Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

Belsyre Court

OK, penguins, I have a question about Belsyre Court in Oxford. It is the tall brown brick building, presumably built between the wars down Woodstock Road opposite St. Anne's. It has some offices in it, with a bunch of letter boxes for them down Observatory Street, and shops on the ground floor. It has always looked to me like it should house an Underground station - I have always envisaged the Oxford Underground as resembling the Glasgow one in the size and style of stations and trains, but that's another story.

Anyway, the question is does anyone know anything about the flats? You certainly never see any 'for sale' or 'for rent' signs up for them - nor have I seen any for sale or rent in estate agents in Oxford, but it is not like I have ever diligently followed either although at a couple of points we did half heartedly consider buying a house in Oxford.

As far as I can tell, given the prevalence of net curtains, the furniture / décor tastes of the residents leads towards those of the elderly rather than student / post-grad / not a student any more but still with the same tastes / Hampstead-On-Thames styles that tend to dominate Oxford.

Nor have I ever seen anyone arriving or departing. There is no sign of any parking for the flats, which seems kind of weird, particularly as the roads round there are not exactly over-endowed with parking provision.

It is all kind of weird. If the flats were expensive and 'old money', then why wouldn't 'new money' buy them as the old money died? Is it some sort of U.S. style 'co-op' where residents have to be vetted? Some sort of charity for old academics? Or is the explanation mundane?

What I have found on the interweb:
Evidence of one person living there on the interweb - a retired (I guess) academic - Professor Sir Peter Russell MA, DLitt - formerly King Alfonso XIII Professor of Spanish Studies, University of Oxford
A mayor of Oxford having lived there after she was widowed
Someone called Ronald Victor Okes Hart-Synnot, D.S.O., O.B.E. having lived there at some point.
A mention in the first chapter of Elegy for Iris by John Bayley - first chapter can be found here in the context of John and Iris going to see someone in a flat owned by a don
A member of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric.
An article in Cherwell about residents, in particular Tilly Flynn, being pleased that the Horse and Jockey was closed and flogged off for residential development - very nice for them, thinks the weasel, but the pub was there first.

The above would seem to possibly rule out the home for old academics.

I also found an obituary of the pharmacist who founded what is now the 10 O'clock Pharmacy as the Belsyre Court Pharmacy. I imagine the name will change again as it has a notice up saying it is going to start to close at 7.30 p.m.
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