No. 31: Taylor’s Delicatessen

31  St Giles

The present No. 31 on the corner of Little Clarendon Street is a Grade II listed building (List Reference No. 1068551). It lies in St Giles' parish.

On the first floor the rooms have some late eighteenth-century panelling, and in one room the panelling appears to date from the early seventeenth-century. It was originally a much smaller shop, and there was a second building on the corner facing on to Little Clarendon Street.

In 1885 Jackson’s Oxford Journal reports that the two buildings were “converted into a massive double-fronted shop” by the builder J.C. Curtis for the butcher Mr J. Wiblin. The new shop had a balcony with panels from Macfarlane’s foundry, and can be seen in its original splendour in the advertisement below.

Advertisement for Wiblin

Until the 1850s, 31 St Giles’ Street was a private house. At the time of the 1851 census it was occupied by a widow of 52, Mrs Louisa Ann Millicent Chase (described as a Landed Proprietor) and her daughters of 16, 18, and 25 and her nine-year-old son, plus their two servants.

Alfred Scrivener Booth opened a grocer's shop here in 1852, and on 10 October 1853 he obtained a twenty-year lease of the property from St John's College.

On 29 September 1855 in Jackson's Oxford Journal, the forthcoming auction of this property was advertised, with this description:

A substantial Stone-built DWELLING HOUSE, containing drawing room, dining room, six bed rooms, with water closet, and suitable domestic offices; also a spacious Grocer's Shop, with plate glass front, two cellars, warehouses, large yard, and garden, in the occupation of Mr. Booth, grocer, at a rental of £68 per annum.

The Booth family were grocers here for thirty years. At the time of the 1861 census Alfred Scrivener Booth was living here over his shop with his wife, nine young children, two apprentice grocers, and three servants. Less than a year later, on 7 February 1862, he died here at the age of 44 and his widow Mrs Sarah Booth continued to run the business. By 1881 their daughter, Miss Sarah E. Booth (30) was the head of the household here, as well being as a telegraph clerk and in charge of the post office which had just opened in the shop. Two grown-up sisters are living with her, one helping with the post office, while her brother William H. Booth was looking after the grocery side, employing three men and two boys. Also living over the small shop were two unemployed siblings, two boarders who probably worked for the family, and a servant.

F. H. Alden took over No. 31 as a grocery and post office for a brief period in about 1883.

John Wiblin turned this into a butcher's shop in about 1885, but he did not live here: described as a butcher, bacon curer, and sausage-maker employing nine men, he was at Northern House in South Parade in 1881 with his wife Maria, his three sons, one daughter, a niece, and a general servant. Wiblin doubled the size of the shop, and in 1886 there was a failed attempt by the joint university and city committee which ran the covered market to force its closure. At the time of the 1891 census Charles Tom Alexander Wiblin (30), described as a meat salesman, lived over the shop with his wife Rose and their one-year-old daughter, plus their servant girl.

Reginald  T. Alden took the premises over from 1928 to 1934, then the shop became John Wiblin Ltd until it ceased to be a butcher’s shop in 1960.

Photograph of John Wiblin's butcher's shop at No.31 in 1949

Occupants of 31 St Giles’ Street listed in censuses and directories


Captain John Woodford Chase (1841–6)
Louisa A.M. Chase (1851)

a shop


Alfred Scrivener Booth (1852–1862)

His widow Mrs Sarah Booth (1862–1867)
Grocer & provision dealer

A. S. Booth again (1869–1882)
Grocer and tea dealer, agent of H.R. Williams & Co
(+ Bottled ale & stout merchant and District Post Office in 1882)


F.H. Alden
Grocer & tea dealer, District Post and Money
Order Office, Telegraph Office


John Wiblin
Family butcher, bacon curer and sausage maker


Reginald T. Alden, Butcher


John Wiblin Ltd, Butcher


Prestcold, Manufacturers of refrigeration equipment


Micro Instruments (Oxford) Ltd


A. & J. Antiques



By 1993–present

Taylor’s Delicatessen

Upstairs since 1973: Plunkett Foundation for Co-operative Studies

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

Oxford History home