Oxford History: The High


57: Brothers Hair

57 High Street

For details of the leaseholders of the premises roughly on the site of this shop (which was sited in the middle of the East Gate) from 1628 to 1772, see H. E. Salter, Oxford City Properties (Oxford Historical Society, 1926), pp. 310–11. The city council sold this house to Richard Rouse in 1771, when the Paving Commissioners commanded the house to be taken down.

No. 57 stands on the site of the former Trinity Chapel. It is sandwiched between a modern brick-built block to the west and a fine late Georgian house to the east. It used to be separated from its neighbour to the west by Eastgate Court.

It was in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

The house was owned by Thomas Wilkins immediately prior to 1839, and the following advertisement that appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 16 March that year gives a good description of the interior:



On Monday the First of April, 1839, at Seven in the evening, at the Mitre Inn, Oxford, by order of the Trustees under the Will of the late Mr. Thomas Wilkins,– A very valuable FREEHOLD DWELLING HOUSE and extensive Office; containing in the basement a kitchen, capacious coal, wine and beer cellars; on the ground floor, two parlours, kitchen (fitted with superior cooking apparatus), a brew-house, convenient closets, pantries, &c.; on each of the one and two-pair of stairs floors are an excellent front sitting room, three bed rooms, and a water closet: three pair of stairs, 1 large bed room and a water closet.

The premises have within a few years been very substantially erected by the late proprietor, are now in most complete repair, and offer a good opportunity for an investment of capital. The exterior of the house is highly respectable, and the interior handsomely fitted up with marble chimney pieces, plaster cornices, &c. and in every way suited for immediate occupation as a private residence. The whole of the rooms are so disposed that they may be let into lodgings, replete with ever comfort, and would thus produce a large annual income.

The house was listed as unoccupied at the time of the 1841 census.

In about 1861 this building and a brick-built Victorian building to the rear were taken over as additional boarding accommodation for Magdalen College School (which already had the Georgian house next door: see Nos. 58–59). When the school moved to new premises on the other side of the High near Cowley Place in 1894, Albert Brazier took over both the front and rear buildings at No. 57 for his furnishing business, which survived until 1936.

In 1911 Albert William Brazier (52), house furnisher, lived over his shop with his wife and their servant.

The building continued to be known as “Braziers” even after the ownership changed; and in 1980s the Brazier family took the shop over again. When they finally left in 1997, the two upper floors of the rear building were adopted by Magdalen College for student accommodation, with access through the Longwall Street entrance.

Occupiers of 57 High Street


Harry Wright


Julia Maitland


Magdalen College School boarding house


Albert William Brazier, House furnisher


W. N. Huggins, House furnisher


Braziers (Anthony Bloom):
House furnishers & interior decorators (1956–1967)
Antique dealers (1968–1974)
Swan Galleries (picture dealers) (1974–1980+)

By 1978: Braziers of Oxford (Christopher Brazier):
Interior designers, antique restorers, oriental carpet gallery, and antiquarian books



Tiger Lily Pad, Gift shop


Brothers Hair

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 27 April, 2020

The High home Small Shark Oxford History home