47–51 Cornmarket Street

47-51 Cornmarket.

Nos. 47–51 were rebuilt in 1879/1880. These five shops are in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church

The earlier shops on this site were occupied as follows in 1772, when a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771:

  • 47: Mr Bowers (frontage 4 yard 1 foot 11 inches)
  • 48: Mr Speakman (frontage 3 yards 0 ft. 10 in.)
  • 49: Mr Rought (frontage 4 yards 2 ft. 0 in.
  • 50: Mr Boswell (frontage 5 yards 2 ft. 6 in.)
  • 51: Mr Lawrance (frontage 5 yards 2 ft. 2 in.)

No. 47 on the right was left by George Potter to the City of Oxford to be used for making loans to freemen. For leases granted by the City between 1693 and 1830, see H. E. Salter, Oxford City Properties, pp. 251–2.

Henry Boswell the elder opened his first trunk & portmanteau shop in the earlier shop at No. 50 in 1738. This was taken over in 1842 by his son Francis, and then in 1862 by Henry Boswell the younger. The latter also took over No. 49 next door in 1868.

In 1874 Henry Boswell the younger had this group of four shops rebuilt, but continued to run his shop at Nos. 49 and 50. On 11 October 1879 Jackson's Oxford Journal reported on the replacement of the shops on this site:

The whole range of houses from the late Alderman Richard Spiers's old premises [No. 44, but this is wrong: see next article] to the Clarendon Hotel, including the buildings lately occupied by Mr. Boswell [49 & 50] and Mr. Neill [48], have been pulled down, to give place to new and larger premises just commenced for Messrs. Gammon, Wicks, and Co., Mr. Boswell, and the Trustees of the City Charities. Mr. Codd is the architect of the whole block, and Mr. Thomas Selby the builder, the amount of the contracts being, we believe, over 10,000l.

The demolished group of houses did not actually extend as far north as No. 44, and this report on 23 October 1880 gives clearer details that the shops actually being replaced were Nos. 47, 48, 49, 50, and 51.

No. 47, Corn Market-street, belonging to the City Charity Trustees, Nos. 48, 49, and 50, belonging to Mr. H. Boswell, and No. 51, the property of Messrs. Gammon and Wicks, have been pulled down and rebuilt in one block, being from the designs of Mr. F. Codd, architect and City Surveyor. The materials are white Garsington brick, stone, and oak, and the style domestic Gothic. The shop fronts are made as bay windows with curved sides, in order to project the goods as much as possible before the eyes of people passing in the street. There is an oriel window with turret at the south-east angle of the building, and another small turretted window at the north-east angle. No. 47, occupied by Mr. Cracknell as a linen draper's shop, covers the whole of the site, with light warehouse under and show room and nine-roomed dwelling house above. No. 48, occupied by Messrs. Lillingstone, boot and shoe makers, is separated from No. 50, which is occupied by Mr. Boswell, portmanteau maker, by a central archway and corridor leading to No. 49. Nos. 48 and 50 each consist of large shops on the ground floor, with workshops in the basement, and large houses suitable for University lodgings above, approached by separate entrances in the central corridor. No. 49 consists entirely of offices occupied by Mr. G. D. Dudley, solicitor, Mr. Cod, architect, and the Young Men's Church of England Association. No. 51, being at the corner of 52 Frewin-court, is somewhat differently arranged, owing to its possessing side windows, advantages which were quickly seen by Messrs. Woodward and Richmond, who have established a woollen drapery business. The upper part of the house is approached by a separate door in the passage, and is occupied by Mrs. Thatcher, late of St. John-street. All the houses are fitted with Jennings' latest and most approved sanitary appliances, Hayward's prismatic lights, speaking tubes, Waygood's lifts, &c. Mr. Thos. Selby, Worcester-place, is the builder of the whole, and the work has been most satisfactorily performed.

Boswell's shop was taken over by Arthur Pearson in the 1890s, but he retained the name, and in 1929 Boswell's moved to new purpose-built premises at 1–3 Broad Street. (Pearson also ran an ironmonger's shop at 31 Cornmarket Street from 1882 to 1912, when he moved that shop to George Street and rebuilt No. 31 as the Oxford Drug Company.).

Messrs Gammon & Wicks had been in Frewin Court at the left-hand side of this group of buildings since at least 1872.

The tailor Henry William Wilton Woodward moved into No. 51 as soon as it was rebuilt. In the early 1920s he moved to 110 High Street, prior to amalgamating with Arthur Shepherd in 1927.

  • Julie Kennedy, The Changing Faces of Oxford City Centre, Book 1, p. 43 shows the former shops at Nos. 49, 50, and 51 in about 1870
  • Michael L. Turner and David Vaisey, Oxford Shops and Shopping, p. 44, illustration 59 shows Woodward’s shop at the present No. 51 in c.1900
  • Ibid., p. 52, illustration 117 for Boswell’s earlier shop at Nos. 49–50 Cornmarket
  • Ibid., p. 53, illustration 118 for Boswell’s shop at the present Nos. 49–50

47-51 Cornmarket c.1900


Left: The present Nos. 47–51 in c.1900.

The name WOODWARD and the number 51 can be seen above the door on the left.

Three doors to the right the name LONG’S REGISTRY shows up clearly on the upstairs window of No. 48

Occupants of 47–51 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc.


No. 51 (left) No. 50 No. 49 No. 48 No. 47 (right)


Robert Braine
Saddler & Harness Maker

H. Boswell
Trunk & Packing Case Maker (1839)

Francis Boswell
Trunk maker (1846, 1851)

H. Boswell
Trunk & portmanteau maker &c (1867)

Mary Ann Fry
Toy dealer

F. Boswell senior

William Sutton
Chemist & Druggist

Sarah Robinson


Charles Richards
Bookseller & stationer in 1841/2

Unclear in 1846

Charlotte (or “Carol.”) Boswell
Turner & cooper

Edward Kent


Joseph Hopkins
Glass & china warehouse

Mrs E. Kitts
Berlin & fancy wool warehouse, staymaker, & baby linen

Charles Coward


Henry Saunders

Mrs Marianne Barrett, Music seller, in 1861

F. R. Barrett
Music seller
W. S. Barratt
Teacher of piano & viola (1867)

Walter Cooper


W. Hammond


Mrs Hopkins
Glass & china warehouse

Henry Boswell
Trunk maker & hosier

George J. Neill


Shops rebuilt by Henry Boswell, with Bocardo Chambers above


Woodward & Richmond
Woollen & Manchester warehousemen
(1880, 1890)

Henry W. Wilton Woodward

Frewen Club upstairs in 1901

Wilton & Co. Ltd
Tailors in 1921

Henry Boswell
Trunk maker & hosier


G. D. D. Dudley, Solicitor
and F. Codd, Architect
in 1880

H. Sandford-Burton, Dentist
in 1880 and 1890

University Type Writing
& General Copying Office
Church of England
Young Men’s Society
in 1890

Plymouth Brethren Meeting Room
Arthur Welch, Solicitor and
Challenor & Sons, Solicitors
in 1901–1902

The Good Luck Tea Rooms (1921)

Ruskin School of Art branch studio (1925)

J. R. Chaundy
Typewriter dealer (1925 & 1928)

C. Lillingston
Boot & shoe manufacturer

(later William Lillingston)



William Joseph Hacking
, lodging house in 1890



Long’s Registry Office

C. Cracknell
General draper, mantles, millinery, & dressmaking


Henry Robert Harris


Brown & Garlick


Foort & Son


Barlow & Allen Ltd, Ironmongers


The Oxford Optical Co., Opticians


Colin Lunn
Cigar merchant

No listing


Boynton Gowns
Upstairs: Sheila's Café (1935–6)
then ladies’ hairdressers



Fleming, Reid
& Co

Scotch Wool

+ Philistine Club upstairs in 1935–8

Scotch Wool & Hosiery Stores from 1952



George Leslie's Photographic Studio in 1935

Long’s Registry to 1947

+ La Roma
snack bar

from 195

Part of
Cadena Café
next door





Weston’s Gowns


Weston’s Gowns

Etam’s Ltd


Etam’s Ltd


Ratner’s Jewellers

Van Allen gowns

Harry Fenton

Etam’s Ltd


John Farmer

Burton Group



Clark’s Shoes




Cobra Sports



Thornton’s chocolates



Lush Cosmetics

Carphone Warehouse to 2007

Then 3 Store


L'Occitane en Provence



Oxford Connect
& gift shop


House of Wonders

47–51 Cornmarket Street in the censuses


No. 47: The druggist William Sutton (30) lived over his shop with one apprentice and one female servant.

No. 48: The bell-hanger Francis Boswell (80) lived over his shop with Susanna (66), Hannah (35), described as a dressmaker, and Henry (23), described as a cabinet-maker.

No. 49: The stationer Mary Ann Fry lived over her shop with two female servants.

No. 50: The trunk-maker Jane Boswell (35) lived over her shop with Henry (6), Edward (3), and Jane (4 months). They had one female servant.

No. 51: The stationer Charles Richards (35) lived over his shop with Ann (40), George (12), Charles (6), John (4), and one female servant.


No, 47: The druggist Charles Coward (28) lived over his shop with his wife Harriet (26) and sons Charles (1) and William (one month). An apprentice and one general servant and a nursemaid live with them.

No. 48: Miss Charlotte Boswell (51), described as a tradesman’s daughter, lived over the shop with three lodgers (two male and one female).

No. 49: John Joseph Kitts (26), a draper’s clerk, lived over the shop of his wife Elizabeth (29), described as a dealer in baby linen etc. Two shop assistants lived with them (one of whom is Elizabeth’s 20-year-old sister Lydia Payne), and they had one female servant.

No. 50: The portmanteau-maker Francis Boswell (48), described as the employer of five men, lived over his shop with his wife Jane Duncan Boswell (45) and their children Henry (16), described as an assistant; Edward (13); Jane (10); Eliza (8), Frank (6); and Mary Anne (4).

No. 51: The glass & china dealer Joseph Hopkins (45) lived over his shop with his wife Catherine (48), his unmarried brother (43), who is his shop assistant, and his two nieces Emma Hopkins (19), described as a general servant, and Mary Hopkins (7).


No, 47: Walter Cooper (28), a draper, lived over his shop with three female draper’s assistants and a female servant.

No. 48: The widowed music-seller Marianne Barrett (72) lived over her shop with her grandson William Studer Barrett (15), described as an Assistant, and a female house servant.

No. 49: The hairdresser Henry Saunders (24) lived over his shop with his wife Catherine and children Mary (4), Frederick (3), and Eleanor (1). They had two house servants.

No. 50: The portmanteau maker Francis Boswell (54) lived over his shop. He was described as the employer of four men and five boys, and with him were his wife Jane (54) and his six unmarried children Henry (26), described as a trunk maker; Edward (23), described as a cabinet maker; Jane (20) and Eliza (18), described as shop women; Frank (16), described as a portmanteau maker’s assistant; and Mary Ann (13), who was still at school.

No. 51: The china & glass dealer Joseph Hopkins (56) lived over his shop with his wife Catherine (58), his brother Thomas (54) who serves in the shop, and his niece Mary (18), an assistant in the shop. They had one female servant.


No, 47: The milliner Miss Jessie Williams (26) and the shopwoman Miss Mary Walmer (30), both described as an assistants, lived over Walter Cooper's draper's shop with the proprietor's niece Martha Cook (19) and a female apprentice.

No. 48: George Neill (38), cutler, lived here over his shop with his wife Emma (39) and his daughter Emma (9). They had a 13-year-old servant girl.

No. 49: No listing.

No. 50: Jane Boswell (30), sister of the head of the household, lived over her brother's shop with Mary A. Boswell (24), probably another sister.

No. 51: Mrs Hopkins (64), a china merchant, lived over her shop with her unmarried brother-in-law Thomas Hopkins (63). They had one servant, and a shop assistant lived with them.

Rebuilt in 1874

No. 47: Described as “uninhabited”, which implies that the whole building was used as a draper’s shop.

No. 48: This was a lodging house, occupied by Miss Laura Collier (42), who was the lodging house keeper and her mother Elizabeth (72). They had two general servants.

No. 49: Described as “uninhabited”: this was now primarily an entrance to the offices of the Bocardo Chambers upstairs.

No. 50: This was occupied by a college bed maker, William Hemmings (29) and his wife Martha (21) and their 6-month-old daughter, and his cousin Ernest Hinton (16).

No. 51: This was a lodging house, occupied by Mrs E. Thatcher (49) and her niece Ada Irving (23). There were two domestic servants and two lodgers: a single woman of 31 and a male student of 23.


No. 47: Henry Robert Harris (33), draper, lived here over his shop with his wife Annie (33) and their children Grace (7) and Henry (4). They had one servant.

No. 48: William Huckings (34), a lodging house keeper, lived here with his wife Mary (28) and their children Eleanor (6) and Ida (two months).

No. 49: Unoccupied: this was now primarily an entrance to the offices of the Bocardo Chambers upstairs.

No. 50: Georgina Burton (28), the wife of the householder, lived here with two boarders and two servants.

No. 51: Samuel Taphouse (39), Steward of the nearby Frewin Club, lived here with his wife Silence (32) and their children Reginald (2) and James (five months)


No. 47: Described as uninhabited but in occupation.

No. 48: Part is described as uninhabited but in occupation. The other part was occupied by the organist John Trafford Long (56) and his wife Henrietta (45) who ran a registry office here, and his wife's sister Miss Norah White. They had one general servant.

No. 49: Two parts are described as uninhabited but in occupation: this was now primarily an entrance to the offices of the Bocardo Chambers upstairs.

No. 50: Two parts are described as uninhabited but in occupation.

No. 51: Solomon Taphouse (48),still the Steward of the Frewin Club, lived here with his wife Silence (43) and their children Reginald (12), James (10), Violet (8), and Mildred (4).


No. 47: No listing.

No. 48: John Trafford Long (66), an organist, lived in nine rooms in Bocardo Chambers upstairs here with his wife Henrietta (55), who ran a domestic agency, his wife's sister Miss Norah Robinson White (57), who was a partner in the agency, and his niece Lillian (21), who was its typist. They had one servant.

No. 49: No listing: this was now primarily an entrance to the offices of the Bocardo Chambers upstairs.

No. 50: Annie Lomax (52), a widow, lived in two rooms upstairs with her two daughters: Amy (33) was a governess, and Sybil (15) was still at school.

No. 51: No listing.

Oxford History Home

© Stephanie Jenkins

Cornmarket Home