Manzil Way

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This is the page for Manzil Way, off Cowley Road.

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2017: View of the NHS health centre and Manzil Gardens from Cowley Road
2019: Anne Marino nominated Talking Space Plus, based at Manzil Way as her most healing place on Cowley Road.
2017: East Oxford Mosque
2017: The former chapel, all that remains of the old workhouse. Now the Asian Cultural Centre.


Manzil Way is home to numerous NHS and third sector health organizations, as well as the East Oxford Mosque. The Asian Cultural Centre occupies the only building left from the demolition of the former hospital/ workhouse.

1863 - 1983

The whole of the Manzil Way site was formerly home to the imposing Cowley Road Workhouse, approached by a long drive (now Manzil Way road). This workhouse for 330 inmates replaced the former Oxford City Workhouse on Rats & Mice Hill (Little Clarendon Street). It stood on eleven acres of land bought from Magdalen and Pembroke Colleges. Its foundation stone was laid on 6 April 1863 and it was completed in 1865 by a local builder named Curtis[1].

According to a 1968 government report entitled "Allegations Concerning the Care of Elderly Patients in Certain Hospitals", which dealt with allegations of mistreatment of elderly patients at the hospital:

"The building cost £7,000 and was administered by the Poor Law Board. By the Local Government Act of 1929 the hospital was transferred from the Guardians of the Poor Law to the Oxford County Borough Council as the Local Public Assistance Authority and was used, together with the Headington Workhouse, by the Public Assistance Committee in discharging their duties for the proper care and maintenance of all persons requiring relief in a Poor Law Institution."[2]


During the First World War the Workhouse building was used as the Cowley section of the 3rd Southern General Hospital, a picture and more information can be seen on the Oxford History page about the hospital.

The building became a geriatric hospital in 1929, and the place of death of many people is described in burial registers as "205A Cowley Road". The hospital was listed in the 1949 Kelly's directory as 205a Cowley Road and some births occurred there as well as deaths [3].

Allegations Concerning the Care of Elderly Patients in Certain Hospitals nothes that "the Hospital was handed over to the United Oxford Hospitals on 5th July, 1948, on the commencement of the National Health Service, it comprised four main buildings used for the accommodation of patients and three buildings used for staff purposes.".

In 1951 (possibly 1958?) the first geriatric day hospital in the country was opened on the site.

The hospital closed in about 1983, amidst much public opposition.[4]

In the 1970s this was a district nurses hub.

All that remains of the former workhouse is the chapel behind the mosque (now the Asian Cultural Centre). The buildings behind Restore, now used by Oxford Health NHS Trust for mental health services, seem to date from the time of the geriatric hospital (c.1950s).

Before then? is a DIY community history - help us write it!

Do you know more about this business, or remember what was at this address before? Do you have any old photographs or memories to share? Please add them to the site! Here is a how-to guide