22–23 Cornmarket

22-23 Cornmarket

          Andrews at No. 22


The photograph above, taken in 2009, shows the shops at 22 and 23 Cornmarket occupied by W. H. Smith & Son. The present shop-front at ground-floor level dates from 1969.


The building to the north is 300 years older than its neighbour to the south.


No. 22 to the south was rebuilt in the early twentieth century. The photograph on the left shows how it used to match its neighbour.


No. 23 to the north is a Grade II listed building. It is in origin a seventeenth-century timber-framed house which was refronted in the eighteenth century and since restored. A seventeenth-century staircase and some eighteenth-century panelling survives at the back.


In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to Salter, 22 Cornmarket was then in the occupation of Mr Clark, and had a frontage of 9 yards, 0 ft. and 3 in., while No. 23 was occuied by Mr Terry and had a frontage of 9 yards, 0 ft. and 5 in.


Gillman & Son, boot & shoemakers, were at No. 23 for over 40 years. The firm started business in Holywell Street in 1861, then moved to George Street, and finally to 12 Broad Street, where they remained until their closure in 2002.

In the censuses


No. 22 is occupied by the grocer Richard Cross (25) and his wife Ruth (20) with a shopman William Tarrant and one female servant. In “Part of Cross House” is the architect John Dooricks (35) with Elizabeth (30), John (4), Edward (3), and one female servant.

No. 23 is occupied by the tailor Jonathan Fish [sic, for Fiske] and Esther (6), John (20 and an assistant), and Frederick (20). Also in the household are Marshal Spink (15), James Brown (who worked in the shop), and three female servants.


No. 22 is still occupied by the grocer Richard Cross (38), who was born in Twyford, his wife Ruth (32) and their children Thomas (8), Ruth (7), Elizabeth (5), Richard (4), Priscilla (2), and Jane (1). They have two female servants, and a shopman lodging with them. In the other part of the house are two visitors: William L. Wigan, the Vicar of East Malling in Kent, and his wife Caroline (20).

No. 23 is occupied by the woollen draper John M. Fiske (34), who is described as the son of the head of the household.


No. 22 is still occupied by the grocer Richard Cross (49), his wife Ruth (44) and eight of his children: Thomas (18, and a grocer’s assistant), Ruth (17), Priscilla (12), Ellen (9), Samuel (8), Sarah (7), Fanny (4), and Jane (6 months). Also in the household are Samuel Dutton (an apprentice of 15) and two house servants.

No. 23 is occupied by the woollen draper John Marshall Fiske (44), the employer of twelve men. He is a bachelor, and is living over the shop with his mother Esther (81), one draper’s assistant, and two house servants.


No. 22 is still occupied by Richard Cross (68) and his wife Ruth (63) and their daughter Ruth (37) and son Samuel (27), who is described as a grocer’s assistant. They have one general servant.

No. 23 is occupied by Emma Parker (a widow of 50), who is described as both the head of the household and a housekeeper, and her unmarried sister Sarah Ann Parker (38), who is a confectioner’s assistant.

Occupants of 22 Cornmarket and 23 Cornmarket listed in directories etc.


No. 23 (left) No. 22 (right)


Jonathan Fiske
Tailor, draper, &c
and Marshall Fiske
Agent for the Economic Life office (1839)

Fiske & Son, Woollen draper (1846–1867)
(+ Agents for the Economic Life
Assurance Office
in 1867)

Fiske & Son
Tailors, robe makers, and jewellers (1872)

Richard Cross
Grocer & cheesemonger
(later Grocer & tea dealer)


Took over the shop of Daniel Bolton


Lewis, Sons, and Parker
Tailors and robe makers


Gillman & Son

William Mayo, Cigar stores


W. H. Smith & Son
Booksellers, stationers, & newsagents


Samuel Green, Costumier
(Ramsay & Muspratt, Photographers upstairs


Richard Shops Ltd, Fashion specialists


Ramsey & Muspratt, Photographers


W. H. Smith & Son

Old pictures on other websites and in books

For an advertisement for the ales of William Mayo when he was at 22 Cornmarket, see Michael L. Turner and David Vaisey, Oxford Shops and Shopping, page 29, illustration 61; and for a bill from from R. Gillman dated 1891 when he was at No. 23, see ibid., p. 81, illustration 78.

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