Oxford, Cowley - Slade Camp

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by GEOF, Nov 14, 2011.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. HI

    As kid living in Cowley- used to watch tanks going down Holloway Rd - they obviously came from Slade Camp - but where were they headed? I was 3-4 years old at time - so just remember the noise they made.
    ALso - was Slade Camp part of the Cowley Barracks? What was war-time purpose of the Slade Camp? when was it built? After the war it was used - at least until lat 50's (or later) as low-cost housing. I now live in the US - so have no idea what replaced these hopefully long gone structures.

    Geof- Tampa Florida
  2. The site nowadays is largely occupied by Shotover country park. Bit of info from the Shotover park leaflet states....
    'During WW2 Slade camp was part of Cowley barracks and provided a temporary home for soldiers who took part in the D Day landings. At the same time Shotover hill was used for military training and tanks built at Cowley were tested there'.
    When they built the Oxford ring road it cut the camp in half, the half on the outside of the road has virtually disappeared, few bits of info here....Slade Camp, Oxford - Dereliction in the Shires
    Hope that helps :)
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. interesting that SHotover is now a 'park' - was just scrub and brush once one left the 'woods' (went thru a field to get to Shotover',) Have seen Shotover since (1990) but preferred it way it was. As i remember there was a small 'spring' about 1/2 way up - welcomed to us kids who did not bring water! I preferred the more 'wild' Shotover - where you had to find your own way around. Used to walk to Horsepath from there.

    When were the huts built? Doubt they were built just for D day - but then they could have been, I Guess the tanks going down Holloway were headed for one of the then 2 Oxford railway stations? I don't remember any tanks headed bacl to camp.

    WHen was the Cowley Barracks disbanded - I remember hearing various bugle calls from my house - that would have been in 50's

  4. Hi Geof
    I may be of some help in regards to what happend to "The Slade" as our family still calls it, I myself was born there! 5 Eighth Avenue as was, still marked on Google Maps. It was right across the Ring Road that disected the camp from the small arms firing range which was still in use if I remember as rightly a kid. Maybe able to shed some light on the Air Raid Shelter and other long gone installations. You'll have to trust my memory though!

    Andy P
  5. The old Slade Barracks is now all housing. The statue of the Boer War soldier is now re-homed at Edward Brooks Barracks in Abingdon.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. As I remember - there were no air-raid shelter in the 'park' - i think there were some in the Cowley Barracks - but I was never in there much. As I kid- I thought the Slade Park was pretty primitive living conditions. However, as far as I know it was not known for crime problems, just pretty basic, since they were army huts. Odd they needed them, as Oxford was not bombed, thus should not have needed emergency housing

  7. GEOF - These Search Results from the Oxford Mail might be of interest if you haven't seen them -the first few are relevant, the rest not.

    I once knew the reason for the need for the camp's use for accommodation, but cannot remember it exactly now; it came up in passing at a lecture or a tutorial when I was a student 20 years ago and the most I knew of Cowley was the inside of the now-departed Moonlight Tandoori and the bike shop across the road.

    I digress; from what I dimly remember there were two factors in play - the first was a desire to improve housing elsewhere in Oxford, which led to some rebuilding and a need to rehome people temporarily, and an influx of people into the City - some as the result of losing homes elsewhere (Brum and London, IIRC) and some because they had moved to the City as the result of war work, and needed a place of their own because they'd decided to stay. In many places, abandoned camps were taken over, unauthorised, by people in need of housing (to the point where Nye Bevan attempted to force them out by having gas and water cut off and councils sought to intimidate them); the camps were never going to be used by the War Office (et al) again, and the end result was that the camps gradually became the site for permanent homes as the cities expanded; I think that this was what Oxford Council did with Slade Camp. As I say, treat that as possibly complete rubbish, not least since this discussion occurred in what must have been meant to have been a lecture or tutorial on the feudal system from a college don who lived somewhere in Shotover, but which - as always - went wildly off the point fairly quickly and covered all sorts of stuff, none of which I can properly remember...
  8. Ahh, Academia. A land far, far away; viewed mainly through the rose-tinted glasses of an alcoholic haze.
  10. Archimedes is right about the reason for the opening of slade camp - oxford had a housing shortage during the late fifties and early sixties with many homeless families, but in addtion to his information was an influx of workers from all over the country to work in the car factories. Slade extended from the Horspath Driftway with the area nearest the ring road being occupaied by a large caravan park and concreted area (old parade ground?). We lived on Ninth Avenue, on the outside of the ring road, in a hut that, with five others, was built in a 'H' design. Suprisingly while everyone called them huts they were brick built and were largely heated by a single pot bellied stove in the sitting room - I have no idea whether or how water was heated. In the summer it was brilliant but horrific during the winter if the weather was really cold (as in 1964 when we were snowed in and trapped inside the huts - I think for a couple of days. Kids were taken to school on a bus that picked us up at the main gate.

  11. The tanks you are referring to Geof were likely to be the Centaur Cruiser built at Cowley, I assume production stopped at the end of the WWII, but I am surprised they were driven through Cowley as I would have thought they would have been transported by rail - whcih disected the works. I do not think they would have come from The Slade as it was the home of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry 2nd Battalion not the artillery. The state of shotoverwas the result of it being used to 'road' test the tanks before being shipped out, and it took a while for it to recover.
  12. The Slade was loosely connected to the Barracks, and was the home of the 2nd Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. It was also a reception and training centre for new recruits during the war, and became a disembarkation centre when the war ended, in other words it was the final stage of discharge for the men. It was also a holding centre for the men who were preparing for the D Day invasion. The camp also accomodated allied soldiers i.e. Americans, and was also used as a POW for Germans and Italians.
  13. I think The Slade was (I am guessing) constructed shortly before or shortly following the outbreak of WWII and was used until the 1970s when the last residents moved out.
  14. Life on The Slade was tough, but it was a hugh leap up from what many of us were used to. Most had their own front door, indoor facilities, separate bedrooms, running water, and electricity (not sure about gas).