CORNMARKET, OXFORD

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32 Cornmarket


Site of 32 Cornmarket

William Baker House (now occupied by Waterstone’s) was built on the site of 32 Cornmarket in 1914. The Oxford Chronicle of 9 October 1914 reported as follows:

“The erection of important business premises has been commenced at the corner of Broad Street and Cornmarket Street which upon completion will provide extensive show rooms, etc., for Messrs. William Baker & Co., of Broad Street. Accommodation has also been arranged for Messrs Martyr’s hairdressing establishment. The buildings will take a curved line uniting the street improvement scheme, and will be in Ancaster stone with Stonesfield slating to the fronts. The elevation will be divided into six bays with coupled columns to the height of the first and second floors, above polished Ancaster stone piers on the ground floor; and enriched cornice occurs over the third-floor windows, above which the roof will spring.

The building on this corner that had to be demolished to make way for William Baker House was unspectacular, flat-roofed, and low, with no name or number.


In the censuses

1851

The house is occupied by Frederick Irwin (47), a London-born hairdresser, and his wife Elizabeth (45) and one gentleman lodger.

1861

The house is occupied by Frederick Irwin (57), who was born in London and described as a hairdresser employing one man. He is living with his Oxford-born wife Esther (57) and his wife’s niece, Elizabeth Sutton (34). (In 1841, Irwin was at 25 Cornmarket Street.)

1881

The building is listed as uninhabited. It is likely that Frederick Irwin had recently retired, as although he is listed here in directories he is actually lving at 2 St John’s Villas, Blackhall Road. A widower of 71, he is described as a retired hairdresser, and is living with his niece, Miss Elizabeth Sutton, who is his housekeeper.

Occupants of 32 Cornmarket listed in directories etc.

1841

No listing

1852–1881

Frederick Irwin, Hair dresser & perfumer

1890–c.1913

Alfred Martyr, Hair dresser

(+ Buckell & Ballard upstairs with Broad Street entrance and address from 1894)

1914

The corner was rebuilt as Wi9lliam Baker House

1914–1932

Martyr Bros, Hairdressers

Martyr Bros is listed at 31A in 1935 and 1936,
but thereafter there is no listing at all for No. 32

Old pictures on other websites and in books

No. 32 on the corner in 1910 by Henry Taunt, when the old corner building was occupied by Martyr’s Hairdresser and Buckell & Ballard

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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