Mark Johnstone Davies is an Oxford local historian, writer, guide, & speaker. He has lived in Oxford for over 20 years, and developed an interest in the history of the city's waterways (and adjacent suburbs) as a result of moving onto a residential narrowboat on the Oxford Canal in 1992. His publications all have a waterways' theme: Our Canal in Oxford (1999), A Towpath Walk in Oxford (2012), The Abingdon Waterturnpike Murder (2008), Stories of Oxford Castle (2006) and Alice in Waterland: Lewis Carroll and the River Thames in Oxford (2012) and Alice's Oxford on Foot (2015).
Mark gives illustrated historical and literary talks and runs courses on various aspects of Oxford's history, mainly non-University, leads walking tours through less-visited parts of the city, and provides commentaries on river cruises. Over time he has developed an interest in how real Oxford people, places, and events have influenced writers of fiction (and conversely how much social history can be gleaned from fictional sources). The creation and content of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', especially in relation to the influence of the River Thames, is a particular specialty.
Clients have included numerous Oxford colleges, local history societies, and secondary schools; many literary societies, including the Samuel Johnson, Lewis Carroll, Barbra Pym, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, and Royal Geographical Societies; the Oxford Visitor Information Centre, Museum of Oxford, National Trust, Oxford Experience, the Oxford Civic Society, and Oxford Preservation Trust. He has also featured at the Dylan Thomas Festival, Oxford Literary Festival, and Oxfordshire Artweeks.
"It was an amazing experience and it was the best tour I have ever been on, regardless of subject matter."
"I have been shown a whole new - and exciting - side of Oxford which I knew existed but had scarcely begun to appreciate."
"Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city, which was much appreciated by all who came on the walk.”
"I enjoyed every moment of it and was thrilled to see so much and hear so many great stories about the novels."