CORNMARKET, OXFORD

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2 Cornmarket Street: Pret à Manger


2 Cornmarket

Davis's shop at 2 Cornmarket

 

 

This building was in the parish of St Martin's (Carfax) until that church was demolished in 1896, whereafter it was in the parish of St Martin's & All Saints until All Saints Church was deconsecrated in 1971. It is now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate.

There appear to have been two shops on this site until 1852, and so it is possible the present building dates from the mid-1850s.

The publisher A. R. Mowbray had his shop here in the late 1850s and 1860s.

 

From 1890 this was the fancy goods shop of George Davis. He died here at the age of 52 on 4 May 1891, but until 1911 his wife continued to run the business, which produced many postcards of the City of Oxford, including the “Americans in Oxford” cartoon series.

 

Then in c.1912 the hatter Frederick Margetts moved here from No. 12, and the business was still here in 1958.

 

 

 

Right: Details from a postcard showing this shop and the No. 3 to the north in about 1905. The name DAVIS'S can be seen over the front.

 

Another view of Davis's shop in c.1900 can be seen here.

Occupants of 2 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc.

1839–1841

Henry Reynolds
Tobacconist

George Thompson
Fishmonger (was at these premises
from at least 1835 to 1844)

1846

William & Charles Wells
Jewellers

William Denyer
Saddler

1850–1852

Abraham Zacharias
Silversmith, jeweller, and watch & clock maker

Possibly rebuilt in this period

1858–1867

A. R. Mowbray, Photographer, bookseller etc

1871–1881

Richard E. Farrant, Brush & comb maker, fancy repository, and sponge importer

1890–1911

George Davis, Fancy repository/Fancy Stores

1914–1958

Frederick A. Margetts, Hatter

1960–1988+

Watches of Switzerland Ltd (photograph)

1995–present

Pret à Manger

2 Cornmarket Street in the censuses

1841

(probably) Henry Reynolds (35), described as a hair cutter, lived here with Emma (25), Henry (7), and Emma (3).

1851

Described as “uninhabited”. (The jeweller Abraham Zacharias who then had this shop was living in Paradise Square.)

1861

Alfred R. Mowbray (36), photographer, bookseller, and stationer, lived here over his shop with his wife Susan (31) and their children Alfred (11), Samuel (10), Florence (4), and Gertrude (2): only the youngest daughter was born in Oxford, suggesting that they moved here in about 1859. They had no servants

1871

Richard Farrant (65), carpenter & cabinet maker, lived here with his wife Hannah (65) and their unmarried daughters Harriet (30) and Eliza (28), who looked after the brush and fancy repository downstairs.

1881

Richard Farrant (75), a retired cabinet maker, was still living here with his unmarried daughter Harriett (39) who was now the shop manager and the employer of one assistant and one boy. They had one female servant.

1891

George Davis (52), a fancy warehouseman, lived here over his shop with his wife Matilda (58) and their son George (21), who was an assistant in the shop. They had a sick nurse in residence for George Davis senior, who would be dead within a month, and a domestic servant.

1901

Matilda Davis (68), a widowed fancy goods shopkeeper, lived here with one servant.

1911

No listing.

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