The Oxford Road Murders

Between 2015 and 2017 some 120+ mature trees were cut down along Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor.  The majority were killed to make way for the University of Manchester’s £1bn campus redevelopment, although some were also lost to short-sighted design on the excellent new cycleway and to private development by Bruntwood.  To add insult to injury, almost all the replacement trees planted are miserable little fastigiate trees, which will never make a substantial contribution to the appearance and environment of the Corridor.

Upset at the casual loss of some fine signature trees together with many others collectively making an important contribution to the streetscape and liveability, and determined to do what he could to prevent it happening again, Phil was inspired to complete a number of works protesting their loss and illustrating the value of urban trees.

Postal Artwork

Between 6th November 2017 and 5th November 2018, Phil sent a total of 19 postcards to 96 individuals each illustrating one or more of the murders along the corridor.  Each card carried a picture of one or more trees being cut down on one side, whilst the other carried the location and month of the murder and a weblink to evidence of the value of urban trees environmentally, for health, learning & culture, and economically.

In April/May 2019, Phil mounted an exhibition at Manchester Museum presenting his work an, raising awareness of the enormity of the destruction and the inadequacy of the attempted remediation.  He also led a number of guided walks, visiting the site of many of the murders, raising concerns about the inadequacy of the process and giving people an opportunity to mourn their loss.

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©2020 Phil Barton