CORNMARKET, OXFORD

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4 Cornmarket Street: West Country Pasty Company


4 Cornmarket

This site was part of a medieval inn on the site of 3 & 4 Cornmarket Street, divided into two separate houses by 1555. For more on the early history of this inn, see No. 3, where part of the mid-sixteenth-century fabric survives.

No. 4 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.

Part of the ground floor comprises the entrance to the Golden Cross Hotel. This photograph dating from 1907 shows how the former shop at No. 6 to the left used to extend to half-way over the entrance

From at least 1839 to 1881 Joseph Hemmings' eating house was here.

By 1889 Pill's Restaurant was on these premises, and on 2 November that year John Pill advertised in Jackson's Oxford Journal that you could get a good dinner here for 10d. or 1s., with tea and coffee at 2d. a cup.

  • Photograph of c.1900 giving a glimpse on the left of Pill's Restaurant

It continued to be a restaurant, and and the baking firm of George Weeks had these premises from 1911 to 1956. There was a serious fire here in 1919 (see photograph in the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 19 November that year).

The building has been heavily altered, with an extra storey built on top.

Occupants of 4 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc.

Original shop here rebuilt in twentieth century

1839–1881

Joseph J. Hemmings, Eating House (later Dining Rooms)

1889–1901

John Pill, Dining Rooms (Mrs Mary Pill 1899–1901)

1902–1903

No listing

1904

Dudley Jeffery, restaurant

1905–1907

Henry John Pike, restaurant

1909–1956

George E. Weeks & Co
Restaurant (called the City Restaurant by 1925)
Bakers 1954–1956

1958–1976

Freeman, Hardy & Willis, Boot Manufacturers

1984

Orient Jewel Co Ltd

1992–1999

Foto Processing

2005–c.2015

Daniel Clulow, Opticians

2015–2017

Sunglass Hut

2017

West Country Pasty Company

4 Cornmarket Street in the censuses

1841

Joseph Hemmings (40), a cook, lived over the shop with Martha (40), plus Martha (15), Joseph (14), John (12), Hannah (10), William (8), and Esther (3), and four servants (one male and three female). This was the eponymous J. J. Hemmings who had dining rooms on this site by 1839.

1851

Joseph Hemmings junior (24), described as a cook and sausage maker, lived here over his shop with his wife Rebecca (26) and his sister-in-law Mrs Ann Trafford (28). (Their baby son Joseph Purser Hemmings had died here six weeks earlier on 24 February). Also living with them were six servants (a cook, two cook’s porters, two housemaids, and a kitchenmaid.

1861

Joseph Hemmings junior (34), described as a “Sausage maker”, now lived here over the shop with his wife Rebecca (36) and their children William (9), Edwin (4), and Agnes (1). They had two male and two female house servants.

1871

Joseph Hemmings junior (44), described as an eating house keeper & sausage maker, still lived here with his wife Rebecca (40) and his children Rebecca (17), Henry (15), who was an ironmonger's apprentice, and Agnes (10). They had one general servant.

1881

Joseph Hemmings (54), again described as a cook and sausage maker, was still living here with his wife Rebecca (56) and two of their children: Henry (25), who was an ironmonger, and Agnes (2). They now two female servants.

1891

John Pill (44), the keeper of the refreshment house downstairs, lived here with his wife Mary (29), who assisted him the business, and their daughters Mildred (11), Margaret (9), Agnes (6), and Ida (1). Mary's unmarried sister Ellen Preedy (25) and a cousin called Charles Druett also assisted. They had three servants (a housemaid, nurse, and kitchenmaid).

1901

Mary Pill (39), a widowed restaurant keeper, lived here with her daughters Margaret (19) and Agnes (16), who were shop assistants, her son Harold (7), and her niece Maude (24). Also living over the premises were a waitress, kitchenmaid, housemaid, nursemaid, cook, and general servant.

1911

William Robinson Thomas (28), described as chef manager, lived here with his wife Annie (30), described as the restaurant manageress. One waitress lived with them.

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