Interview 22 - Colin Tustin

Colin Tustin, retired

Interviewer: Diana Roberts
Total recording time: 1 hr : 1 min : 45 sec


  • Colin was interviewed at his home in Upper Fisher Row, Oxford.
Access available in Oxfordshire History Centre and Libraries only

Click on track number below to play

Track Content summary Length
22.1 Colin was born in Jericho in 1930 and his family moved to Upper Fisher Row in 1953 where he has lived ever since.

He was educated St Barnabas School and then passed an entrance exam to the City of Oxford High School (grammar). He left school at 16 and went to work for the Oxford City Council, retiring early at 55.
2 min : 31 sec
22.2 His grandmother was related to the Bossoms who ran boats and the Oxford Retreat pub (now Nag’s Head) where she and his grandfather were landlords until 1948.

Colin remembers the post war Oxford Canal basin but it was being closed down. The back window of the pub provided a clear view of the activity at the basin.
4 min : 21 sec
22.3 Colin describes his free and easy childhood in the very close knit community of Jericho. He played with other children near the family’s first house in Victor Street. He remembers using the ferry to cross the canal to Tumbling Bay swimming place. The fare was ½ penny or a penny but since it was a long punt that carried passengers over, they could more or less walk across it from bank to bank.

The children tended to visit relatives who ran Peedle Bros Builders and Hinkins and Frewin’s Builders alongside the canal.

Dredging was carried out annually but Colin does not remember many boats using the canal. He does recall the banks and towpath being quite overgrown and not being nice although they made some camps there.

The ice on the canal in the winter of 1962-1963 was thick enough got children to use dustbins as slides.
8 min : 40 sec
22.4 Colin went to St Barnabas School Infants class when he was 3 years old then to junior School. He remembers being issued with a gas mask and the afternoon nap on hard camp beds.

He was the only child to pass the grammar school entrance exam. His grandmother gave him £10 to put in the Trustee Savings Bank and she bought his school uniform.
5 min : 44 sec
22.5 He describes Jericho as a thriving community with a great number and range of shops. There was no need to go into town. Sweet shops were a favourite and there were jug and bottle shops.

There were pubs in every street in Jericho and they ran a varied social programme for the whole family including seaside outings. These would be paid for by a weekly savings scheme that parents and other relatives paid into.

His father worked at Pressed Steel, staying there until he retired.
5 min : 7 sec
22.6 Jericho was threatened with demolition on many occasions, being regarded as a slum by the local authority. 2 min : 49 sec
22.7 He describes the small terraced house (21 Jericho Street) he grew up in and the cold outside toilet. He describes his mother’s work, including dressmaking and looking after the home; also his father’s wartime army postings around England. 5 min : 41 sec
22.8 Colin reiterates that - despite the ‘slum’ label - Jericho merely suffered from poor drainage and flooding; he felt it was not a deprived area. Lots of people were employed by Lucy’s locally. His father worked for Pressed Steel Fisher in Cowley and uncles with Peedles. 2 min : 35 sec
22.9 He remembers going to St Barnabas Church, where everyone got married or baptised. He also remembers Worcester College opening part of their playing fields for Jericho children for Summer holiday play. He recalls fondly how life in the 1950s felt unpressured. 5 min : 29 sec
22.10 Changes in Upper Fisher Row. Having Worcester College as neighbours. All six of Colin’s close relations have a presence in St Sepulchre’s Churchyard in Jericho. His grandparents are buried here but Colin has brought the ashes of his parents and his sister to the grave and intends for his to join them there. 5 min : 11 sec
22.11 Colin remembers going to the Scala cinema (now the Phoenix) and the fact some people stayed there all day. He also remembers the Carlo’s Fish and Chip shop and Mrs Carlo being known to be more generous in serving them. Rationing, and Toms’s grocer’s in Jericho Street. 4 min : 34 sec
22.12 Dances and bands. Colin’s father played banjo and guitar; he wishes he has asked his father more about the Black and White orchestra he played in and also his mother about her life.

Colin is one of the oldest residents in Jericho who says he has lived a simple but happy life.
8 min : 38 sec