Oxford History: The High


21: Swoon Gelato

21 High Street

The group of five shops numbered 19–23 High Street dates from the late eighteenth century, and the upstairs rooms were converted to Brasenose College accommodation around 1930. They were in the parish of All Saints until that church was deconsecrated in 1971. They are now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church.

No. 21 is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1047273). It belongs to Brasenose College.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to H. E. Salter, No. 21 was then in the occupation of a Mr Sheard, and its frontage measured 5 yards 0 feet 7 inches.

At the time of the 1841 census Thomas Sheard, the grocer here, was living over his shop with his wife Hester and their five children, plus three or four servants and two students in a separate household with their own servant. Thomas died at the age of 43 in July 1845 and on 11 October that year his brother William Sheard announced that he would take over the business for the benefit of his widowed sister-in-law. The 1851 census shows Hester (48) living over this shop with her daughter and two sons: Thomas was her assistant, while Arthur was a hosier’s apprentice. They had one servant. She was still listed here at the time of the 1861 census, and died here in March 1869.

By the time of the 1871 census Thomas John Walker Sheard had taken over his mother's shop and was living here with his wife and daughter and two servants. By 1881 he was a widower of 52 living here with his three children (all at school), his sister, a servant, and a lodger.

By 1901 the accommodation above this shop had been linked to that above No. 20 next door to form a lodging house, run by . Thomas Taylor (52), who lived here with his wife, daughter, housemaid niece, a kitchenmaid, and page.

In 1911 David Rowe (32) and his wife occupied the eighteen rooms above 20 and 21 High Street and contnued to run a boarding house there.

Occupiers of 21 High Street


Thomas Sheard (1839); Hester Sheard (from 1845); Thomas Sheard junior (from 1871),
Grocer & tea dealer


Shepperd Brothers, Robe makers [plus No. 20]


G. T. Jones & Co. Ltd, Wine & spirit merchants


Gough Brothers (later taken over by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries), Wine shop

By 1980–1981+

Morlands, Sheepskin products




Oslotuft, Fashion


Essensuals (Toni & Guy), Hairdressing




Swoon Gelato

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 13 June, 2021

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