No. 31: Former shop and lodging house

No. 31 Broad Street was on the northern corner of New College Lane. Together with No. 32 to the north, it was demolished in 1891 to make room for the second phase (the three right-hand bays) of the Indian Institute. The Institute had to be built in two phases because old leases on this shop and No. 32 did not expire until 1891.

The hosier William Thorp came into possession of this shop through his marriage to Mary Wise, daughter of Mr Wise the mercer, on 23 August 1756 at St Cross Church (now Balliol Historic Collections Centre). When Parson Woodforde was at New College between 1758 and 1763, he visited this shop many times. The 1772 Survey of Oxford clearly shows that Mr Thorp’s house was here at the south of the group of four shops that were in Holywell parish, and that it had a frontage of 6 yards 1 ft 6 in.

Thorp and his family lived over the shop here until 1783, when he converted the shop into a front parlour, took his son into partnership, and moved the business to 44 Broad Street.

The 1841 census shows the wine merchant Robert Sheard (35) living here with Charlotte (25), Matilda (5), Edwin (2), and Charlotte (8 months). They have two independent people living with them, and two female servants.

In the mid-1840s this was the Hudson's Bay Fur Establishment, a branch of a firm in London, run by J. T. Shayler. As well as selling furs, he undertook cleaning and restoration of them, and altering them to the current fashion.

At the time of the 1851 census, No. 31 was occupied by John Minty, a master tailor and robe maker, “in partnership with others: many men”. He lived there with his wife and a servant, and had two student lodgers.

From 1861 to 1876 it was a grocer’s shop, run by the Paynes. At the time of the 1861 census, Edward is described as a “Grocer & Sheriff’s officer”, and lives over the shop with his wife Emily, their two daughters, two gentlemen lodgers (one of whom is an Esquire Bedel), and a servant. A firm of accountants took the shop over in 1880, but Mrs Payne continued to live upstairs, and is listed there in the 1881 census: aged 52, she is described as a “householder & share holder”, and is living with her daughter and her elderly uncle. They had one servant and two lodgers (one of whom is the ironmonger James Gill).

Occupants of 31 Broad Street listed in directories


Robert Sheard, Wine & spirit merchant
Charlotte Matilda Sheard, Wine & spirit merchant, by 1842

1845, 1846

James Shayler, Furrier


Richard Omash, Bookbinder


E.H. Payne (Mrs Payne from 1875), Grocer & Italian ware


F. & H. Bacon, Accountants (Mrs Payne still living upstairs)

Demolished in 1891 (along with No. 32 to the north
to make room for Phase 2 of the Indian Institute

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