Oxford History: The High


42: Sandwich shop and 43: Simply Sewing

42 & 43

Nos. 42 and 43 are two shops in a timber-framed building dating from the sixteenth or seventeenth century (although the front was modernized in the eighteenth century). It is Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1047281) and was in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

The building is owned by The Queen’s College, and the back has been incorporated into the Queen’s Lane quad behind: this can be glimpsed through the gate between the two shops.

In 1696 Thomas Higgs paid tax on 14 windows of this whole building.

According to H. E. Salter, at the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford No. 42 was occupied by Mr Baylis and had a frontage measuring 4yd 1ft 7in, and No. 43 was occupied by Mrs L. Leaver with a frontage of 5yds 2ft 2in.

These two houses and the building behind them were described thus in a forthcoming auction notice place in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 24 March 1838:

All those Two MESSUAGES or DWELLING HOUSES, fronting the High-street, Oxford, opposite the Angel Inn, with yards and convenient out-buildings, now in the respective occupations of Messrs. Chadwell and Godfrey. Also a large Building, let in apartments to various persons, at weekly rents, situate in the yard at the back part of the above dwelling houses, and adjoining St. Edmund hall, with passage entrance from the High-street.

The above premises are held by lease under the President and Scholars of Magdalen college, Oxford, for the term of 40 years, from the 6th of December, 1835.

The two shops can be seen here in 1949, when they were occupied by the chemist Cameron Price and a vacuum cleaner shop.

No. 42

In 1841 this shop appears to have been occupied by the tailor James Leech, his wife Martha Leeach, a woman called Elizabeth Leech who was probably his mother, and two lodgers. .

At the time of the 1861, 1871, and 1881 censuses, James Hervey Hill, the chemist in this shop, lived upstairs with a housekeeper.

In 1901 the chemist Herbert Gunstone who had the shop below lived in the eight rooms over it with two servants. He was still there in 1911, aged 38, with one servant.

No. 43

In 1841 this shop appears to have been occupied by the cutler Charles Chadwell, his wife Maria, and their children Ferdinand (7), George (6), William (5), Maria (3), and Eliza (1), plus their female servant and another family that was lodging with them.

Mary Bellamy, a widow of 50 and the bookbinder here, was living over the shop at the time of the 1851 census with her five sons, of whom three were bookbinders and the other two at school. She was still here in 1861, when she was described as a “bookbinder & stationer employing 7 men, 5 women, & 4 boys”, and again in 1871.

At the time of the 1881 census, the bookseller Charles Bacon lived here over his shop with his wife and six children.

In 1911 Miss Caroline Allen (40), a university lodging house keeper, spent census night alone in the nine rooms over this shop.

Link lodgings

The University Link Lodgings were partly behind Nos. 42–43 (numbered 42a) and partly behind Nos. 44 and 45 (numbered 44A). They once contained fourteen sets of rooms.

In 1871 there were seven households here in apartments numbered 1–7 Fidler's Court, while Hannah Quarterman, a lodging house keeper, was living at what was described as No. 44A with her two daughters, a domestic servant aged 15, and just two lodgers.

The Sanitary Inspector’s report on the Link Lodgings in 1885 stated:

“This is an old lathe and plaster house in fair repair. The rooms are well lighted and ventilated except the Kitchen. The top landing is well lighted and ventilated but the lower passages are dark. The WC is situated in the hall and is well lighted and ventilated and the apparatus is good being a shorthopper well flushed from a waste preventer. The drain is ventilated by a 3 inch pipe. The Scullery sink is not trapped or properly disconnected. The Kitchen and scullery are both dirty and the Kitchen is not ventilated.”

In 1886, when the landlord of the Link Lodgings was Norman E. Minty (the cabinet maker at Nos. 44 and 45), most of the rooms were converted into business premises, although two sets of rooms continued to be licensed to be let at rents of 28s. and 23s. per week.

In 1881 the Link Lodgings at 42 were occupied by an unemployed college servant, his wife, six children, and a housemaid.

Charles Bacon, a bookseller, operated from both Nos. 42 and 44 in 1876, presumably from the ground floor of the Link Lodgings behind Nos. 42–45.

Occupiers of 42 High Street


Elizabeth Green, Toy Warehouse

Jane Godfrey, Milliner & Dressmaker


George Cecil, Chemist and druggist

By 1852–1899

James Hervey Hill, Chemist


Herbert C. Gunstone, Chemist


William Ambrose, Chemist (and Post and Telegraph Office from 1925)


Cameron Price, Chemist & post office


University Insurance Brokers Ltd


Minrock, Rock & mineral specialists

By 1998–2006

Neg O Zio, Ladies’ fashion


Olives Delicatessen


Sandwich shop


Occupiers of 43 High Street

1837, 1839

C. B. Chadwell, Cutler


H. Alden, Bookseller & printer

By 1852–1876 

Mrs Maria Bellamy, Bookseller & stationer
then A. Bellamy, Bookbinder (jointly at No. 44)


Charles Bacon (later Mrs Bacon), Bookseller, stationer, & printer


Miss Beesley, Stationer


Miss Tregilgas, Stationer


Alfred F. Briscoe, Stationer


Slatter & Rose Ltd, Stationers


Edgar Herbert Kirk, Vacuum cleaning contractor
later known as Kirk’s Vacuum-cleaning specialists and then Vactric


Jarman & Clogg, Chartered surveyors, auctioneers, & estate agents


J. P. Stott, Caterer

By 1998

A Taste of Ecuador, Hat shop


Simply Sewing

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 24 May, 2021

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