Halfway along is the Oxford Ice Rink, a distinctive 1984 building by Nicholas Grimshaw, which is the home of the Oxford City Stars ice hockey team. One of the campuses of the Oxford and Cherwell Valley College is located here on the north side. The road crosses the southern end of the Castle Mill Stream just before it reaches the River Thames. Oxpens Road also provides access major car parks for the centre of Oxford, including the Westgate Shopping Centre.
Before 1850, Oxpens Road was known as Nun's Walk. This area used to be the location of a gasworks by the river
The locality was one of the poorer quarters of central Oxford. In the 1950s and 60s there was large-scale clearance of the area, known as The Oxpens. Many residents were moved to Blackbird Leys, an estate consisting largely of council housing on the outskirts of southeast Oxford and close to the Morris Motor Company in Cowley, which provided employment. The area around Oxpens was almost entirely redeveloped during the second half of the 20th century.
Close to Oxpens Road on St Thomas Street was the Morrells Brewery (aka The Lion Brewery), near the Castle Mill Stream, which closed in 1998
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