Oxford History: The High


83: Oxford Bus Company

83 High Street

No. 83 is probably the only bus drivers’ rest room in the country to sport Ionic columns with the god Bacchus looking over the scrolls.

It is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1320571). It was in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

The building dates from the seventeenth century, and at the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford was recorded as occupied by two people: Mr Taylor (with a frontage of 4 yds 1 ft 3 in.) and Mr Bayliss (with a frontage of 2 yds 1 ft 3 in.).

It was greatly altered in the eighteenth century, when it became part of the Angel Inn (shown below in the 1820s, with No 83 second from the right ). It was presumably at this time that its front entrance was removed, as it would be approached internally from the inn and not from the street.

In 1841 the Angel Inn still ran across the top three floors, but the ground floor was let out to shopkeepers.

In 1855 Samuel Young Griffith had put the declining Angel Inn up for sale, and while no buyer came forward for the main building, the grocer Francis Cooper paid £2,350 for the residue of a forty-year lease on Nos. 83 and 84, and for an annual rent of £120 had the former coffee room at No. 84 for his shop and living accommodation, while letting out this shop at No. 83, which was held by lease from Oriel College..

In the 1860s No. 83 here was Henry Hine’s tailor’s shop, and the 1861 census shows him living over his shop with his family.

Angel Hotel

In 1867 Frank Cooper (1844–1927) inherited the family business at No. 84 next door from his father, and immediately expanded into this shop. It was over this side of the shop that his family actually lived and where Mrs Sarah Cooper made her famous Oxford Marmalade.

In 1871 Frank Cooper (26), as yet unmarried and described as a grocer & wine merchant, was living here with his brother Arthur (21), his aunt Mrs Ann Hill, who was his assistant, and his cousin Harriet Stone and Maria Morris, plus two servants.

The 1881 census shows Frank Cooper here with his wife Sarah and their four sons aged 6, 4, 2, and 1, as well as an assistant grocer (who presumably looked after the shop together with Mrs Cooper) and a housemaid and two nurses. (Interestingly, he is described as a station warehouse manager employing four men and 14 boys rather than as a grocer.) By 1891 he was living over both Nos. 83 & 84, and described himself as a “Grocer (Italian Warehouseman)”. They still employed three servants.

Frank Cooper Marmalade still survives today, though it is no longer a family firm or based in Oxford: it is made by Rank Hovis McDougall, which is now part of the Premier Foods Group.

In 1911 Harry Jones (51), who was unmarried, ran a boarding house in the 23 rooms over 83 & 84 High Street with the help of two servants.

Frank Cooper remained at Nos. 83 and 84 High Street until 1919, when the retail grocery shop was sold to Twining Brothers, who remained here until about 1939. It then became a Co-op shop/café.

Photograph of No. 83 in 1949 when it was a café

From about 1950 to 1976 the whole building was an annexe of University College.

In 1976 the Oxford Bus Company (then the City of Oxford Motor Services) moved here from its former home just two doors away at No. 85.

In the early 1970s, a transfer of property between The Queen’s College and University College brought No. 85 came under the same ownership as its neighbours to the east and the upper floors of Nos. 83–85 were made into a single unit, which has been occupied by students of University College since that date.

Occupiers of 83 High Street


George Shrimpton, Boot & shoe maker

Upstairs: part of the Angel Hotel

By 1851–1852+

Robert Fletcher, Cabinet maker & upholsterer


Mrs Swadling, Millinery, baby linen, ladies boots & shoes


Henry Hine, Tailor & hatter


To 1872: F. T. Cooper (jointly at No. 84), Italian warehouse
1875/6: F. & A. Cooper, Italian warehousemen, grocers, wine & spirit merchants
1880–1919: Frank Cooper, Italian warehouseman


Twining Brothers (jointly at No. 84), Grocers


T. Pritchard (jointly at No. 84), Ironmonger


Oxford & District Co-operative Society Ltd Café (jointly at No. 84)


University College annexe


City of Oxford Motor Services Ltd, now Oxford Bus Company

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 30 July, 2021

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