William Osborn King
Mayor of Oxford 1951/2
William Osborn King was born at Wolvercote on 1 August 1892, and baptised there on 28 September 1892.
His family was rooted in Wolvercote. His father, Henry Osborn King, was a farmer and hay dealer who had been born there, and his mother was Amelia Mott, daughter of the labourer William Mott: they had married at Wolvercote on 18 May 1886. William’s paternal grandfather was William King, a farmer who had married Ann Osborn at Wolvercote in 1851.
William Osborn King’s parents had ten children, all of whom were given their grandmother’s surname Osborn as their middle name. They were baptised at Wolvercote Church:
- Annie Osborn King (1887)
- Henry Osborn King (1888)
- Ethel Osborn King (1890)
- William Osborn King (28 September 1892)
- Mary Osborn King (1894)
- Ivy Osborn King (1896)
- Vera Osborn King (1898)
- James Osborn King (1902)
- Cecil Osborn King (1904)
- Ernest Osborn King (born in 1901 and died unbaptised on the same day).
The 1901 census shows William at the age of eight living at Church Farm, Upper Wolvercote. His father Henry (44) is described as a hay merchant and farmer; his mother Amelia is 36; and the family has a nursemaid as well as a housemaid to look after William and his siblings.
William King attended the City of Oxford High School for Boys.
When Joel Zacharias, who ran an outdoor-clothing business at 26–27 Cornmarket (right), died in 1905, William’s father Henry took over the business. The shop kept its old name, and the slogan ”Zac’s for Macs” was to appear on the side of buses.
The 1911 census shows the King family still living at Church Farm in Wolvercote, but William’s father Henry is now described as “Farmer, Hay Merchant, & Waterproofer”, and William (18) was his assistant.
William Osborn King married Winifred Loudoun Badder on 30 October 1915 in London, and they went to live in 37 Davenant Road (then part of Wolvercote). Their son William was born in 1923.
When William’s father, Henry Osborn King, died in 1942, he left the shop equally to all his children, with the provision that the four boys could buy out the girls, which they did. Harry farmed Frieze Farm in North Oxford, while William, Jim, and Cecil worked in the shop.
William Osborn King was a Wolvercote Commoner, and the City Councillor for Summertown & Wolvercote Ward. He was elected Sheriff of Oxford for 1947/8. In 1951 he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1951/2). During his mayoralty, he read the proclamation at Carfax declaring Princess Elizabeth Queen.
William Osborn King died at Oxford on 16 November 1954, and his wife Winifred on 28 November 1964. The Zacharias shop remained in business until 1983, when William’s brother Cecil died.
William Osborn King’s son
William Osborn King junior (1923–2002), was educated at St Edward’s School. He left in 1940 and went to train at Guy’s Hospital. He was in the RAF from 1946 to 1949, and then went into private practice as a dentis. He lived at Sherwood Lodge, Bagley Wood. He had a short obituary in the Oxford Mail of 19 February 2002.