Oxford History: The High


33: Oxford Souvenirs

33 High Street

No 33 dates from the seventeenth century, but its front was changed in the eighteenth century. It marks the site of Drawda Hall, named after William Drogheda who held it in the thirteenth century.

It is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1047277) owned by The Queen’s College. It was the first house in the High in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

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. 33 was then in the occupation of a Mr Glass, and its frontage measured 6 yards 2 feet 11 inches. In fact the house was occupied by Dr Samuel Glass, a surgeon of the University of Oxford, who had been matriculated as a privileged person on 16 May 1752. Later that year the bookseller & jeweller Peter Delamotte succeded to the property, but does not appear to have lived there, choosing instead to live at the farmhouse beside St Bartholomew's Chapel, where Glass had made his magnesia.

At the time of the 1841 census the tailor Richard Giles and his wife Fanny lived here with a lodger and two female servants.

In 1851 this was Charles Feldon’s tailor’s shop, and he lived upstairs with his wife and seven children, and a female servant; he was still there in 1861.

James Thornton, the bookseller who had his shop here in the latter half of the nineteenth century, was aged 33 at the time of the 1881 census and then lived in Park Town, described as the employer of two assistants, a clerk, two apprentices, and a shop-boy. He also had a bookshop at 41 High Street from 1882 to 1884. He was the son of the founder of Thornton’s bookshop, which started life in a shop at the former 51 High Street (on the site of the present No 50).

In 1861 the tailor Charles Feldon (65) lived here over his shop with his two tailor sons Henry and Frederick and his two daughters, plus a servant; and a college servant Charles Brown lived elsewhere on the premises with his family. They were all still here in 1871.

At the time of the 1881 census the upstairs premises were occupied by a widow and her governess daughter with a lodger and servant. William Hunt’s typewriter business which operated from upstairs in 1923 later migrated to Broad Street.

In 1891 William Tomlins, a college servant, lived upstairs with his wife and son and their servant., while John Brown (71) lived at 33a with his daughter and son-in-law and their servant.

From 1902 to 1912 Robert Günther lived over this shop. He was an Oxford don and the editor of The Oxford Country (1912), a collection of Victorian and Edwardian articles describing walks in Oxfordshire.

Photograph of the Drawda Hall bookshop in 1949

The author Kyril Bonfiglioli ran this shop as part of his business from c.1962 to 1966.

Occupiers of 33 High Street

1839, 1846

Richard Giles, Tailor


Charles Feldon, Tailor & robe maker & cassock maker


J. A. Muir (P. J. Muir in 1866 only), Tailor & hosier


James Thornton, New & secondhand bookseller & publisher


Horser & Storey, Booksellers


Horser Cottrell, Bookseller

William Hunt, The Pioneer Typewriter dealer &c. (to 1922)


Drawda Hall Bookshop


Drawda Hall, High-class gifts, glass &c.

By 1989–2002

Partner’s Hairdressing


Red on High, Fashion




Links Communications (repossessed by The Queen's College in 2014)


Oxford Souvenirs

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 19 November, 2020

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