About Leys News

For anyone who hasn’t come across us before, Leys News is a free Bi-monthly community newspaper delivered to over 5000 homes on Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. An additional 2000 are also distributed to community spaces on the Leys and other areas of Oxford.

The newspaper started life in 1996 as a simple A4 newsletter that was launched as part of a community engagement project when half of the Leys estate that we know today was still under construction. Later Leys News became the community interest company that it is today and now employs three part time members of staff, and team of distributors and a host of volunteers.

Leys News is a not-for-profit business dedicated to providing news and information to the whole community. We are not affiliated to any political party, and we operate an equal opportunities policy. We encourage any resident to get involved in our work.

 

Get Involved with Leys News

If you have any ideas or suggestions for items we should be covering we’d love to hear from you, so feel free to contact us. If it’s happening in the Leys or people from the Leys are involved – tell us about it. We’re always interested to hear from people who would like to volunteer to help with any aspect of our work – administration, marketing, writing or photography. Enthusiasm is more important to us than experience so do get in touch.

Ways to get involved…

  • Write for the paper – we’re always looking for writers and people with an eye for a story.

  • Send in your photos

  • Write a letter to us

  • Enter our competitions – you have a very high chance of winning!

  • Become a paid distributor. If you would like to deliver Leys News every two months give us a call on 711756. You need to be over 14 and have a responsible attitude.

If you want to get involved in any way please phone our office or get in touch via our message form.

 

About the Leys

The Leys (including Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys) is one of the largest housing estates in Europe, and the largest in Oxford. The buliding of Blackbird Leys began in 1958 to meet the then pressing need for accommodation. The esate was declared a parish in 1991. Today we have our own college, a newspaper (Leys News) and a nearby football stadium.

The earliest settlement in Oxford was found in Blackbird Leys. The Middle Bronze Age to Iron Age site, consisting of pits and roundhouses, was dated by a cylindrical loom-weight decorated with an impressed cord pattern.

 

Leys Facts and figures

  • The Leys is one of the largest housing estates in Europe, and the largest in Oxford.

  • Blackbird Leys was built on farmland and the site of a sewage farm.

  • Windrush Tower was opened on the 9th of April 1962, by the Mayor of Oxford, Alderman Lionel Harrison.

  • Over 10% of the Blackbird Leys population are from ethnic minority groups.

  • The site of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church was originally intended for a pub.

  • Blackbird Leys was declared a parish in 1991.

  • The construction of Blackbird Leys started in 1958.

  • The earliest settlement in Oxford was found in Blackbird Leys. The Middle Bronze Age to Iron Age site, consisting of pits and roundhouses, was dated by a cylindrical loom-weight decorated with an impressed cord pattern.

  • The site where Evenlode Tower stands was originally the location of Sawpit Cottages.

  • The roads connected to Field Avenue were named alphabetically, from Andromeda Close to Woodruff Close.

  • Jack Argent was the Holy Family Church warden and chairman of the Blackbird Leys community centre. His name lives on with the Jack Argent memorial bench in Cuddesdon Way, and Jack Argent Close in Greater Leys.

  • Jubilee Hall and the Jubilee ’77 Association are named after the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

  • The Leys has the highest Caribbean population in Oxford.

  • By September 1967, Redefield Secondary School was so crowded that lessons were held in the youth club coffee bar, and rooms in Windrush and Evenlode Towers.

  • The Bullnose Morris pub is believed to be the only one named after a car.

  • The first school on the estate was Blackbird Leys County Primary, opened on 14 September 1959.

  • The Blackbird Gymnasts performed on Blue Peter a number of times, their first appearance being 20 December 1965.

  • Blackbird Leys was developed on the site of Sawpit Farm, but took the name from the more poetic Blackbird Leys Farm.

  • Blackbird Leys Farm was previously known as Blackford Leys Farm and Blackbridge Leaze Farm.

  • Windale First School was opened on Friday 8th March 1996 by Jeremy Irons.

  • A house in Blackbird Leys was said to be haunted in the 1980s, by a ‘very sweet looking lady’ who would appear in the vicinity of a particular chair. The family eventually had the chair removed and then burnt, and she was never seen again.

  • To commemorate the 21 years he worked at Shepherd’s Hill School as headmaster, Cecil Jacob commissioned the palindromic inscription of ‘Niyonanomhmatamhmonanoyin’ on the church font – ‘wash my transgressions, not only my face’.

  • After rejecting thirty unsuitable sites (and submitting twelve planning applications), Oxford United’s new stadium was finally built in Minchery Farm, near Greater Leys.

Leys News acknowledges support and financial assistance from : A2 Dominion, Catalyst Communities Housing Association, Green Square, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire Community Grants, The Blackbird Leys Parish Council.