North Oxford, especially the area between the city centre and Summertown, is considered to be one of the most desirable parts of Oxford (with some of the most expensive property in the city).
Summertown was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as Oxford expanded northwards. The large houses were built on farmland either side of Banbury Road and Woodstock Road.
The focal point of Summertown is a area of shops and restaurants that line both sides of the Banbury road.
In 1898 the City of Oxford Tramways Company extended its horse tram route to a new terminus at Summertown. In 1913 this was replaced by busses
North Oxford has attracted many famous residents, including J.R.R. Tolkein, author of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.
Sir John Betjeman was an enthusiast of North Oxford and wrote poems mentioning the area such as May-Day Song for North Oxford:
Belbroughton Road is bonny, and pinkly bursts the spray
Of prunus and forsythia across the public way,
For a full spring-tide of blossom seethed and departed hence,
Leaving land-locked pools of jonquils by sunny garden fence.
And a constant sound of flushing runneth from windows where
The toothbrush too is airing in this new North Oxford air.
The former home of the author J.R.R. Tolkein in North Oxford