Photographs from the distant past

These are photographs taken by Henry Taunt (1842 – 1922). He began taking photographs in 1860. He travelled widely through the county, and beyond to neighbouring counties and to London. In 1889 he rented out Canterbury House (which he later re-named Riviera) and built a workshop at the back of the property. The house is on Cowley Road, just south of the Glanville Road junction, and has a blue plaque commemorating Taunt’s time there.

These are a few of the hundreds of images of Taunt’s photographs on the Historic England website; they are also available, including as high density images, at Oxfordshire History Centre and other County libraries

With 14000 images surviving there are many of the area around his home.

Version 3

Possibly Taunt’s best-known picture. Children playing ducks and drakes; in an old sheep wash at Barracks Lane, Cowley Marsh, in July 1914 (a month before the start of the First World War). East Oxford had been developed from fields into a suburb since the 1850s and this stream now formed part of the city boundary. These are two of relatively few photographs where children appear as the subject rather than as a decoration or added interest. In the background are men in military uniform playing golf.


The shepherd and his dog standing in a field opposite Riviera, the home of Henry Taunt. The sheep are standing where the Regal Community Centre now stands.



Southfield Farm. Looking into the farmyard through an opened gate toward a stone barn with a weatherboard and tiled hipped roof with outbuildings attached. This is where Southfield flats are now situated.



Looking towards the Cowley Road from Taunt’s house



Looking across from the tower of St Kenelm”s Church, Cowley, with open fields between Cowley and the city.



Henry Taunt outside his home. He rented this house Canterbury House in 1889, later changing its name to Riviera. Notice also a man on a very long ladder leaning against the house.



The Boundary stone on Cowley Marsh, with golfers in the distance



Distant view of Cowley from Lye Hill looking down to the stile.



A view of Cowley Road towards Riviera, featuring a man with a pram, and a man with a milk churn.



A view towards Cowley



Barracks Lane, Cowley, Oxford, Oxfordshire. A gentleman and is dog standing on the country lane outside Cowley. The barracks of the 43rd and 52nd Foot Regiments of the Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry, after which the lane was named, nearby in 1877.



Barracks Lane, Cowley, Oxford, Oxfordshire. Sergeant Major Jacobs standing next to a ditch running alongside Barracks Lane in Cowley. The barracks were built in 1877 for the 43rd and 52nd Foot Regiment of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light who resided there until 1952.



View of the rear of Taunt’s house Riviera. The photographer would have been sited near to Barracks Lane.




A large group of people gather around a biplane that had landed on land near what is now Cowley Marsh playing fields.



Taken from Lye Hill looking towards the Barracks.



Barracks Lane, Cowley, Oxford, Oxfordshire. Looking west down a grassy path near the barracks, with a stone marker and benchmark on the right.



A view  of the Cowley Road Hospital; it was built in 1863-5 as the Oxford City Workhouse, designed to hold 330 inhabitants. It was taken over during the First World War for the treatment of war casualties. It was closed in 1981 and has since been demolished.


Barracks Lane, Cowley, Oxford, Oxfordshire. Looking up the lane, towards a woman,  from the bottom of Sand Hill.



View of the pool or stream used for sheep washing



View from SS Mary and John Church tower looking toward the city







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s