Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Long division

I'd not heard of the Cutteslowe Walls until recently, so it was fascinating to learn that the class divide was actually very much a physical phenomenon for a time here in Oxford. The walls were erected in 1934 by a developer of private housing who was desperate to keep the riff-raff of the neighbouring council estate out, and built right across existing roads. It wasn't until 1959 - and a protracted battle involving the developer, the council and the local people - that these symbols of class segregation were finally torn down. Not quite the fall of the Berlin Wall, admittedly, but nevertheless a momentous event.

Not that we can shake our heads and contentedly say such a thing couldn't - or doesn't - still exist in some form. Gated communities are disturbingly plentiful...

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