Oxford History: The High


49: Honey's Newsagent  •  50: Vacant
51: The Rose Tea Shop  •  52: Vacant

49, 50, 51, 52

This long, mock-Tudor range at 49, 50, 51, & 52 High Street was built by Magdalen College in 1900/1, but now belongs to St Edmund Hall. It is built of brick, covered with rough-cast, and has Brize Norton stone roof tiles. The architect was E. P. Warren and the builder Messrs Benfield & Loxley. The range of four shops is jointly Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1047282).

There is an archway in the middle which now provides access to the St Edmund Hall accommodation above the shops.

As four large shops fronts replaced six smaller old ones, the numbers 53 and 54 High Street disappeared for ever in the process, so there is no exact correlation between the old and new numbers. The former and present shops were in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

The illustration below of the row of six shops that were about to be demolished was published in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 25 November 1899:

The former Nos. 49 to 54

The text accompanying that image read:

We this week give a sketch of a block of shops, Nos. 49 to 54, High-street, which it is believed will shortly give place to edifices of a more imposing character. The property is held by Magdalen College on a 99 years' lease, and as this expires next year, the whole of this property may be said to be doomed. The houses are all of them very old, the two publichouses, the “Coach and Horses” and the “Light Horseman,” especially so. The former is remarkable as being entirely isolated from the thoroughfare, entrance being gained by traversing a low passage. Attached to the “Coach and Horses” is a “Bumble-Puppy” alley, a game once extremely popular with former generations, but now practically extinct – at least, there is no other alley of its kind extant in Oxford, where formerly they abounded.

Jackson's Oxford Journal reported thus on the building work on 13 October 1900:

HIGH STREET.–The new shops and lodging-houses now being erected by Magdalen College on the site of several very old houses opposite King-street [Merton Street] will be rather an imposing group. The fronts will be executed in white Milton stone with ornamental plaster work, somewhat similar to the new East Gate Hotel opposite. In the centre will be a large arched carriage gateway, which will give an academical appearance to the edifices as well as convenient access to the rear. This improvement will see the last of two old publichouses. The “Light Horseman” has already disappeared, and the “Coach and Horses,” together with several other buildings near, will come down when the present block of buildings is complete.

The current (1901) range of four shops

No. 49: This was a cigar merchants and tobacconists from 1902 to 1956. It was then a bank from 1958 to 1971, and since then has been a newsagents.

No. 50: This was an antique shop from 1947 to the early 1980s.

No. 51: This has been a tea shop since c.1984.

No. 52: When the old row of buildings was demolished in 1901, Hine & Son the tailors (who had been in the old shop approximately on this site since 1876) moved into this new shop. They remained for nearly a hundred more years until they moved to Wantage in October 1998. Waterfield’s, the secondhand booksellers from Park End Street, then moved in.

Upper floors of the four shops at Nos. 49–52: (Besse Building of St Edmund Hall)

These 1902 shops had university lodging houses on their upper floors from the start. At the time of the 1911 census Frederick Pickering (39), a lodging house keeper, lived in the twelve rooms over the present No. 49 with his wife and two sons. The college servant Richard Cadman lived over the present No. 50 with his wife Gertrude, who kept the lodging house there. Mrs Ellen Davis had one over No. 51 from 1904, and at the time of the 1911 census Miss Alice Jane Davis (41), described as a university lodging house keeper, lived over No. 52, but as she occupied seventeen rooms, her lodging house probably also spread over No. 51. In 1948 a share in the Besse Benefaction to the University enabled St Edmund Hall to purchase this row of shop, and three years later they converted the upstairs into a student hostel (51/01864/A_H) which is now their Besse Building.

Arms over 50 & 51The coat of arms of St Edmund Hall is over No. 50 with the date A.D. 1952 (the year they bought this range),
and that of Magdalen College over No. 51 with the date A.D. 1901 (the year they built it).
Over the central archway are the initials A.B. (for Antonin Besse) with the date A.D. 1950 (the year of his benefaction).

No. 50A (through the archway)

The old Masonic Hall in Alfred Street had long been considered inadequate when in 1906 the Masonic Buildings were built behind this group of shops by M. O. Gardiner of Beaumont Street on land leased from Magdalen College. They were accessed by the present “splendid entrance” and included an apartment measuring 50 x 30 feet, a large banqueting or ball room measuring 70 x 35 feet with a gallery at one end, and other smaller rooms. A new restaurant was opened there in 1909 (with plans and photographs shown in the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 20 October that year). In the First World War the Masonic Buildings were part of the 3rd Southern General Hospital in the First World War (photograph of entrance).

Masonic Lodge
“Masonic Buildings, Oxford” in 1919. Watercolour by Walter Ernest Spradbery
showing an ambulance and nurse outside this branch of the hospital
Reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

The Masonic Buildings closed in 1945, and these premises were then the Forum Restaurant/Dance Hall from 1947 to 1954.

Photograph of entrance to the Forum Restaurant and James Rogers' shop at No. 51 in 1949

Occupiers of the present 1901 building at 49, 50, 51, & 52 High Street


No. 49

No. 50

No. 51

No. 52


George Cooke & Co.
Cigar merchants

George E. Weeks & Co.

Agnos Tobacco Co.
(1902 only)
Angelo Lamprides,
Tobacco manufacturer

William P. Hine



James Rogers
Craftsman in wood

later James Rogers
& Sons Ltd

Later described as
Heraldic artists & cabinet makers



Leslie Chaundy


Penrose & Palmer




Peter Audley-Miller
Antique dealer


Lennon Bros Ltd


Roland B. Bennett


William Ridler
Antique dealer


Banking Ltd


R. F. Hicks


A. & A. Hattersley

Cherwell Antiques

Early 1980s

Honey’s Newsagent

See Oxford Mail
of 23 July 2007

Music Market


Chinese Art
Gallery Centre

The Rose
(formerly Rosie Lee)
tea shop


Gifts from the Grange


Secondhand books
(Oxford Mail article)


Vintage Magazine Company


Bajan Blue swimwear


Oxford Blue

Mr Simms Olde
Sweet Shoppe



Vacant. Permission granted
to St Edmund Hall for office


The six former shops (including two pubs) on this site

NB: The old numbers of the SIX shops spanning this site that were demolished
in 1901 will obviously not correlate with those of the present FOUR shops

Former No. 49, 49A, and 50 High Street (including the Coach & Horses pub)

In 1841 the original, narrower No. 49 at the far left of this group was occupied by the confectioner Thomas Shields and his wife Ann, plus a lodger and three servants. In 1861 and 1871 the upholsterer Theophilus Carter and his family were living here, but in 1875 he expanded into No. 48 to the west and moved to live over that shop.

The Coach and Horses pub was situated behind No. 49 at 49A, and the entrance to its court was between the former Nos. 49 and 50. In 1851 Jane Teall, a widow of 58 (who had moved out of the Greyhound pub at Gravel Walk on the other side of Longwall Street when that pub was demolished by Magdalen College in 1846), was the landlady here, probably helped by her three daughters.

In 1871 the victualler William Thornton lived here at the pub with his wife Ellen and their three children.

The Coach & Horses was demolished with the rest of this row in 1899.


Former 49 High Street

Former 49A High Street (behind)

Former 50 High Street

By 1839–1852

Thomas Shield
“Dinners & breakfasts prepared”

Coach & Horses pub

Jane Teall (1839–1852)
Ellen Thornton (1861–1894)
James Bennett (1896–1901)

Hawtin Pearson
Watch & clockmaker


Theophilus Carter
Upholsterer & cabinet maker

(Also at No. 48
from 1875 to 1883)

Thomas Lambert


John Glover


Mrs Wilson
Stay & corset maker


William J. H. Robinson
Hairdresser & perfumer


R. Terry
Practical watchmaker & jeweller


H. J. Peagam


Frank Wright Jeffs


John Goddard
Antique furniture depot

Weeks & Co.
East-gate Restaurant
Confectioners & bakers
(from 1899)

Former 51 High Street

In 1840 Joseph Thornton, who had opened his first bookshop in Magdalen Street in 1835, moved to the former 51 High Street. The 1841 census shows him living here with his wife Emma and their baby daughter, and Mary Thornton (likely to be his mother), plus three female servants. In 1851 Thornton, now 42, was still living here with his wife and six children, plus a servant and nursemaid. In 1853 he moved back to Magdalen Street, and in 1863 to 10 Broad Street, and finally to 11 Broad Street in 1870.

By 1875 Hine & Son, tailors and robe-makers, occupied this shop. William Hine died in 1890, leaving his children orphans. The 1891 census shows William's son Percy Wicks Hine (9) and his older brother William Pavier Hine (10) and his younger brothers Leonard Howes Hine (8) and Howes Septimus Hine (5) living at 51 High Street with a 55-year-old widowed housekeeper (Jane Hoare) as well as the manager of the tailoring business (Charles G. Richards) and two general servants. The tailor's shop was downstairs, and Percy and his six siblings lived on the second floor of the building and slept in the attic rooms on the fourth floor. He wrote in his reminiscences that 6–8 men would sit cross-legged sewing men’s clothes by hand downstairs.

Percy's older brother William Pavier Hine took over the family business, and when this row of shops was rebuilt in 1901 he moved into the new No. 52 on the right, and Hine's tailors survived there until 1998.

The former Dee’s Passage, and the Lighthorseman pub at 52 High Street

Dee's Passage used to run between the former Nos. 51 and 52 High Street and was named after James Dee, who was the landlord of the Lighthorseman pub from 1832 to 1871. A directory of 1861 states “Black Horse Court” intersects between the former No. 51 and 52, suggesting that the Black Horse could have been another name for the Lighthorseman. The 1841 census shows James Dee living at the pub with his wife and their servant girl. By the time of the 1871 census the landlord living at the put was George Talbot. Four families lived in Light Horse Yard behind, and again in 1881. .


Former 51 High Street

Former 52 High Street



Lighthorseman pub

James Dee (1832–1871)
George Talbot (1872–1876)
George Lineham (1880)
Thomas Thornton (1882–1887)
John Samuel Ward (1889–1899)

By 1840–1853

Joseph Thornton


Hine & Son
Tailors and robe makers


William Hine (executors of)

Former 53 and 54 High Street

No. 53 was occupied by the ironmonger John Durran from at least 1866 to 1880; in the late 1880s he then moved up to the brand new Rosslyn Villa in Windmill Road, Headington, and another ironmonger, Thomas Fenemore, took over this shop. No. 54 was a beer and then a wine shop from at least 1866 to 1882. It then became a lodging house.


53 High Street

Former 54 High Street


John Durran
Ironmonger, smith, & bell-hanger

Joseph Hodder
Beer retailer


William Harris
Ale & porter merchant


William Corpp
Wine merchant


The Fleur de Lys: George Costar
Beer & wine retailer


Thomas Fenemore


Charles Fitzpatrick
Lodging house (jointly with No. 55 next door)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 16 March, 2021

The High home Small Shark Oxford History home