No. 32: Former shop and lodging house

No. 32 was the third house down from the Holywell corner on the east side of Broad Street. Together with No. 31 to the south, 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 there were old leases on this shop and No. 31 which did not expire until 1891.

The 1772 Survey of Oxford shows that the saddler Nicholas Halse (c.1726–1800) had his shop here, and that it had a frontage of 6 yards 2 ft 3 in. Parson Woodforde (who lived just around the corner in New College) was a regular visitor to his saddlery when an undergraduate (1758–1763) and mentions it a number of times in his diaries.

The 1841 census shows the ironmonger John Hoar (25) living here with Caroline (35) and John (4 months). It may have been Caroline’s second marriage, as also in the household are Elizabeth, Caroline, and John Stone, all put down as aged 15. They also have two people who appear to be lodgers.

On 24 February 1849 Messrs Rockall & Jones announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal that they had opened the Oxford University Tea and Italian Warehouse here at No. 32, and that they would include in their list “every kind of Grocery and Fruits, Biscuits, Potted Meats, and such articles are are more particularly adapted for the use of the Members of the University”

At the time of the 1851 census, the grocer Edward Payne lived here over his shop. There was also, a “gents’ lodging house” on the premises, looked after by Richard Rockall and his wife Mary and their one servant. They have only two lodgers on census night. Rockall was also the billiard table keeper at the Skylight Rooms, which were in another her large building running at right-angles in behind No. 32.

At the time of the 1861 census, this shop was occupied by a chemist, George T. Prior, who lived on the premises with his wife Sophia, their young daughter, an apprentice, and a servant. There was also room on the site for the Williams family with their five children, a governess, and three servants.

On 29 September 1866 the forthcoming auction of this shop, which was held on lease from the Warden and Scholars of Merton College for forty years from Lady Day 1852, was advertised thus in Jackson's Oxford Journal:

A well-situated HOUSE, with CHEMIST'S SHOP, No. 32, Broad-street, in the occupation of Mr. Prior. The House comprises front and back shops, 4 sitting rooms, 7 bedrooms, cellars, and servants' offices.

From January 1883 for at least a year, the archaeologist Arthur Evans and his wife Margaret were lodgers here.

The chemist George T. Prior remained here until the shop was demolished in 1891. .

Occupants of 32 Broad Street listed in directories


Nicholas Halse, saddler (died 1800)
then probably his son William Halse


T. P. Mucklow, Dispensing chemist


John Hoar, Ironmonger & Smith


R. Rockall, Picture frame maker


Messrs Rockall & Jones, Oxford University Tea and Italian Warehouse


Edward H. Payne, Grocer & Tea dealer &c.
The Skylight Rooms: Richard Rockall, Billiard room proprietor


George T. Prior, Pharmaceutical chemist
(and post office from 1875–1876)

Demolished in 1891 (along with No. 31 to the south)
to make room for Phase 2 of the Indian Institute

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