The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

MG Exhibition

On the top floor of the museum is the MG exhibition. It will be there for a year, opening at weekends and usually manned by one of these men. In their heyday MG cars were made in Abingdon, and these two men worked at the MG factory.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Old Police Station

In front of the Old Gaol (mentioned yesterday), there are other buildings which are to be developed alongside. Most are pictured on the left of today's Bridge Street picture, and are:

* 1,2 Bridge View
* 25,27 Bridge Street
* The Old Police Station
* 4 Turnagain Lane

The Old Police Station is another Grade II listed building

1856 - Opened
1999 - Closed when a new police station opened away from the town centre.

NOT USED SINCE. But there are some interesting cells should the Old Gaol indeed become a prison again as suggested in a comment yesterday.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Old Gaol

The Old Gaol is an important part of the view approaching Abingdon from the south. Nowadays it is shielded by trees, but when it was first built the construction was stark and unusual. It was the first prison to have three wings from a central tower.

A brief History of this Grade II listed building

* 1811 the Old Gaol was opened as a prison (built by prisoners during the Napoleonic wars)
* 1868 it ceased to be a prison
* 1874 it became a grain store
* 1975 it was sold to the Vale district council and opened as a leisure centre
* 2002 closed on opening of the new leisure centre.

NOT USED SINCE. But there have been various initiatives

A consultation began looking at 3 options ranging from the people's favorite:
a 420 seat theatre and cinema, library, museum, and exhibition space, pub / restaurant / bar

to the least favourite option - commercial use with no community space.

A first report suggested that option 1 was feasible. A second report after a further years work showed it would be too expensive for all the partners, and the report was pessimistic about getting lottery funding.

So now the Vale District Council is looking for commercial developers

The selection procedure has 2 stages.

On 13th July up to 8 developers plans could be shortlisted by the Vale. The plans need to meet certain Vale criteria to go through to stage 2 of the selection process:

These are:

* contribute to visual look of area
* encourage access to the courtyard, ground floor and riverside gardens
* make good use of the central riverside location and historic building
* be good value for money in terms of sale price, and if housing is included, it should have a mix of affordable housing

The second phase will involve further-developing the plans and putting in a formal 'money' bid to the Vale

Community meetings have taken place over the last 2 years to see whether a community scheme could run the Old Gaol.

Since March, when the Vale sought expressions of interest from developers, a group called COG (Community in the Old Gaol) has been formed to act as a pressure group to try to ensure:

* the freehold and public ownership is retained
* public access to the river frontage
* some community space

COG express an interest in working together with developers. COG have a petition with about 3,500 signatures that continues to grow. There is also a Cog Blog.

Personally I would like to see something like a cinema / theatre with some events for young people.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Dress Rehearsals

The building on the right is the office of the Friends of Abingdon, an organisation that have saved a lot of our ancient buildings. It is also used as a dressing area for the Unicorn Theatre, in the Abbey Buildings, alongside. The players cross through that dark passageway to backstage.

Tonight the Abingdon Drama Club were rehearsing for a performance of The Cripple of Inishmaan which is being performed from Wednesday 4th - Saturday 7th July 2007 at 7:30pm.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Beauty and Blight

The winner of an Abingdon Herald / VOWH (Vale of the White Horse) photography competition on the theme Beauty and Blight showed grafitti next to trees

Here is some more graffiti with flowers.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Abingdon Marina Park

The public slipway looking towards some marina houses.

The water has an oily film near the 'No Fishing....No Swimming' sign.

On the far side of the park are views across the Thames, towards swift ditch...

and Didcot Power Station.

Sunday, 24 June 2007


Are these early morning cyclists gazing at the source of that shadow?