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Blackbird Leys lies to the south-east of Oxford. It is one of the most recent parts of the city, having only come into being in the late 1950s when Oxford Corporation started a large housing project on the site of an airfield site there.

Soon after work started, an Anglican mission was set up in the estate in 1960. Services were first held in the missioner's house, but by Dec 1960, a hut had been built for this purpose. It was not until 1965 that the church of the Holy Family was dedicated.

The church was originally dedicated as an Anglican foundation. However, in 1964 it was agreed to make Blackbird Leys and area of ecumenical sharing, and a Free Church Minister was appointed to the parish in Sep 1965. For the next few years, the Anglican and Free Church organisations worked side by side, but separately. Finally, on Advent Sunday 1971, the first joint service was held.

Since 1974 the church has been a Local Ecumenical Project, with a Sponsoring body made up of the Baptists, Methodists and United Reform Church. It is the only ecumenical church of its kind in Oxford city.

Further details on the history of the area may be found in PAR191/17/N3/1 below.

All the present records of Blackbird Leys, which include Anglican and non-Anglican material, were deposited with Oxfordshire Archives in August 1997 as Acc. 4261.

Catalogued by Robin Darwall-Smith in September 1997.

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