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Oxford Inscriptions: Florence Park


Florence Park left plaque

FLORENCE PARK

THE LAND FOR THIS PARK
WAS PRESENTED BY
COUNCILLOR F. E. MOSS

(OF MESSRS N. MOSS & SON LTD.)
TO THE CITY OF OXFORD
MAY 7TH 1934
IN MEMORY OF HIS SISTER
FLORENCE


Florence Park right plaque

FLORENCE PARK

THIS PARK WAS OFFICIALLY
OPENED ON JULY 27TH 1936
BY THE MAYOR, ALDERMEN
AND COUNCILLORS OF THE
CITY OF OXFORD

COUNCILLOR MRS MARY G TOWNSEND MAYOR
COUNCILLOR H. S. ROGERS M.A. SHERIFF
COUNCILLOR J. R. BENSON M.A. CHAIRMAN
  PARKS & RECREATION GROUNDS COMMITTEE

Florence Park gatesThe main gates of Florence Park, at the end of Florence Park Road,
with a plaque on each of the gateposts

The Florence Park estate was built by Frederick Ernest Moss, a speculative builder of N. Moss & Sons who moved to Oxford from Wales in 1929 to build housing for men coming to work at the Morris Cowley car factory.

He first built Clive Road as a “show” estate of private houses. He then bought 73 acres of farmland, market garden, and marsh from Christ Church where between 1933 and 1937 he built the Florence Park estate, which he named after his sister Mrs Florence Inson, who had died at the age of 36 in May 1933. The houses there were solely to rent out at prices ranging from 11/6 to 16/6 per week. This estate became known as “Little Rhonda” because so many Welshmen moved in there. Many of the houses, however, had structural defects, and when Moss did not respond to complaints, a tenants' committee was formed.

Frederick Ernest Moss was the Conservative city councillor for Cowley & Iffley ward. On 7 May 1934 he donated 21 acres of the building site to the city council for a park in his sister's memory. He imposed a condition that there should be an emphasis on flowers rather than games, and that at least three acres should be set aside for a children's corner.

The park was opened on 27 July 1936 by the Mayor of Oxford Mary Townsend together with the Sheriff of Oxford and the Chairman of the Parks & Recreation Ground Committee.


More on the Moss family

Frederick Ernest Moss was born in Merthyr Tydfil on 30 December 1896 and his only sibling Florence Moss in 1902: they were the children of Nathaniel Moss and Harriet Jones, who were married there in 1896.

At the time of the 1911 census Frederick (14) and Florence (8) (recorded as Fred and Florrie) were living at 5 Alma Street, Merthyr Tydfil with their father Nathaniel (38), who was a Glamorgan-born builder & contractor, and their mother Harriet (39), who had been born in Merthyr Tydfil.

Frederick served in the Shropshire Light Infantry in the First World War, and was discharged on 16 December 1921. Near the beginning of 1925 in Merthyr Tydfil he married Elizabeth M. Evans (born 9 June 1900).

Soon after his marriage Frederick moved with his wife to Oxford to work, leaving his parents and sister in South Wales. In 1930 his address was given as 15 Rose Hill, Iffley. While in Oxford he was the President of the Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir.

Near the end of 1932 in Cardiff, Frederick's sister Florence Moss married the company director Harold Ivor Inson. Not long after the marriage, on 18 May 1933, she died at 42 Kelston Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff at the age of 36.

In 1934 Moss was living at Headington End or Hall in Sandhills (a large house demolished the following year to make way for Burdell Avenue).

Frederick served as President of the National Federation of House Builders, and was a Freeman of the City of London. At the time the 1939 Register was compiled, he was staying at the Piccadilly Hotel with his wife Elizabeth.

His father Nathaniel Moss died in Cardiff on 31 January 1943, and his mother Harriet in Porthcawl on 25 February 1945.

In 1946 Frederick sold the building firm he had inherited and emigrated to South Africa.


Florence Park Street names

Six roads in Florence Park are named after British Generals who served in India:


See also:
Stephanie Jenkins