CORNMARKET, OXFORD

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26–27 Cornmarket Street: Pret à Manger


Timbered house

This building, which originally comprised three separate shops, probably dates from the fifteenth century and was altered in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. It belongs to Jesus College, and has always been in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church.

No. 26 is on the right and No. 27 is in the middle, and they are jointly Grade II listed (list entry 1047325). (The part on the left that goes around the corner (No. 28) is also listed, but under a separate reference.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to Salter, No. 26 Cornmarket was then in the occupation of Mr Wootten and No. 27 of Mr Townsend, and each had a frontage of exactly 4 yards.

26 to 28 Cornmarket in the 1920s

In the 1870s Abraham Zacharias (who had been a silversmith, jeweller, and watch & clock maker at 2 Cornmarket in the 1850s) set up his son Joel Zacharias in business here at No. 27 as a china and glass dealer.

In the late 1880s Joel Zacharias expanded into No. 26, and started selling waterproof clothing, and the two shops have been one since that date. By about 1896 the stopped selling china and glass altogether.

When Joel Zacharias died in 1905, the business was taken over by Henry Osborn King of Wolvercote, who was succeeded by his son Cecil. The business closed in 1983.

  • For extracts from an interesting early catalogue of Zacharias & Co, see Michael L. Turner and David Vaisey, Oxford Shops and Shopping, pp. 44–5.

 

Jesus College extensively restored this block in 1986–7 (planning application 85/00270/NFH).

 

Right: Nos. 26, 27, and 28 Cornmarket Street in the 1920s: a comparison with the modern photograph at the top of this page shows the extent of the restoration. Wett Off Coats are advertised on the Zacharias shop

Occupants of 26 and 27 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc.

Date

No. 27 (left) No. 26 (right)

1839–1852

Robert Couling
Tailor & Confectioner (1839–1842)

Confectioner (1846)

Robert Wharton
Foreign Fruit & Italian Warehouse


Italian, foreign fruit and fish sauce warehouse

Dealer in British wines, Italian oil and fish sauce

 

(also J. Harrison, Livery stable keeper, in 1839)

1867

John Piper
The Oxford Ale Stores

1872

Abraham Zacharias
China and glass warehouse

1880

Joel Zacharias
Glass and china depôt

Mrs Wharton
Foreign fruiterer & Italian warehouse

1890

26 & 27: J. Zacharias & Co., Waterproof clothing manufacturers
27: Joel Zacharias, China & glass dealer

1899–1976

Zacharias & Co., waterproof clothing manufacturers

1986

Laura Ashley

1998

Bonusprint

1999–2007

Sole Shoes

2008 to present

Pret A Manger

26–27 Cornmarket Street in the censuses

1841

No. 26: Robert Wharton (30), a fruiterer, lived over his shop with his brother Frederick Wharton (25), an assistant fruiterer. They had one female servant.

No. 27: Robert Couling (45), a tailor, lived here over his shop with Elizabeth (40), Charlotte (20), Harriet (12) and Elizabeth (10).

1851

No. 26: Robert Wharton (47), fruiterer, and his brother Frederick (37), assistant fruiterer, both still bachelors, continued to live here over their shop. They had one female servant.

No. 27: Robert Couling (55), a tailor, still lived here over his shop with with his wife Elizabeth (53) who was described a shopkeeper, and his daughters Elizabeth (20), and Harriet (22), who were respectively described as a mantua maker, and dressmaker.

1861

No. 26: Frederick Wharton (45), still unmarried and described as the brother of the head of the household and a fruiterer’s shopman, was again living over the shop on census night with their housekeeper, a widow of 58.

No. 27: Robert Couling (65) was still living over his shop with his wife Elizabeth (64) and his nephew Henry Faulkner (17), described as a tailor’s assistant.

1871

No listing for Nos. 26 & 27.

1881

No. 26: Maryanne Wharton (49), described as a widow and a fruiterer, lived here with her son Robert (19) and one general servant.

No. 27: Listed as uninhabited. Joel Zacharias (29) who had a shop here was still living with his parents at 1A Cornmarket.

1891

Nos. 26 & 27: Joel Zacharias (39), a waterproof manufacturer and glass & china dealer, had taken over both shops and lived upstairs with his wife Rebecca (27) and their children George (7) and Arthur (five months). They had a 16-year-old servant girl.

1901

Nos. 26 & 27: Joel Zacharias (49), waterproof manufacturer, still lived here over his shop with his wife Rebecca (39) and their sons George (17), Arthur (10), and Victor (5). They had one servant.

1911

No listing.

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