CORNMARKET, OXFORD

Back
Next

Cornmarket Timeline


Cornmarket Street was originally called Northgate Street, because it ran from Carfax to the North Gate of the city. All the street except for a a few houses at the north end lay inside the old city wall.

The southern end used to be in the parish of St Martin, and the rest in the parish of St Michael at the Northgate.

Date

Event

1000

The street later called Cornmarket already one of the main commercial areas of Oxford

c.1050

Surviving Saxon Tower of Church of St Michael-at-the-Northgate built

1255

Northgate Street (later Cornmarket) already marks the east–west divide of the four city wards

1260

Record of skinners’ quarter on the site of the Golden Cross

1536

Dr John Claymond had a lead roof supported on stone pillars erected in the middle of the street so that “thereby in wet seasons sacks of corne might be preserved from the violence of the weather”. Henceforth Northgate Street was known as Cornmarket

1644

The roof of the corn market was demolished to provide lead for bullets during the civil war

1695

Wooden water pipes were laid in Cornmarket

1771

North Gate and Bocardo Prison demolished

1774

Cornmarket was widened

1810

Last use of pillory and whipping post in centre of Cornmarket opposite Frewin Court

1822

The City Church of St Martin’s on the south-west corner rebuilt

1863

Star Inn acquired by the Clarendon Hotel Company and renamed the Clarendon Hotel.

1864

Large new premises for the grocer Grimbly Hughes were built at 56 Cornmarket

1882

Tram-route to North Oxford laid from Carfax through Cornmarket

1896

City Church of St Martin demolished except for its tower

1896/7

Metropolitan Bank Ltd (later Midland/HSBC) built at SW end of Cornmarket

1900

White Hart Inn at No. 21 replaced by a hotel and restaurant

1901

Lloyds Bank built on the south-east corner of Carfax

1924

Woolworth’s took over the old Roebuck Hotel, demolishing the original building at No. 8

1936

Austin Reed gents’ outfitters opened in No. 38; closed 2016

1954/5

Old Clarendon Hotel demolished to make way for a new Woolworth’s and Clarendon House

1955

Rubber surface laid on road proved to be too dangerous in wet weather and was removed

1963

Grimbly Hughes replaced by Littlewoods

Marks & Spencer rebuiilt the store they had occupied since the 1930s

1973

The pavements were widened, the kerbs were removed, and Cornmarket was closed to all vehicles except buses, taxis, and vehicles requiring access

1983

Woolworth’s closed, and the present Clarendon Centre was created

1986/7

Golden Cross closed, and Golden Cross Way was created, with 13 new shops, a restaurant, and a bar.

1999

Cornmarket Street fully pedestrianised following removal of all buses

2001

Disastrous attempt to repave Cornmarket: the granite sets cracked and the contractor went into liquidation. Voted second-worst street in Britain in a Today programme poll the following year

2003

Cornmarket repaved again, and controversial new seats installed

Oxford History Home

© Stephanie Jenkins

Cornmarket Home