The exhibition links the artifacts with the local industry behind basket making. A photograph of a basket-making shop with proud workmen is included as are sketches of workers peeling osiers to provide white willow for basket making. Historic photographs, dated 1901, by Henry Taunt of men stripping willow for eel traps and tying willow into bolts in Upper Fisher Row are some of the treasures on show at this neat exhibition. One image shows a rare depiction of how Oxford’s North Gate, top of Cornmarket Street, (an area now graced with the disposable world of take away food) looked before its partial demolition in 1771.
The diverse use of this natural resource is highlighted. A formal photograph of convalescing soldiers sitting in cane wheelchairs outside a General Hospital located on Cowley Road in 1916 is moving. A willow basket perched on a fish and chips delivery bicycle is cheering. This civilised, well-presented exhibition in neat glass cabinets is an excellent excuse to re-discover the always fascinating resources of the Centre For Oxfordshire Studies on the second floor of Oxford’s Central Library.