1. 9 South Parks Road
The first home for the Computing Laboratory was 9 South Parks Road, near the corner of St Cross Road and South Parks Road. It had been intended the they would move into 19 Parks Road but that was still fully occupied and the University had to find them somewhere else to go.
A twenty year lease was acquired in 1957 but the building had to be converted to laboratory space before it could be occupied. They needed:
The building alterations were finished in June 1958.
The garden was maintained and used by the Department of Botany. It joined with the Department of Agriculture and the School of Forestry to become the Department of Plant Sciences in 1980s.
1960 Space had started to become a problem. The verandah was filled in to allow for new equipment
Staff and computers moved to 19 Parks Road in 1963.
9 South Parks Road has since been demolished to make way for Experimental Psychology and Zoology
2. 19 Parks Road
When the Computing laboratory moved to 19 Parks Road, it was known as the old Engineering Building. It still is an engineering building. The KDF9 computer was installed here while the Ferranti Mercury was still running at South Parks Road.
Compared to 9 South Parks Road, it had a larger computer room and better facilities for problem and data preparation. However, it didn’t seem spacious for long and, in 1967 Work began on defining the facilities and space needed in a new Computer Laboratory building.
Figure building-photos/19-parks-road/oucspr1b.jpg [Old Engineering Building with Thom building behind]
Figure building-photos/19-parks-road/19parksRoad2.jpg [Old Engineering Building with the Engineering Technology Building]
3. Banbury Road, 1970 to 1975
In 1970, houses 17 and 19 Banbury Road were occupied by the Computing Service which had sp[lit from the Computing Laboratory. A new computer building was completed in the “tongue” area between Banbury and Woodstock Roads behind 17 and 19. This is now the Thames Suite of lecture rooms. All together they provided space for the ICL 1906A computer, its ancillary equipment, all Computing Service staff and some thinking and library space for users. 15 Banbury Road was added in 1971.
By 1975, the Computing Service had taken over all the houses in the block and occupied numbers 7 to 19 as it does today. A second extension was started in the car park behind numbers 7 to 13 and became what is now called the machine room or computer room. Work continued for several years on converting the interiors. For example, adding connecting corridors.
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/building-rear-extension/oucsbr1b.jpg [Rear of Banbury Road houses before building work]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/building-rear-extension/oucsbr2b.jpg [Gardens behind Banbury Road houses, with two abandoned cars before building work]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/building-rear-extension/oucsbr4b.jpg [Starting to clear the gardens]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/building-rear-extension/oucsbr5b.jpg [Diggers, trucks - the heavy equipment moves in]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/building-rear-extension/oucsbr3b.jpg [Gardens with some foundations in place]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/building-rear-extension/oucsbr8b.jpg [General view of the building site]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/2007/thamessuite-b.jpg [The outside of the completed extension taken June 2007]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/2007/oucs-1988-b.jpg [Aerial view of OUCS, 7 to 19 Banbury Road showing extensions at the back]
4. Banbury Road, 1975 onwards
All the building work since the computer room extension in 1975 has been internal. A second lecture room was set up in 1987 and in 1988 the user area was remodelled as a Help Area with desks for advisory staff and comfy seats for users. A 24 hour access data centre was created in 1989, as were the Humanities Computing Centre, new rooms for Microadvisory and the micromaintenance and network teams, and a users common room complete with coffee machine.
1995 and '96 saw changes in the lecture rooms again with a third room brought into use and the site at 59 George Street closed down. All staff, courses and the Learning and Resource Centre moved to the Banbury Road site. To try to accomodate the expanding staff levels, basements in houses 15 and 19 were converted to offices with large light wells. Attics in 7 and 9 were converted to offices.
Figure building-photos/59george-st-b.jpg [59 George Street, once the outpost of the Computer Teaching Centre and now a pizza restaurant]
Not surprisingly, the basement offices were not popular and in 2002 the basements were converted to a staff tea room and conference rooms. The smokers tea room was closed and it and the old tea room were converted to offices. Reception was also revamped.
The demand for courses continued and a fourth training room was built in 2003 followed by extensive refurbishment of other lecture rooms and the creation of the Thames Suite of rooms.
5. The Changing Face of 7 to 19 Banbury Road
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/front-views/oucsbw3b.jpg [No connecting corridors and a hedge in the way. 13 Banbury Road]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/front-views/oucsbw2.jpg [Work on the doorway at 13 Banbury Road]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/2007/front-door-by-sy-b.jpg [Front door at 13 Banbury Road, 2007]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/2007/front-door-snow-by-sy-b.jpg [ront door at 13 Banbury Road in the snow, 2007]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/front-views/oucsbw1b.jpg [9 to 15 Banbury Road showing connecting corridors]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/front-views/oucsbw8b.jpg [13 to 15 Banbury Road]Note the holly tree against the wall. This had to be cut down when the lightwells to the basement were dug in 2002 but a cutting was taken and the tree grown from this can be seen behind the monkey puzzle tree in Figure 35.
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/2007/11-13-banbury-road-by-sy-b.jpg [13 to 15 Banbury Road, 2007]
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/2007/15-19banbury-road-1b.jpg [15 to 19 Banbury Road, 2007]The monkey puzzle tree was a gift from a retiring member of staff. The holly tree behind it was grown from a cutting taken when the old holly tree, seen in Figure 33, was cut down to make the basement lightwells in 2002.
Figure building-photos/banbury-road/buildingback.gif [Line drawing of 7 to 19 Banbury Road, at one time used as a logo]
6. Other Buildings Associated wtih Computing in Oxford
The Computing Laboratory occupies 8 to 11 Keble Road and the Wolfson Building, built in 1993.
eScience started with a collaboration between ComLab and OUCS with staff in both buildings. The eScience building, housing the Oxford eResearch Centre and providing additional space for ComLab, was opened in 2007.
Back to main OUCS History pages