34 Cowley Road

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The Oxford Women’s Centre (later, the Oxford Women’s Community Centre) was set up in 1984 and was situated at 34 Cowley Rd. The centre had a café and a crèche and many women’s groups in Oxford used it as a meeting place. They included a community workers’ support group, a discussion group, a writing group, a student lesbian group, lesbian mothers group, rape crisis, women and homeless group, and the claimant’s union women’s group. Numerous courses were held at the centre, such as assertiveness training and bicycle repair workshops. A women’s night bus service also operated for a while on Friday and Saturday nights. A rape crisis phone line and a lesbian phone line—Lesbian Line—were set up and operated from the women’s centre to provide information and support. 34 Cowley Rd also provided space and a focal point for the Oxford Campaign for Homosexual Equality and Oxford Friend. The centre was partly supported by Oxford City Council but relied primarily on its own fund-raising activities, donations, and rent from groups using parts of the building. Sadly, the centre had to close in 1991 due to lack of funding.

Image: Advertisement for Lesbian Line in Pink Times, Autumn 1989.

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