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A Photo-Based Environmental History of the Use of Climbing Plants in Central Oxford, UK

DOI: 10.4236/ijg.2013.47102, PP. 1083-1094

Keywords: Ivy, Creeper, Historical Buildings, Photo Archives, ViewFinder

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Abstract:

This paper examines environmental change associated with climbing plants (ivy/creeper) on several historical buildings in central Oxford using archival photographs. ViewFinder from English Heritage was used to access the photo archives in an advanced search of the area of “Oxford” and in the county of “Oxfordshire”. The study includes a variety of buildings, including colleges, churches, chapels, asylums, inns/hotels, factories, a brewery, pubs, a castle as well as architectural elements, such as doorways, cloisters, gates, and walls. The findings reveal that a majority of photographs denoted ivy-/creeper-clad buildings (in nearly 53% of photographs found mostly in the Taunt collection). The greatest abundance of climbing plants was found in the 1880s followed by the 1900s. A further examination of University colleges is warranted due to the earlier and more frequent appearance of ivy/creeper on these buildings.

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