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Latest News

21/03/14 08:23pm
In April and May a series of exciting events will be taking place celebrating the industrial and cultural heritage of the Oxford Canal. Organised by the Heritage Lottery funded Oxford Canal Heritage...
28/03/13 09:58am
The Jericho Living Heritage Trust is seeking a part-time manager to lead a project which is ‘Celebrating the heritage of Oxford’s canal’. The post-holder will oversee implementation of a grant...
28/03/13 09:45am
Today, the Jericho Living Heritage Trust, working on behalf of the Oxford City Canal Partnership has received a £65,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project in Oxford....
30/03/12 10:34am
We have reached another key point in the campaign to acquire and develop the boatyard site for the community, and would like to bring everyone up to date. In the first stage of this project you...

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman on Jericho:

‘I bristle with indignation when this vivid and interesting part of the city is under siege. I lament the loss of every curious corner, I deplore the creeping invasion by the forces of Greedi-Build plc, I abominate the disappearance of old landmarks and familiar views ... as with all places that we cherish for their value to us as human beings, we have to be ready to defend them against those who can understand only the value of money. And unfortunately, people like that are in the ascendancy now; we live in a theocracy whose god is Profit. If Jesus were alive now, it wouldn't be ritualistic Sabbath-observance he'd be criticising, but the worship of money: "The market was made for man, and not man for the market," I think he'd say. And that remark would make him just as popular as the previous one did.

I used part of Jericho and the canal in my trilogy His Dark Materials, because people who lived and worked on the water, and the network of canals that spread through the whole kingdom, were useful for my story ... But I didn't realise how much the present-day life of the canal was under threat until recently, when the boatyard business came to a head. I've always enjoyed walking along the canal, and looking at the activity - useful, human-scale, craft-based, untidy, interesting - in the boatyard, with the campanile of St. Barnabas watching over it, and the calm water in front.

Reflecting on the idea that ‘All that useful social activity’ may have to be ‘done away with, because it was not making sufficient profit’ Pullman observes: ‘Well, we've gone wrong somehow in the way we live. Jericho is a place where it ought to be possible to maintain a working boatyard, to give a meaning and a focus to the life of the canal. If it does go, something irreplaceable will go with it.’

Philip Pullman, 'The Bohemian Republic of Jericho: Philip Pullman on a place made to human measure', The Jericho Echo, Issue 60/July 2006

Last modified: 2 November, 2009