Oxford History: The High


22: Shoe Embassy

22 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. 22, the shorter building with a dormer window shown above, towards the right of the group, is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1369359).

At the time of the 1841 census the hatter Thomas Randall was living here over his shop with his wife Elizabeth and their four-year-old daughter Eliza and ten-month old son Thomas junior, plus four servants and two lodgers. Thomas Randall may have been Charles Dodgson's inspiration for the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland: see Mark Davies, “The real Mad Hatter”, Times Literary Supplement, 15 May 2013.

In 1851 the Randalls still lived here with their son and one servant. By 1861 Randall had moved to Grandpoint House, and his assistant John Molyneux was living over the shop with his wife and their servant.

In 1871 the hosier, hatter, and shirt-maker Thomas Mallam Prior was living upstairs with his wife, two children, and three servants.

In 1881 the Swedish tailor Isaac Olaf Winstedt was living over the shop with his wife, two sons, father-in-law, and a servant.

In 1901 Miss Madeline Bassett (46), described as a hairdresser & stationer, lived here with her unmarried sister Mary and their servant.

In 1911 the widow Florence Hill (55) lived in the seven room above this shop with her daughter and ran a lodging house there.

Occupiers of 22 High Street


Thomas Randall, Hatter & hosier

Messrs Randall & Nicholls, Archery Warehouse in 1851


Prior & Co., Hatters & tailors

Also Archery Warehouse


Molyneux & Allnutt, Hosiers & shirt makers


J. Winstedt, Tailor, robe maker, hatter, hosier, & men’s mercer


J. Bassett, Hairdresser & stationer

(From 1905) Miss Bassett, University lodging house


H. F. William Germer, Hairdresser

Miss Bassett, University lodging house


Colin Lunn, Cigar merchant

Mrs Florence Hill, then Miss Mullett, University lodging house


Rudkin & Wicks, Hairdressers


The Dark Blue Toilet Saloon, Ladies’ & gentlemen’s hairdressers & chiropodists


Mrs Katherine A. Higgs, Hairdresser


Angelo D. Del Nevo, Ladies’ hairdresser


Oxford Stationery Co. Ltd. (1954–1956)
R. C. Phillips, Stationer (1958–1960)


Leicester Permanent Building Society (Leicester Building Society from 1984)
Alliance & Leicester from 1985




Melson Wingate, Optician


Scrivens Opticians (incorporating Melson Wingate)


Shoe Embassy

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 4 August, 2021

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