This paper examines environmental change associated with
climbing plants (ivy/creeper) on several historical buildings in central Oxford using archival
photographs. ViewFinder from English Heritage was used to access the photoarchives
in an advanced search of the area of “Oxford” and in the county of “Oxfordshire”.
The study includes a variety of buildings, including colleges, churches,
chapels, asylums, inns/hotels, factories, a brewery, pubs, a castle as well as
architectural elements, such as doorways, cloisters, gates, and walls. The
findings reveal that a majority of photographs denoted ivy-/creeper-clad
buildings (in nearly 53% of photographs found mostly in the Taunt collection).
The greatest abundance of climbing plants was found in the 1880s followed by
the 1900s. A further examination of University colleges is warranted due to the
earlier and more frequent appearance of ivy/creeper on these buildings.
Cite this paper
M. Thornbush, "A Photo-Based Environmental History of the Use of Climbing Plants in Central Oxford, UK," International Journal of Geosciences, Vol. 4 No. 7, 2013, pp. 1083-1094. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2013.47102.
 M. J. Thornbush, “Studies of Oxford Stone as a Contribution to Environmental Geomorphology,” Journal of Environmental Geography, Vol. 6, No. 1-2, 2013, pp. 9-19.
 M. Thornbush, “Postcards used to Track Environmental History,” Environmental History, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2008, pp. 360-365. doi:10.1093/envhis/13.2.360
 M. Thornbush and H. Viles, “The Changing Facade of Magdalen College, Oxford: Reconstructing Long-Term Soiling Patterns from Archival Photographs and Traffic Records,” Journal of Architectural Conservation, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2005, pp. 40-57.
 H. A. Viles, “Time and Grime: Studies in the History of Building Stone Decay in Oxford,” Research Paper No. 50, University of Oxford, Oxford, 1994, pp. 1-27.
 H. A. Viles, “The Environmental Sensitivity of Blistering of Limestone Walls in Oxford, England: A Preliminary Study,” In: D. S. G. Thomas and R. J. Allison, Eds., Landscape Sensitivity, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester, 1993, pp. 308-326.
 M. J. Thornbush, “Tracking the Use of Climbing Plants in the Urban Landscape through the Photo Archives of Two Oxford Colleges, 1861-1964,” Landscape Research, Vol. 38, No. 3, 2013, pp. 312-328.
 M. J. Thornbush and H. A. Viles, “Photographic Monitoring of Soiling and Decay of Roadside Walls in Oxford, England,” Environmental Geology, Vol. 56, No. 3-4, 2008, pp. 777-787. doi:10.1007/s00254-008-1311-3
 M. J. Thornbush, “Photographic Surveys of Building Exteriors in Central Oxford, UK,” International Journal of Architectural Heritage, Vol. 4, No. 4, 2010, pp. 351-369. doi:10.1080/15583050903131355
 M. Thornbush and H. Viles, “Integrated Digital Photography and Image Processing for the Quantification of Colouration on Soiled Surfaces in Oxford, England,” Journal of Cultural Heritage, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2004, pp. 285-290. doi:10.1016/j.culher.2003.10.004
 M. J. Thornbush and H. A. Viles, “Surface Soiling Pattern Detected by Integrated Digital Photography and Image Processing of Exposed Limestone in Oxford, England,” In: C. Saiz-Jimenez, Ed., Air Pollution and Cultural Heritage, A. A. Balkema Publishers, London, 2004, pp. 221-224.
 M. J. Thornbush and H. A. Viles, “Photo-Based Decay Mapping of Replaced Stone Blocks on the Boundary Wall of Worcester College, Oxford,” In: R. Prikryl and B. J. Smith, Eds., Building Stone Decay: From Diagnosis to Conservation, Geological Society, London, 2007, pp. 69-75.
 M. Thornbush, “Grayscale Calibration of Outdoor Photographic Surveys of Historical Stone Walls in Oxford, England,” Color Research and Application, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2008, pp. 61-67. doi:10.1002/col.20374
 M. J. Thornbush, “Measurements of Soiling and Colour Change Using Outdoor Rephotography and Image Processing in Adobe Photoshop along the Southern Facade of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,” In: B. J. Smith, M. Gomez-Heras, H. A. Viles and J. Cassar, Eds., Limestone in the Built Environment: Present-Day Challenges for the Preservation of the Past, Geological Society, London, 2010, pp. 231-236.
 M. J. Thornbush, “Developing a Weathering Scale for Limestone Walls in Central Oxford, UK,” Geosciences, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2012, pp. 277-297.
 M. J. Thornbush and S. E. Thornbush, “The Application of a Limestone Weathering Index at Churchyards in Central Oxford, UK,” Applied Geography, Vol. 42, Special Issue, 2013, pp. 157-164.
 M. J. Thornbush, “Digital Photography Used to Quantify the Greening of North-Facing Walls along Broad Street in Central Oxford, UK,” Special Issue on Quantitative Geomorphology, Geomorphologie: Relief, Processus, Environment, No. 2, 2013, pp. 111-118.
 M. J. Thornbush, “Photogeomorphological Studies of Oxford Stone—A Review,” Landform Analysis, in Press.
 M. J. Thornbush, “The Use of Climbing Plants in Heritage Bioconservation,” In: Horizons in Earth Science Research, Volume 10, Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, in press.