26–27 Cornmarket

Timbered house

The above picture taken in 2009 shows 26–27 Cornmarket Street (now occupied by Pret A Manger).

This building probably dates from the fifteenth century, and was altered in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. It was extensively restored by its owner, Jesus College, in 1986–7, and is Grade II listed.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to Salter, 26 Cornmarket was then in the occupation of Mr Wootten and No. 27 of Mr Townsend, and each had a frontage of exactly 4 yards.

Abraham Zacharias, a silversmith, jeweller, and watch & clock maker at 2 Cornmarket in the 1850s, set up his son Joel in business here at No. 27 in the 1870s as a china and glass dealer. In the late 1880s the business expanded into No. 26, and started selling waterproof clothing, and by about 1896 stopped selling china and glass altogether. When Joel Zacharias died in 1905, the business was taken over by Henry Osborn King of Wolvercote, who was succeeded by his son Cecil. The business closed in 1983.

The premises were restored in 1986 by the owners, Jesus College.

In the Censuses


No. 26: Living over the shop are Robert Wharton (30), a fruiterer, and Frederick Wharton (25), an assistant fruiterer. They have one female servant.

No. 27: Robert Couling (45), a tailor, is living here with Elizabeth (40), Charlotte (20), Harriet (12) and Elizabeth (10).


No. 26: The two bachelor brothers, Robert Wharton (47), the fruiterer, and Frederick (37), the assistant fruiterer, who who were born in Henley-on-Thames, are still living here. They have one female servant.

No. 27: Robert Couling (55), is still listed here as a tailor, with his wife Elizabeth (53) who is listed as a shopkeeper, and his daughters Elizabeth (20), and Harriet (22), who are respectively described as a mantua maker, and dressmaker.


No. 26: Frederick Wharton (45), still unmarried and described as the brother of the head of the household and a fruiterer’s shopman, was at the house on census night with their housekeeper, a widow of 58.

No. 27: Robert Couling (65) is still living over the shop with his wife Elizabeth (64) and his nephew Henry Faulkner (17), who is described as a tailor’s assistant.


No. 26: Maryanne Wharton (4), described as a widow and a fruiterer, is living here with her son Robert Wharton (19) and one general servant.

No. 27: Listed as uninhabited. Joel Zacharias (29) was living with his parents at 1A Cornmarket.

Occupants of 26 and 27 Cornmarket listed in directories etc.


No. 27 (left) No. 26 (right)


Robert Couling
Tailor & Confectioner (1839–1842)

Confectioner (1846)

Robert Wharton
Foreign Fruit & Italian Warehouse

Italian, foreign fruit and fish sauce warehouse

Dealer in British wines, Italian oil and fish sauce


(also J. Harrison, Livery stable keeper, in 1839)


John Piper
The Oxford Ale Stores


Abraham Zacharias
China and glass warehouse


Joel Zacharias
Glass and china depôt

Mrs Wharton
Foreign fruiterer & Italian warehouse


26 & 27: J. Zacharias & Co., Waterproof clothing manufacturers
27: Joel Zacharias, China & glass dealer


Zacharias & Co., waterproof clothing manufacturers


Laura Ashley


Sole Shoes

By 2008 to present

Pret A Manger

Old pictures on other websites and in books

For extracts from an interesting early catalogue of Zacharias & Co, see Michael L. Turner and David Vaisey, Oxford Shops and Shopping, pp. 44–5.

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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