Open Gardens, and tea on the towpath, 2022

Eight gardens on the island, plus Osney Lock Hydro, will be open Saturday 11 June, 2.30–4.30 p.m.

There will also be tea on the towpath, 3–5 p.m., with live music from 3.30.

For more information see

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Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme press release

In a major step towards serious flood protection for Oxford, the Environment Agency has submitted the plans for the flood alleviation scheme for approval. See the press release.

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Carol singing, 2021

Carols were once again heard on Osney last Saturday evening. A group of islanders, skilfully organised by Matt Dyson (in disguise as a Christmas tree) sang on request outside a number of houses, finishing up in the bar at The Holly Bush. The smaller singers enjoyed knocking on doors and being offered sweets and drinks, while the adults were particularly grateful for Uttara’s hot samosas and Ravi’s tots of whisky at the end of the route.

Singing in The Holly Bush (photos by Nigel Allen)
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Osney Advent Calendar 2021

This December, Osney will again host its own live Advent calendar, with a window ’opening’ somewhere on the island for each day of Advent. On 1 and 24 December, and at weekends, there will be two windows. For more information see the Advent calendar page.

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Tealights on the Towpath, 11 December 2021

We are planning to hold Tealights on the Towpath on Saturday 11 December starting at 5.30 p.m.

For those new to this event, people bring decorated lanterns to the top end of East Street riverbank to meet island friends and neighbours. There will be hot sausages (meat and vegan) and mulled wine or apple juice (bring your own mug!) There will also be a Christmas tree to decorate so please bring a bauble.

We are looking for volunteers. If you can help with any of the below please contact Alison Burdett (

  • Cooking sausages on the day and bringing them to East Street (sausages will be supplied)
  • Mulling wine on the day and bringing it to East Street (wine and mulling ingredients supplied)
  • Lending/bringing a fire pit
  • Helping to clean up afterwards

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Carol singing, 4 December 2021

We will meet outside The Punter at 5 p.m. on Saturday 4 December for this year’s carol singing. If you are planning to join in, or would like a carol sung outside your door, please contact Matt Dyson (

Singing sheets will be provided. Children welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

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Lock gates moving along Bridge Street, 14 April 2021

This coming Wednesday (14 April) the EA will be moving the old gates from Days Lock back to the depot at the end of Bridge Street. This is the final part of replacing the gates.

Please ensure that the east side of Bridge Street is clear of cars on Wednesday, as well as any spaces opposite bike racks. A parking amnesty has been arranged with the council allowing cars to park elsewhere on the island.

The plan is as follows:

1.     HGV laden with gates to enter Bridge Street mid-morning (ETA 10.30am) Wednesday 14th April

2.     Unladen HGV to exit Osney Depot approx 12pm

3.     HGV laden with gates to enter Bridge Street mid-afternoon (ETA 2.30pm) Wednesday 14th April

4.     Unladen HGV to exit Osney Depot approx 4pm

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Lock gates moving down Bridge Street, 10 March 2021

This coming Wednesday the Environment Agency will be moving its second set of lock gates for Days Lock from the depot. These will come down Bridge Street between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. on 10 March.

Please ensure that all vehicles are moved from Bridge Street, or ready to move, at this time. Bikes in the bike bays will also need to be moved.

See the EA letter for further information.

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Katie Miller

Katie Miller, who lived on Osney as a child and now lives just off the island, near the River Hotel, is raising money for some surgery she needs. See the Oxford Mail article here:

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Bill Bowell obituary

Bill Bowell died on 19 January 2021 aged 87. He had lived for 60 years in Bridge Street with his wife Edna, who died in December 2019. Bill worked as a chef when younger, and is remembered in Osney for his friendliness, for delivering the Oxford Mail and Times door-to-door, and for famously swimming with dolphins off the coast of Ireland to help with his depression.

His funeral is at St Frideswide’s Church on 5 February (family only due to COVID restrictions).


Marc Thompson writes: Bill was our newspaper delivery ‘boy’ when we first moved to the island 20 years ago. We discovered that he visited Dingle in Kerry most years to swim with Fungi the dolphin. Bill suffered from depression and the dolphin swimming he found helped with this. It is probably no coincidence that Fungi has disappeared from Dingle in the last couple of weeks just as Bill has departed this life.  He was a lovely man, gentle and kind.

Miranda Jones writes: Dear Bill Bowell delivered newspapers to Osney islanders and was always willing to  have a chat if one’s paths crossed. He would keep an eye open for people who left their keys in the door or even left their door open. A very kind and good person. Farewell Bill.

Elizabeth Newbery writes: Bill was the very first person I met on the Island when I arrived here. Bill became a good source of information for the newsletter which I used to put together before Jane.

Chris Gray writes: Bill was one of the brightest stars of Oxford Mail distribution. One colourful detail I recall is that each weekday night he would be on Osney Bridge with a paper ready to hand to the Bentley-driving chauffeur of Sir Basil Blackwell en route from Blackwell’s bookshop to his home at Appleton.

Councillor Susanna Pressel writes: I have known Bill and his family for about 25 years. He was a special and much loved man – always warm, friendly and hospitable, with a delightful twinkle in his eye and a really lovely voice. Until recently he was very active locally. …When I first got to know him, his children lived nearby; his daughter, for instance worked at West Oxford School for a long time. They have always been a close family. I’m sure he will be fondly remembered for a long time. Osney Island will be poorer without him.

Julia Marsh writes: Bill Bowell was a larger than life character when we moved to South Street in 1990, always taking an interest in our daughters, telling me I’d need to get a move on in order to catch up with the number of children he and Edna had (5)!

There are newspaper stories about Bill and the dolphins here, and about Bill and Edna’s experience in the 2007 floods here.

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