped monument decorated in Gothic form. Statues of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V were added in 1911. The cross is fifty-two feet six inches high, and topped by a gilt cross.

The English nursery rhyme "Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross" refers to a cross destroyed by Puritans in 1602. In April 2005, Princess Anne unveiled a large bronze statue depicting the Fine Lady upon a White Horse of the nursery rhyme. It stands on the corner of West Bar and South Bar, just yards from the present Banbury Cross.

Cattle Market

Banbury is a historic market town that used to be home to Western Europe's largest cattle market, situated on Merton Street in Grimsbury. For many years, cattle and other farm animals were driven there on the hoof from as far afield as Scotland to be sold to feed the growing population of London and other towns. Since its closure in June 1998 a new housing development has been built on its site which may soon include a school. The council rejected planning permission for a new smaller cattle market on the grounds that it would increase traffic congestion.

Local Newspapers

Banbury has four local newspapers:

The Banbury Guardian is published on Thursdays and goes on sale the same day. The Banbury Cake is published on Wednesdays and is released for delivery on Thursday. The Banbury & District Review is published Thursdays and released for delivery on Friday. The Commuter is released for delivery on Monday.

Banbury Museum

Banbury has a new modern museum in the town centre near Spiceball Park, replacing the old museum near Banbury Cross. It cost approximately £5,000,000 to build and is accessible over a bridge from the Castle Quay Shopping Centre or via Spiceball Park Road. Admission to the museum is free. The town's tourist information centre is located in the museum entrance in Castle Quay.

Schools and colleges

Colleges

Secondary schools

Primary schools

The primary schools in the area are:

  • Dashwood school
  • The Grange School
  • Hardwick School
  • Harriers Ground Primary School
  • Hill View School
  • Hanwell Fields Community School
  • Orchard Fields Community School (formerly known as "Neithrop County Infants School" and "Neithrop County Junior School")
  • St John's Roman Catholic Primary School
  • St John's Priory School (which is an Independent school)
  • St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School
  • St Leonard's School
  • St Mary's School
  • Queensway School
  • William Morris School

Geography

Co-ordinates Banbury's latitude and longitude are (at Banbury Cross, which is usually considered the centre).

Banbury is located in the Cherwell Valley therefore there are many hills in and around the town. Apart from the town centre much of Banbury is on a slope and each entrance into the town is downhill, estates such as Bretch Hill and Hardwick are built on top of a hill and much of the town can be seen from both. Other hills include Crouch Hill and many others to the east of the town.

Banbury is located at the bank of the River Cherwell, and it sweeps through the town, going just east of the town centre with Grimsbury being the only estate east of the river.

The town is at the northern extreme of the UK's South East England region, just 3 miles from the Midlands border. Some of the town's population would describe it as being in the Midlands, but most believe it to be in the south.

Churches and Places of Worship

There are many churches in Banbury as well as a mosque. Below is a list of them:

  • St Paul's Church
  • St Mary's Church of England and United Reformed Church
  • Marlborough Road Methodist Church
  • The Salvation Army Church, George Street
  • Grimsbury Baptist Church
  • The People's Church, (formerly known as Baptist Church Centre)
  • St. John's Evangelist, Roman Catholic Church
  • St. Joseph the Worker, Roman Catholic Church
  • Grimsbury Mosque
  • St. Leonards, Anglican
  • The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, (Mormon)
  • Banbury Community Church
  • Living Faith International Church

Parks and Recreational areas

Banbury is a town with many Parks and other recreational areas. Some of these are:

  • Bankside Park: runs next to the Oxford Canal, in the Cherwell Heights ward
  • Browning Road Park: located in the Poet's Corner estate, in the Easington ward
  • The Easington Rec: located in the Easington ward, near Harriers Primary School
  • Horton View Sports Ground
  • Ironstones Park: located in the Hardwick ward, neighbouring Hardwick School
  • King's Field Park (Actually in Bodicote)
  • The People's Park: located near the town centre, in the Neithrop ward
  • Rugrats Park: located in the Bretch Hill estate, in the Neithrop ward
  • Spiceball Park: the largest park in Banbury; located near the town centre, with the Oxford Canal to the east and the River Cherwell to the west
  • St Louis Meadow Park: located in the Cherwell Heights ward
  • Princess Diana Park: located in the Bretch Hill estate, in the Neithrop ward, neighbouring Orchard Fields Community School
  • Yellow Park: located in the Neithrop ward

Wards, neighbourhoods, and suburbs

Other areas

Local sport

Rugby Banbury has many teams who play at both local and national levels. Banbury Rugby Union Football Club play at Bodicote Park, in Bodicote along with the Banbury Cricket Club who also has its homeground in Bodicote.Football Banbury is also home to a football team called Banbury United F.C. who play at the Spencer Stadium located within Banbury, there nickname is 'The Puritans', a reminder of Banbury's strong historical link to Puritanism. They play in the Southern League Premier Division, one tier below the Conference South and three tiers below full Football League status. Banbury are one of the most northerly teams in this division.Canoeing Banbury has two Canoe clubs. 'Banbury & District Canoe Club' which is based on the Oxford Canal at Cropredy Wharf is one of England's most successful clubs and was voted "Club of the Year" by the British Canoe Union in 2006. Primarily a competition club, BDCC focuses on flatwater racing (sprint and marathon) and wildwater racing. There is also a strong touring side to the club. The club has a number of past and present international paddlers and national champions at various age groups and the junior section is currently very strong, with a number of potential Olympians for 2012. Cherwell Canoe Club which caters mainly for canoe polo, playboating and slalom and is based at Woodgreen. The club's teams play canoe polo in the national leagues.Golf Banbury Golf Club is situated five miles south of Banbury on the B4100 at Adderbury and under 15 minutes from Junction 10 of the M40. Opened in 1993, it now has 3 separate 9-hole loops.Cricket Re-formed in 1949 Banbury Cricket Club has developed into the leading club side in Oxfordshire, winning the inaugural Home Counties Premier League in 2000.

The club runs several sides of varying age groups and abilities with four Saturday sides. The First XI play in the ECB Home Counties Premier League, the highest standard of club cricket. The Second, Third and Fourth XI play in the Cherwell League competing against other club sides in the county. The club also manages a Sunday side, which competes in ECB National Club Championship, which has seen the club, reach the last 16 in recent years. A midweek side play in the Brackley & District Midweek League a 20 over competition on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer.

Banbury Cricket Club also has a comprehensive youth set up coached by qualified coaches including club professional and Director of Cricket, Paul Taylor (Northants & England) offering cricket at under 11, 13, 15, 17 levels. Several of the players from the youth set up have gone on to represent their counties at their age group and the club has now seen a few of these youth players go on to play in the clubs First XI.

Banbury Twenty Club was formed in 1932 by an original twenty members. It is a founder member of the Cherwell Cricket League and still competes in the League's highest division.

The Club run two Saturday sides which compete in Cherwell League Divisions one and four respectively. The club also play in the Brackley & District Midweek League on a Wednesday evening.

The Club runs two youth teams (U13/U15) who compete in Oxfordshire and South Northants competitions and are coached by ECB qualified coaches. The Club's youth policy is proud to have produced players such as Rob Cunliffe who played for the all-conquering Gloucestershire side that won the treble in 2000.

Two other notable names from the Club include Keith Arnold and Mike Wedderburn. Arnold is an Oxfordshire seam bowler and 2nd highest minor counties wicket taker ever, while Sky Sports News presenter Wedderburn used to play county cricket for Hampshire and rugby for Harlequins

Many of these sporting clubs have close ties with local schools, encouraging children of all abilities to participate. Blessed George Napier RC Secondary School in Banbury was recently granted specialist status as a sports college.

People associated with Banbury

Companies based in Banbury

Twinnings

Banbury is twinned with:

References

External links

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