Oxford History: The High


135: Ace & Tate Eyeware/Shezan restaurant

135 High Street

No. 135 is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1186742), said to date from the early eighteenth century. 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.

In 1679 Elinor Sylvester, who had a house on this site, was “burnt out and built a new”, but it is uncertain whether the core of the present house is that of the 1679 building.

In 1696 Matthew Pinnell paid tax on 16 windows here.

The first occupant of the new house on this site in the eighteenth century appears to have been the goldsmith Samuel Wilkins, and later his nephew of the same name.

By 1759 Edward Lock, another goldsmith, had a shop here, but he had moved across the road to 7 High Street in the same parish by the early 1770s.

No. 135 then became an upholsterer's shop. In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. No. 135 was then in the occupation of a Mr Munday, and its frontage measured 6 yards 1 foot 11 inches. Thomas Munday, upholsterer, died in 1792 and was buried in All Saints' churchyard on 31 July.

At the time of the 1851 census Franklin Thomas, the upholsterer here, lived over the shop with his wife and four children, three servants, and an undergraduate lodger.

By 1854 the tailor Richard Embling had this shop, but in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 18 December 1858 he described it as a Household furnishing manufactory and general furnishing warehouse when he announced that he had renewed his lease and intended to make considerable alterations to these premises. At the time of the 1861 census he was described as an upholsterer and was living here with his wife, his apprentice cabinet-maker, and a servant. Only the servants were at home at the time of the 1871 census.

By 1901 Laura Collice (63), who ran a lodging house in the rooms over the tailor's shop, was living here with a housemaid and a house boy.

In 1911 Julia Stiles (42), a widow, lived in the ten rooms over this shop with her stepdaughter and son and kept the lodging house here.

The building was bought by the University of Oxford in 1947.

135 High Street in 1949, when it was occupied by Finlay & Co., tobacconists

Occupiers of 135 High Street


135 High Street downstairs

135 High Street upstairs

Early 1700s
to 1759

To 1728: John Wilkins the elder, Goldsmith
From 1728: his nephew John Wilkins the younger
From 1757: his nephew's wife Mrs Catherine Wilkins

from 1759

Edward Lock, Goldsmith & Jeweller

By 1772–1792

Mr [Thomas] Munday and his wife Ann, Upholsterer


William Payne, Cabinet maker

By 1846–1852

Franklin Thomas, Upholsterer


Richard Embling (later Embling & Co.), Tailors

Lodgings (Keen’s 1869, Hippey’s 1873)


S. Baker & Son
Merchant tailors & juvenile outfitters

(Mrs Bancalari, Miss Barefoot,
Miss Collier, Miss Annis, Miss Griffin,
Henry Stiles, Frederick Ivatt)


Lomman & Preston
(later Lonman & Co)


Refreshment Rooms
(Sidney Slay)


The Swiss Restaurant


Town & Gown Restaurant


No listing


A. Baker & Co. Ltd
Tobacconists (1934–1945)


Finlay & Co.


Oxford Blues

Gate of India


West World Leather & Casual Wear
(with Carfax Fish & Chips behind)

Shemon’s Indian Cuisine (to 2002)


Café Zouk

then Shezan Restaurant by 2019


(with Carfax Fish & Chips behind until 2008)


Ace & Tate Eyeware

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 5 September, 2021

The High home Small Shark Oxford History home