South Oxhey is a suburb of Watford in the Watford Rural parish of the Three Rivers district of Hertfordshire, England. It is located in the south western corner of Hertfordshire and close to the boundary with Greater London. At the 2011 Census South Oxhey’s population was included in the Northwick Ward of Three Rivers Council.
South Oxhey is a large estate built on land that was formerly part of the Oxhey Hall Estate. There was a manor house here, Oxhey Place, and a chapel. The manor house was owned by the Blackwell family of Crosse and Blackwell fame. It burnt down in 1960. Oxhey Chapel dates from 1612 and is still standing to the south of the parish church of All Saints. The church was opened in 1954 to serve the new estate built after the Second World War by the London County Council. The church was demolished and rebuilt in 2000.
Since the introduction of the nationwide Right to buy policy in 1980, many South Oxhey residents have bought their homes from the local council, meaning that by 2007, some 70% of houses on the estate are privately owned. The estate was built after the Second World War to help alleviate the housing pressures thrust upon London during the Blitz as well as general inadequate housing. South Oxhey was originally built and managed by the London County Council and later the Greater London Council. In 1980 the ownership and management of the estate was transferred from the GLC to Three Rivers District Council. Following changes to financial regulations in 2008, the remaining social housing was transferred to Thrive Homes housing association.
South Oxhey featured in the BBC television series The Choir: Unsung Town which was first broadcast on BBC Two on 1 September 2009. The programme featured a project by Gareth Malone to assemble a community choir in the town by recruiting local residents and encouraging them to take part. A legacy of the programme was the foundation of two groups soccer uniforms wholesale, the South Oxhey Community Choir and the South Oxhey Youth Choir.
As part of the TV series, the choirs performed at venues including the Watford Colosseum, St Albans Abbey, and headlining at Sox Fest ’09 in May 2009. In April 2009, the Community Choir made their debut recording at Abbey Road Studios.
Gareth Malone continued as choirmaster for two years following the conclusion of the TV recording and now maintains his support as patron. The current musical director is Simon Wookey and both the Community and Youth choirs continue to make regular performances about three to four times per year at events around Hertfordshire and the South East of England.
South Oxhey is served by London Overground rail services from Carpenders Park railway station which is on the Watford DC Line. Trains run from Watford Junction to London Euston every 20 minutes (every 30 minutes in the evenings) in either direction. Until 1982, Carpenders Park was part of the London Underground network, on the Bakerloo line.
A number of local bus routes also pass through South Oxhey. Buses are managed by Hertfordshire County Council’s Intalink transport service. One service is provided by Arriva Shires & Essex: The No. 8 runs from Northwood (Mount Vernon Hospital) to Abbots Langley running along Fairfield Avenue, Gosforth Lane and Hayling Road – the route vacated by the cessation of the 503 service refilling water bottles. In addition, there are two limited ‘shopper’ services; The R16 to North Watford and R17 Hatch End both operated by Red Eagle, the W19, operated by Red Rose Travel, runs to North Watford and North Bushey via Carpenders Park, Oxhey Village and Watford Town Centre.
The No soccer long socks. 503 (formerly the no. 1 and 2) used to operate in South Oxhey running via Watford Town Centre, zig-zagging across the northern part of the estate before running in a loop around the southern area and terminating in Hemel Hempstead. However, from September 2014, the service was cut in South Oxhey with the 8 running over its old route. Passengers who used the 503 route beyond Watford are advised to pick up the 500 bus from Watford Town Centre for Kings Langley and Hemel Hempstead. There are no bus services on the number 8, however, after 7.30pm, due to funding cuts from Hertfordshire County Council.
Although quite some distance away from the main shopping precinct, Moor Park tube station located in Sandy Lodge (near the top of Hayling Road and connecting onto Hampermill Lane/Sandy Lane) and bordering the Moor Park estate, also serves a number of commuters and general passengers from South Oxhey.
South Oxhey has no secondary schools. However, from the early 1950s, there were two Secondary modern schools – Clarendon, on Chilwell Gardens, and the smaller Hampden School, on Little Oxhey Lane. Built to cater for the post war ‘baby boom’, both schools eventually combined to form Sir James Altham Comprehensive (upper and lower schools) and eventually closed as a result of the continual selling of public amenities to developers by Three Rivers Council.
In 2012, the Three Rivers District Council proposed a redevelopment of the local shopping and business area known as ‘The Precinct’. The initiative was devised after 130 flats between Fairfield Avenue and Oxhey Drive were identified by the council as being beyond repair and in need of replacing. However many residents were against the idea of knocking down the old Precinct favouring refurbishment of the existing buildings. Many of the local shop keepers formed a pressure group against a full redevelopment.
In November 2013, political support for the South Oxhey Initiative fractured as the local Conservative Party withdrew their backing for the regeneration scheme. This followed the decision by two housing associations to pull their support as development partners bpa free drink bottles. One of the main areas of political disagreement is the level of social housing to be included in the proposed development. In January 2014, Three Rivers Council announced that they intend to continue with submitting an outline planning application in June 2014, in the hope that a developer will show interest in the scheme after planning permission has been granted.
South Oxhey has a number of doctors surgeries based on Oxhey Drive, the largest being The Consulting Rooms. Since the onset of Clinical Commissioning Groups in 2013, services have been expanded to include the wider community, enabling patients to have more choice in their care. There is also a surgery near the top end of Prestwick Road.
Oxhey Woods Local Nature Reserve is on the western border of South Oxhey.
Oxhey Jets football club were established in 1972 as a boys team, eventually moving to the local Watford leagues when they became a men’s team. The club are now in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division and made their debut in the FA Cup during the 2005–06 season.
A book South Oxhey : “a giant on their doorstep” author Rose McNamara-Wright tells a brief history of South Oxhey for children growing up during the war as told through her own experiences.