Scope and Content

The Witney Mills Housing Society (W.M.H.S.) was founded in 1925 to provide convenient, modern housing for blanket mill employees of Charles Early & Co Ltd., Witney. The Management Committee, made up of Housing Society shareholders, first met on 7th July 1925. Originally 989 £1 shares were sold, with the rest of the money being provided by Charles Early & Co. Ltd and the Public Works Loan Board.

The first phase of building began in 1925, and 20 houses were constructed off Burford Road in Witney, on land previously owned by Charles Early & Co. Ltd. The development was named Springfield Park. A second phase of building took place in 1928, when a further eight houses were built at right angles to the existing development. Notes written by Richard Early (O37/1/X1/3) record that the properties were in high demand, with over fifty applicants for the eight new houses; the successful tenants had to be selected by draw.

It appears that W.M.H.S. had plans for further developments on the site as early as 1929. Plans in section O37/2/Y1 include designs for developments dated 1929 and 1934, but these appear to have never been built. Further housing was built nearby, with Springfield Oval being built at the end of Springfield Park in the 1930s, but W.M.H.S. were not involved in the project. A third stage of building in Springfield Park took place between 1961 and 1964 when seven bungalows were built for retired blanket mill employees. A further fourteen homes were constructed in 1969 and opened in 1970. The final stage of development took place between 1993 and 1995 when nine more houses were built.

For business records for Charles Early & Co. Ltd, see Oxfordshire History Centre collection B1.

This material was deposited with Oxfordshire History Centre as part of accession 6184 in June 2013, and was catalogued in August 2013 by Hannah Jones.

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