Former houses at 18–20 Cornmarket Street

These three houses stood on the north part of the site of Northgate House until 1960. They were always in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate, and included two pubs: the Bell Inn at No. 18 (which closed in 1912), and the Star & Garter pub at No. 20 (which survived as the Tunnel Hotel until 1934).

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to Salter, the three houses on this site were then occupied as follows:

  • 18 Cornmarket occupied by Mr Cox, with a frontage of 3 yards, 2 ft. and 9 in.
  • 19 Cornmarket occupied by Mrs Marsh, with a frontage of 4 yards, 1 ft. and 7 in.
  • 20 Cornmarket occupied by Mr Box, with a frontage of 5 yards, 1ft. and 11 in.

Photograph showing these three narrow houses in 1901: The Star & Garter (No. 20) is to the right of the White Hart Hotel, then comes Orpwood's saddle shop with his name across the front (No. 19), and then the Bell Inn with its name on the gable (No. 18).

This site was redeveloped twice in the twentieth century on both occasions for Marks & Spencer. In 1935 the three houses here at 18–20 Cornmarket were demolished, and the start of their removal of can be seen in Julie Kennedy, The Changing Faces of Oxford City Centre, Book 1, p. 41.

They were replaced by an earlier, smaller Marks & Spencer store, which can be seen in the upper photograph in Julie Kennedy, The Changing Faces of Oxford City Centre, Book 1, p. 45. The shop opened on 10 May 1935, and was so popular that it had extended its premises northwards to include 21 Cornmarket by November 1939.

Just 25 years later in 1960 this new store was demolished at the same time as five old shops to the south and replaced by the enormous block of Northgate House at 13–20 Cornmarket Street, and Marks & Spencer moved on to the site of the eight old shops.

Occupants of 18–20 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc.


No. 20 (left)
The Star & Garter

No. 19

No. 18 (right)
The Bell Inn


Landlords (not subject to
university wine licences)

Star & Garter
1794: Edward Turrell
1823: J. Lane
1830: Kesia Lane
1839–1852: William Nickols
1867–1899: Shillingford & Blake

Wine & spirit merchants
1901–1904: W. G. Phillips & Sons

Star & Garter Hotel
(The Tunnel)

1905–1909: W. G. Phillips & Sons
1911, 1914: Samuel J. Pickering
1921: Mrs Pickering
1932: Oswin Greenwood

Tunnel Hotel
1925–1932: Oswin Greenwood


(Wenborn & Son, cutlers,
were also here in 1925–1930)

Richard Chaundy

Landlords (subject to
university wine licences)

1823: John Northgrove [sic]
1830–1842: Ann Norgrove
1845–1850: James Prior
1852–1855: Francis Octavius
      Thompson (son-in-law of Prior)
1861–1867: John Mayo
      Wine, spirit, and
      cigar merchant

1871–1872: William Barrett
1881: William Powell
1884: H. J. Beechey
1885–1890: Josiah William Charlton
1899: Arthur Rowland Hughes
1901–1902: William Preston
1904–1906: George West
1907: John Godley
1909: Herbert Byles
1911: Percy Chavasse

Also J. R. Mallam by 1909


George Brown


Robert Baxter


Mrs Prichard
Boot & shoe manufacturer


William Samuel Orpwood

Mrs Emma Orpwood
in 1880–1890

William Samuel Orpwood
from 1899


Smith & Co

George Bryan & Co

with offices upstairs, e.g.
Mallam & Son
Auctioneers & Surveyors in 1921 and
Mallam, Payne & Dorn,
auctioneers in 1925–1930



James Walker Ltd



These three houses were demolished and replaced by a modern block


Marks & Spencer
(with No. 21 as well by1947)


Rebuilt as the new Marks & Spencer store,
which replaced these three old buildings and another five to the north

18–20 Cornmarket Street in the censuses


No. 18 (Bell Inn): The victualler James Prior (40) lived here with Eliza Prior (40), and Emma and Harriet Prior (9 and 6). They had one female servant, and on census night one independent lady was staying at the inn.

No. 19: George Brown (55), cheesemonger, lived over his shop with his wife Mary (55) and Ann Waddin (30) and Mary Waddin (2). They had one female servant.

No. 20 (Star & Garter): William Nickols (50) lived here with his wife Ann (45), and his five children Harriet (20), William (15), Charles (12), Henry (8), and Ann (6). There were three servants (one male and two female), and two guests. (By 1861 Nickols was at the Anchor Inn at 25A Cornmarket.)


No. 18 (Bell Inn): The innkeeper Miss Mary Prior (25) lived here with her two sisters Emma (20) and Harriett (17) as assistants. They had a lodger (Francis Thompson (22), a Derby-born china merchant), and also living with them was a domestic servant and a porter. Their lodger Thompson had taken over the pub by 1852.

No. 19: George Brown (68), cheesemonger, was still here with his wife Mary (70) and one female servant.

No. 20 (Star & Garter): William Nickols (65) was still innkeeper and lived here with his wife Ann (55) and four of their children: Harriet (28), William (26), described as his father’s assistant); Henry (19), apprenticed from home; and Ann (16). Also living with them was Nickols’s niece Jane Roberts, who was a dressmaker, and an ostler and a house servant.


No. 18 (Bell Inn): John Mayo (31), described as a wine and spirit merchant rather than a landlord, lived here with his wife Celia (30) and his three children: Alice (8), William (6), and Laura (2). They had two female servants and a male porter.

No. 19: The bootmaker Robert Baxter (a widower of 54) lived over the shop with a female shop assistant and house servant.

No. 20 (“Star & Garter”): The pub was now owned by Shillingford & Blake, and there was no live-in landlord: it was occupied by a brickmaker.


No. 18 (Bell Inn): William Barratt (39), licensed victualler, lived here with his wife Sarah (37) and his children Caroline (16), William (14), John (12), Edward (10), Charlotte (8), Samuel (4), and Frederick (2). They had a 15-year-old servant girl and a lodger.
Two other households were listed as living in the Bell Yard. Charles Fitzgerald (35), a coachman lived there with his wife Fanny (28) and his children Alice (4) and Ann (six months), while Charles Bennett (45), a bookbinder, lived alone.

No. 19: No listing.

No. 20 (“Star & Garter”): John Slatter (52), a managing clerk, lived here with three servants (two assistants and a housemaid.


No. 18 (Bell Inn): William S. Powell (34), described as an inn-keeper, lived here with his wife Carolina (34) and children Percy (12), Richard (10), Edith (8), William (6), and Daisy (1). Also living at the inn were his father William (55), described as an engineer, and his mother Maria (60). They had two general servants (one male, one female), and a barmaid. Another household is listed as living in Bell Yard.

No. 19: The widowed saddler & harness-maker Emma Orpwood (44) lived here with her children Emma (19), Georgina (17), William (14), described as a saddler’s assistant), Harry (11), Frank (9), Sidney (8), and Alice (4). They had a 15-year-old female general servant

No. 20 (“Star & Garter”): was still owned by Shillingford & Blake and was occupied by the cellarman James Rowles (49), his wife Eliza (51), and his son Albert (17), who was a pupil teacher. Also living on the premises were two barmaids.


No. 18 (Bell Inn): Josiah William Charlton (33), inn keeper, lived here with his wife Nellie (33) and their children Frederick (8), Gertrude (6), Mabel (4), Lillian (2), and Olive (seven months). They had one lodger and one servant.

Two houses in the Bell Yard are listed as uninhabited.

No. 19: Uninhabited: probably part of the saddlery downstairs.

No. 20 (“Star & Garter”): The pub was occupied by his housekeeper and two barmaids.


No. 18 (Bell Inn): William Preston (51), publican, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (47) and his sister Fanny Preston (47). Two barmaids also lived with them.

No. 19: Uninhabited, but in occupation: probably part of the saddlery downstairs.

No. 20: Part uninhabited but in occupation, and the other part occupied by Mrs Lydia Gass (32), the housekeeper in charge, and her daughter Dorothy (5), plus two barmaids.


No. 18: No listing: the Bell Inn had just closed down.

No. 19: No listing: probably part of the saddlery downstairs.

No. 20 (The Tunnel): Samuel James Pickering (50), licensed victualler, lived in seven rooms over this pub with his wife Matilda (44) and daughter Olive (23), who both assisted him in the business, plus a servant.

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