RESIDENTS in Witney are being challenged to find the fascinating stories behind the streets they call home.

Witney Town Council is urging young and old to discover more about the people, places and things commemorated in the area's road names, ahead of a free exhibition starting on Sunday.

The display, themed around 'people power', asks for material on the town's movers and shakers and marks the 25th anniversary of Heritage Open Days, the country's largest festival of history and culture.

Two people who have already taken a trip back in time are Tower Hill residents Ken and Liz Flynn.

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The street is named after an enormous water tower that once stood near its summit and the couple satisfied a long-held ambition to find out more.

Mrs Flynn said: “I remember when we lived off Tower Hill, the old man next door always used to tell us about the water tower, and we always wondered where it was.

"It’s been fantastic to have the chance to find out more about the tower, the street and its history – there’s so much of it in front of us everyday that we don’t even think about.”

The brick and metal tower opened in 1903 and held 80,000 gallons of water, but its short existence was marred by controversy as taxpayers were unhappy with the amount it cost to build.

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Within a few months of its unveiling, the tower malfunctioned dramatically and collapsed.

Tower Hill later became the site of Crawford Collets, a manufacturing firm that was moved out of London in the Second World War, and Mr Flynn was one of its employees.

The company's home was the former union workhouse at the top of the hill, with its architect, George Wilkinson, now remembered in modern cul-de-sacs Union Way and Wilkinson Place.

The town council hopes to unveil more about the history of roads such as Blakes Avenue, Ashcombe Crescent and Collier Crescent.

But like Tower Hill, the exhibition will also seek to reveal the heritage of road names including French Close, Dark Lane and The Springs.

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The council is asking for photos of streets from times gone by to add a visual dimension to the display, which will include family-friendly activities.

A council statement said: "At its very essence, Heritage Open Days is people power – local communities telling the stories they want told, shaping the perceptions of their village, town or region, and playing a role in ensuring their heritage is celebrated and maintained."

In 2018, more than 5,500 Heritage Open Days events welcomed more than three million visitors across the country.

The Witney exhibition takes place at the Corn Exchange and runs from Sunday until Saturday, September 21.

Visit if you want to get involved.