Oxford History: The High

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127: Yorkshire Building Society and 129: Virgin Money


127 and 129

Date

The present Nos. 127 (left) and 129 (right) were built in 1897/8. Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 16 October 1897 (p. 6d) records that Kingerlee were to build new business premises and warehouses here, with a new passage to the Wheatsheaf in the middle.

Right: Date of 1897 above
the first-floor central window

These shops were in in the parish of All Saints until that church was closed in 1971. They are now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate.

This pair of houses was built on the site of the former Nos. 127, 128, and 129, so that the number in the middle was lost. Sometimes in the early days No. 128 was given to either one of these houses and even to the Wheatsheaf. Today No. 127 on the left is considered to be 127/8, and the property behind, a house in multiple occupation, is numbered 128a.

In 1901 Frederick Flight (52), a boarding house keeper, lived over Nos. 127–129 with his wife Mary Ann and their daughter plus a general servant and a houseboy. In 1911 Flight was described as a club steward and, lived in the ten rooms over No. 129 only with his wife (who is described as the lodging house keeper here) and their grandson. Frederick Allnatt (35) and his wife Emma (30) were now living in the nine rooms over No. 127, where they ran a separate lodging house.

Photographs:

Occupiers of the current (1898) building at 127/129 High Street

Years

127 High Street

129 High Street

1899–1907

Purnell, Phipps & Purnell
Tailors, robe makers, hosiers,
hatters, shirt makers, outfitters

Manock & Ward,
Cabinet makers, upholsterers, decorators

1908–1925

Fribourg & Treyer
Cigar importers & cigarette manufacturers
(together with Evans & Evans
Tobacconists from 1916)

1926–1929

 

1934–1952

Gill & Co.
Ironmongers, heating engineers, & plumbers

G. T. Jones & Co. Ltd.,
Wine merchants

Upstairs:
Ace of Hearts Snack Bar (1939)
Noted Snack Bar (1940–1945)
Samsworth & Francis Café (1947)
Lantern Café (1949–1962)

1954–1956

J. Sears & Co. Ltd.
Bootmakers

Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society

Upstairs: Lantern Café (1949–1962),
Golden Lantern restaurant (1967–1968)
Bleu, Blanc Rouge (1970–1980+)

1958–1968

True-Form Shoes

1970–1975

Lilley & Skinner shoes

1976–1980+

British School of Motoring

By 1993–1995+

National & Provincial Building Society

?

By 1998

?

Alfred Marks, later renamed
Adecco Employment Bureau

Upstairs: Indian Garden Tandoori
(c.1998–2008)

1999–2004

Starbucks Coffee

2004–2007

West World Leather & Casual Wear

2007–2012

Northern Rock bank

2013–2014

Virgin Money

Upstairs since c.2009: At Thai
(also Carfax Fish & Chips to c.2013)

Planning application approved in 2017
to turn top three floors into flats (17/02641/FUL)

2015–2016

Chelsea Building Society

2016–present

Yorkshire Building Society

Former shops at 127 & 129 High Street

In the mid-seventeenth century Nos. 127–129 High Street were known as Swinbrook's and were leased to the mercer Thomas Dennis.

Old houses at 126-130 High StreetAbove: Engraving by Orlando Jewitt showing the former shops at 127 and 129 in 1834.
The ironmonger Austin Fussell is on the left (No. 127) and
Hobdell's watch & clock shop on the right (No. 129)
The shops are flanked by No. 126 to the left and 130 to the right looking the same as they do today.
The original passage to the Wheatsheaf can be seen between Fussell and Hobday's shops.


The former pair of shops on this site

No. 127

Austin Fussell announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 4 February 1826 that he had lately been in partnership with Mr Bush and had now opened his business as a furnishing ironmonger, brazier, tinman, locksmith, and bell-hanger opposite the market place in the High Street, and that he also did smiths’ work in general. Fourteen years later he went bankrupt, and a sale of all his ironmongery stock in trade and household furniture was advertised in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 11 January 1840. His house and premises (described as having a frontage of c.40 feet and a depth of c.135 feet, with a side entrance from the Wheatsheaf Yard and a right of way through to Bear Lane) were auctioned at the Wheatsheaf on 19 November 1840.

In 1837 Henry Cooke the printer started to publish the Oxford City & County Chronicle (as the Oxford Chronicle and Berks & Bucks Gazette was first known) at the former shop here (see No. 119).

Occupiers of former building at 127 High Street

1826–1840

Austin Fussell, Ironmonger

1846

Oxford Chronicle Office

1861–1875

Margetts & Eyles, Carvers & Decorators
(Oxford Chronicle office behind)

1876

Vacant

1880

W. Gerring, Secondhand and new bookseller

1882–1887

Vacant

1889–1894

William Henry Gee, New and secondhand bookseller

1895–1897

Vacant (with Joseph Vincent printer behind)

 

No. 129

At the time of the 1841 census Henry Hobdell, a goldsmith, lived on the former house on this site with his wife Emily and their children Ann, Mary, and Lucey, plus three servants. By 1851 Emily Hobdell (48), described as a silversmith, was a widow, and lived here with her daughter Lucy (7), plus two servants.

Occupiers of former building at 129 High Street

By 1834– 1852+

H. B. Hobdell (1834, 1846);
Emily Hobdell (1852), Watch & clock maker

1866–1871

Evans & Bracher, Tailors, hosiers, robe-makers, & hatters

1872–1895

Frederick Evans & Co., Robe-makers & men’s hosiers

1896–1898

Purnell, Phipps & Purnell, Tailors and robe makers

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 20 October, 2021

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