Oxford History: The High


126: Bubbleology (& HMG Law)


No. 126 dates from the fifteenth century, and has a late seventeenth-century façade. It is the only remaining example of this type of architecture in Oxford. The structure of the fifteenth-century house can be seen inside, and the cellar is probably medieval.

It is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1047260). It was in the parish of All Saints until that church was deconsecrated in 1971. It is now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church.

The first owner of this house was a bell-founder, and in 1350 it was owned by St Frideswide Abbey. It was refronted in the later seventeenth century, probably by Robert Pauling, a mercer who was Mayor in 1679.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. No. 126 was then in the occupation of a Mr Madge, and its frontage measured 6 yards 2 feet 9inches.

See Julian Munby, “126 High Street: The Archaeology and History of an Oxford House”, Oxoniensia 1975

Elizabethan wall painting
Elizabethan wall painting in the offices of HMG Law

Thomas Mallam senior started a separate auctioneering business from his father’s business at St Aldate’s at this house, probably from the time of his marriage in about 1816, and in addition operated as a tobacconist and estate agent. He was also Mayor of Oxford in 1839 and 1846. He died in 1850. One of his sons (Thomas Mallam junior) founded a firm of solicitors here, and the other (James Richard Mallam) took over the auctioneering and estate agent side of the business. The solicitors (with new partners) are still in the same building (now accessed from the side lane), but Mallam’s auction house is now in St Michael Street.

Below: Engraving made in 1834 by Orlando Jewitt, showing No. 126 on the far left.

Old houses at 126-130 High Street

The upstairs premises appear to have been occupied by the tobacconist William Sylvester in 1841

In 1851 they were occupied by a railway porter and his seamstress wife and their servant; in 1861 by Henry Ives, a solicitor’s clerk; in 1871 by John Bate Cooper, a bootmaker; and in 1881 by William Spindler, an auctioneer’s porter.

No one lived on these premises in 1901 or 1911.


Occupiers of
126 High Street

Rear of building

Behind (126A)


Mallam & Son,
Auctioneers (from 1823)
Tobacconists, Auctioneers
and (from 1839)
Timber merchants

James R. Mallam & Son
Auctioneers, surveyors,
& estate agents; appraiser
and timber merchant

? Part of printing office



Oxford Chronicle
Printing Office



Thomas Mallam, Solicitor

T. & G. Mallam, Solicitors

T. Mallam & Co

Thomas Mallam & Co., Solicitors

Thomas Mallam,
Grimsdale & Co., Solicitors

Thomas Mallam, Solicitors

Thomas Mallam & Reeves, Solicitors


Herbert Mallam Gowers, Solicitors
Rebranded HMG Law in 2007



Edward Bayly Doe,
General printer


Joseph Vincent, Printer

Latterly the
Vincent-Baxter Press


Danish Dairy Co.


Goodwin, Foster & Brown Ltd
(Meadowsweet Dairy Co),
Tea dealers



Kendall & Sons Ltd,
Umbrella makers


No listing


Alfred Marks Bureau

By 1993–

Oxford Campus Stores

By 1998–

Bonjour Sandwich Shop
(renamed QL in 2009)



©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 5 June, 2021

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