13–20 Cornmarket Street: Northgate House

13-20 Cornmarket

In 1963 the eight shops at 13–20 Cornmarket were replaced by the giant block above, known as Northgate House and owned by Jesus College. It is in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church, as were the former buildings on the site.

This block in turn is likely to be replaced after 45 years, as in August 2018 Jesus College was granted planning permission (18/00258/FUL) for the following:

“demolition of the existing building to ground level and the erection of a replacement building to provide replacement commercial units on the basement, ground and first floors, and new teaching facilities, ancillary accommodation and student fellows rooms on the upper floors for Jesus College.”

Oxford Mail, 2 March 2018:
REVEALED: New building on Cornmarket planned to create Oxford 'market quarter'

This page deals primarily with the present large block. For a sub-tour giving details of the occupants of the eight original shops on this site (which included two old pubs: the Bell and the Star & Garter), follow this pointer: Next

1876 map

The 1876 map (left) shows the eight shops (Nos. 13–20) that stood on the site, with the inn towards the north being the White Hart at No. 21, which was also demolished.

The Star & Garter pub at No. 20 is marked P.H.

The Bell Inn at No. 18 to the south is marked Inn.

Former shops on this site

The old shops here are shown on the right in c.1905, running north from No. 13 on the corner of Market Street to No. 20 (next door to No. 21, marked BUOLS on the roof, which was the former White Hart Hotel).

In 1935 Nos. 18, 19 & 20 Cornmarket were demolished and replaced by a building occupied by Marks & Spencer. This shop was so popular that in 1939 the premises were extended northwards into the former Buol's Hotel at 21 Cornmarket.

In 1960 planning permission (60/10055/A_H) was granted to demolish the eight shops at 13–20 Cornmarket Street (plus 11–19 Market Street and the Crown & Thistle public house around the corner), and replace them with a new block for Marks & Spencer. No. 21 was also rebuilt for Milward & Sons Ltd at this time.

Of the shops in Cornmarket Street that were demolished, Nos. 13–17 and 21 were old buildings, but Nos. 18–20 were the relatively new ones built for Marks & Spencer in 1934–5.

Northgate House

A photograph showing this massive new block that was built in 1960 can be seen in Julie Kennedy, The Changing Faces of Oxford City Centre, Book 1, p. 45 (with the earlier Marks & Spencer shop at Nos. 18–20 shown in the photograph above on the same page).

Marks & Spencer only remained in this new block for thirteen years, and n 1976 it swapped its premises with those of the Co-op in Queen Street.

From 1985 the Co-op only used the basement of the building as a food hall, and the ground floor was let out as separate shops (planning determination 84/00412/S; planning application 84/00844/NF; new shop fronts 84/00844/NF).

Occupants of Northgate House at 13–20 Cornmarket Street listed in directories


Unit A
on left
Unit B
middle left
Unit C
middle right
Unit D
on right


Marks & Spencer Ltd


The Co-op moved here from Queen Street in 1976, after swapping buildings with Marks & Spencer

The ground floor was divided up into independent shop units in 1984,
but Co-op Food remained in the basement


South half  of

Virgin Megastore

Miss Selfridge

Clinton Cards


Zavvi Music

Fat Face Clothes



River Island



American Candy


Vacant except for Fat Face, pending the demolition of the building

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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