View of Warneford Meadow, Oxford

Friends of Warneford Meadow, Oxford

Warneford Meadow - History

People gathered in fields along the boundary brook (late 19th/early 20th century).

The 1918 Annual Report of the Committee of Management of the Warneford Lunatic Asylum reported:

"The Annual Meeting of the Governors was held on the 19th of March 1918, and the Committee of Management was re-elected. At a meeting of the Committee held immediately afterwards, the Warden of New College was re-elected Chairman and Sir A. Frederick Bradshaw K.C.B., was re-elected Vice-Chairman.

The attention of the Committee has been largely taken occupied during the past year with the question of the enlargement of the hospital grounds. It has been felt that the ground available for patients was too circumscribed, that there was not sufficient scope for exercise, and that it was very desirable to have some more varied walks ; in addition to these reasons the possibility of houses being built on vacant land so near to the hospital would greatly affect the amenity of the Asylum. Accordingly the Committee recommended to a special meeting of Governors that a portion of land amounting to 18 acres adjoining the existing asylum grounds be acquired, and to this the Governors agreed. The purchase has been completed; the ground taken over, and it is hoped to lay out in the course of the coming year. A small portion of land at the end of Divinity Road was bought in the earlier part of the year. The erection of houses here would have overlooked and invaded the privacy of the patients in the garden."

The formal Warneford Garden.

It is understood that the Warneford was able to purchase the Meadow due to generous public donations. Since purchase the Meadow has remained as a quiet and peaceful undeveloped natural space apprcaired by both patients and local residents.

The fields along boundary brook in the Lye Valley (late 19th/early 20th century).

It appears that ownership was transferred to the Secretary of State for Health when the NHS was created. However the deeds were only delivered to the Land Registry on March 7th 2007. FOWM suspected that this was done because the Secretary of State planned to transfer the Meadow to the Radcliffe Trust. We asked Andrew Smith MP to table a question on this to the Secretary of State. The vague reply indicated that the Meadow was going to be returned to local ownership. Andrew made further enquiries and has received confirmation that the Meadow is being transferred to the Radcliffe Trust despite the Trust spokesperson continuing to deny all knowledge of this.