No. 44: Former shop

44 Broad Street

No. 44 Broad Street was the fourth from the left of the thirteen houses dating from the first half of the seventeenth century that were that were demolished to make way for the New Bodleian Library in the late 1930s.

There was a narrow passage between Nos. 44 and 45, leading to the outbuildings attached to the back of the shop.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. No. 44 was then in the occupation of L. Thorp, and its frontage measured 7 yards 0 feet 10 inches. In 1774 Parson Woodforde paid many visits to “Thorpe the hosier”.

In 1783 William Thorp took his son John Wise Thorp into partnership with him and moved his hosier’s business from 32 Broad Street to this house.

John Thorp, the son of John Wise Thorp, then took over the business.

On 7 July 1849 John Thorp announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal that he was declining business at 44 & 45 Broad Street in favour of his son, John Charles Thorp. He died here on 30 December 1856.

The 1851 census shows John Charles Thorp (28), a draper employing eight men, living over the shop with his wife and two young children. Three of his employees lodged in the house, and there was also a cook and two nursemaids.

On 10 March 1855 John Charles Thorp and James B. Hillier announced that they were dissolving their partnership by mutual consent, and would continue trading on his own both here and at 20 High Street.

At the time of the 1861 census Thorp’s new business partner, James Waldie, a Scotsman aged 36, was living over the shop with his wife and two young children, along with three other shop assistants and four servants.

On 26 May 1870 an inquest was held into the death of the illegitimate child of Jane Hicks, the nursemaid at this house.

A.H. Thorp advertisement


Right: An advertisement by A. H. Thorp & Co. in the Oxford Directory for 1861, showing that they were also undertakers.

A. H Thorp is presumably Ann Hester Thorp, John Thorp's daughter, who took over the family business with her husband James Waldie. In 1872 the business was renamed Thorp & Waldie


In 1881 the house was occupied by the mercer Webber Patterson (46), who was unmarried. He was the employer of three men, two women, and a boy. Three of the shop assistants lodged in the house, and there were also two servants, one of them a draper’s porter.

See the bound typescript in the Bodleian Library entitled “The Demolished Houses of Broad Street and the Freeborn Family” (1943), attributed to Emily Sarah Freeborn, and the webpage by Alan Simpson which reproduces some of the material in it.

Occupants of 44 Broad Street listed in directories


Thorp, Linen Drapers, Silk Mercers, Haberdashers, Hosiers &c.

John Thorp (1829, 1839)
J. Thorp & Son (1846)
Thorp & Hillier (1852–1855)
A. H. Thorp & Co (1861–1871)
Thorp & Waldie (1872–1876)


Webber Patterson (late Thorp & Waldie)
Linen draper, Silk mercer, and Undertaker


Richard Ward, Linen draper, Silk mercer, and Undertaker


Henry Edward Abrams, Dealer in antique & high-class furniture


Francis Cambray, Antique furniture warehouse


Cecil A. Halliday, Antique furniture warehouse

This house was demolished with twelve neighbouring houses in 1937
to make room for the New Bodleian Library

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