62–65 Cornmarket Street: HSBC Bank

HSBC Bank in 2009

This present building was built in 1896/7 and is owned by Oxford City Council. It is Grade II listed (list entry 1186063). The former shops were here in the parish of St Martin's (Carfax) until that church was demolished in 1896, and the new building was in the parish of St Martin's & All Saints until All Saints Church was deconsecrated in 1971. It is now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate.

The four former properties on this site to 1896, including the Sun Inn

In the late eighteenth century Isaac Board, a saddler, had a fourth share in these four properties, which he had bought from William Denton. Following Board's death in 1794 they were divided up: his widow Sarah received No. 62, and Thomas Booth and William Carter the Nos. 63, 64, and 65.

  • No. 62: This was a shop with no premises behind. Arthur Frederick Rose bought it from the draper William Oliver on 10 December 1879 for £995, and the City of Oxford bought it from Rose for £2,500 on 20 April 1896.
  • Nos. 63 & 64: No. 63 (the Sun pub from at least 1605) was in behind No. 64 (the shop in front). They belonged to the wine merchant James Wickens in 1854. On 5 February 1896 City of Oxford bought these premises from Thomas Arthur Carr for £19,000
  • No. 65: This was a small house with the churchyard behind. It belonged first to Osney Abbey and then to Christ Church, and was acquired by the City of Oxford on 25 March 1895 in return for six acres in Sidelings and £1,000.

James Wickens senior was the licensee of the Sun Inn in 1839, and he was followed by James Wickens junior from 1839 to 1861. The flagon on the left below is inscribed:
and the one on the right which is probably of a later date reads:
“THE SUN” / WHOLESALE / Wine & Spirit Stores / 63, CORN MARKET / OXFORD

Two flagons of the Sun Inn

In 1896 the original shops here at Nos. 62, 63, 64, and 65 Cornmarket Street were demolished as part of the Carfax Improvement Scheme, which also saw the demolition of most of St Martin's Church to the south and the three shops in the old Crown Inn building to the north.

The present building since 1897

This present building was built in 1896/7 and is owned by Oxford City Council. It was designed by H. T. Hare as two shops plus an entrance to the right leading to the Sun Vaults. The shop on the corner to the south at Nos. 64/65 had large windows facing both Queen Street and Cornmarket, while the one to the north at No. 63 was smaller. The number 62 was no longer used.

In 1897 the tailor Frank East moved into the larger shop to the south, and the Sun Wine Vaults to the shop to the north.

In 1914 the London City and Midland Bank took over the Metropolitan Bank, so their branch at 61 Cornmarket (adjacent to this site closed). In the same year the London City & Midland Bank (later renamed the Midland Bank and now HSBC) moved into Frank East's former shop at 64 & 65 Cornmarket Street, and has remained there to the present day

The Sun Vaults remained down a passage to the right of the new building until the early 1920s.

The photographs below show the southern part of the new building (left) when it was Frank East’s draper’s shop and (right) after the Midland Bank had taken it over. The wall lantern in the photograph on the left advertises the Sun Billiard Rooms down the side passage: later this was the way into the Carfax Assembly Rooms.

No 65, draper's shop   Old Midland Bank

Carfax Assembly Rooms

In 1925 the Carfax Assembly Rooms were built to the right of the present bank building for Messrs Weeks & Co., replacing the Sun Vaults (see drawing in the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 19 August 1925, p. 14). This is presumably the firm of George E. Weeks & co., which had run the City Restaurant at 4 Cornmarket since 1909 and a baker's & confectioner's shop at 15 Cornmarket since 1905.

The assembly rooms were reached via a side passage. The downstairs premises were small and used for meetings, while the upstairs room where dances were held was larger, presumably spreading over part of Bank House above the bank.

In May 1936 Oswald Mosley held a meeting at the Carfax Assembly Rooms, and Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote to his mother that protestors were set upon by Blackshirt “stewards” armed with truncheons, adding:

Great damage to the Blackshirts was done by one of the dons of Christ Church [Frank Pakenham, later Long Longford], who, being struck over the head by a Blackshirt with a steel chain, was roused to a berserk fury.

In the 1960s the Oxford University Jazz Club met at the Carfax Assembly Rooms, and the Beatles performed here in February 1963.

In 1959 it cost 2s 6d. to go to a dance here, and Eddie Turton who came from Kidlington was the resident band at “the Carfax”, as it was known.

The Carfax Assembly rooms closed in the late 1960s, and in 1971 a change of use from shop, restaurant, and hall to shop was approved (planning application 71/19093/A_H).

Expansion of the Bank

In 1986 the Midland Bank expanded into the premises to the north to use it for offices (86/00771/NFH), and then changed it to banking use in 1988 (88/00990/NFH).

In 1999 the Midland Bank was renamed HSBC (Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation).

The FORMER houses on the site 62–65 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc. to 1896


No. 65 (left) No. 64 (middle) No. 63 (behind No. 64) No. 62 (right)





Charles Bowen
Linen draper

The Sun (aka the
Sun Stores
the Sun Vaults, and the
Sun Wine & Spirit Stores)

1605: Matthew Harrison

Later landlords (subject to University wine licences):
1793: Mary Davis
1823: Richard Gurden
1830: James Wickens sen.
1839–1861: James Wickens
1865: Frederick Rose
1867: Executors of the late
          Frederick Rose
1871: Charlotte Rose
1872: F. Rose
1880: Rose and Stringer
1884: Alfred F. Rose
1887: Alfred F. Rose (proprietor)
          and G. Lowles (manager)
1890: M. F. E. Bush, mgr

Not listed


Thomas Eldred


Harman John Howland

William Sumersford
Stationer & paper bag manufacturer



William  Oliver
Linen draper
& mourning


Phillips Bros,
Burton Ale Stores


Frank East
Linen draper, silk mercer, costume, mantle, and bonnet warehouse

A. Shepherd
Tailor & robe maker


Not listed (nor are
Nos. 59, 60 & 61 to north)

* Proprietors: Jonathan Lowndes (1872): T. F. Plowman (1880); Hugh Hall (1890) Other people listed in the Jackson’s Oxford Journal premises were:

  • 1839: Haldon & Lowndes, Publishers
  • 1846: Haldon & Lowndes, Stationers; and Henry Hall, Printer
  • 1867: United Kingdom Electric Telegraph Office; and S. E. Robinson, Auctioneer & estate agent
  • 1872: W. Peppercorn, Solicitor
  • 1880: Offices of the Oxford Corn Exchange Co. Ltd., and of the Oxfordshire Agricultural Society
  • 1890: Arthur Edwin Preston, Chartered Accountant
The PRESENT building at 62–65 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc. from 1898


64 & 65 (left)

Premises behind
(sometimes numbered 63)
& upstairs

No. 63 (right)
(sometimes numbered 62)


Frank East

Sun Wine & Spirit Stores

Sun Vaults public house
(Paul Roder & Son)

1901–1909: J. Holder
1921: Arthur Gerkin

Probably part of the Sun Vaults

(After 1925 it was a small shop to the right of the entrance to the new Carfax Assembly Rooms with a kiosk in the passage)


London City & Midland Bank Ltd


Midland Bank Ltd
by 1925





Gridiron Club from 1927–1947

YMCA from 1927 to 1947

Ministry of Labour in
Bank Chambers from 1945 to 1966

Co-op from 1949 to 1966
(listed from 1952 as the
Co-op Carfax Cafeteria

Orchid Rooms:
Orchid Restaurant in 1967

Stephanus P. Ora


Oxford & District
Co-operative Society Ltd


No listing


Oxford & District
Co-operative Society
Carpet Centre


Chaussures Ravel


No listing




Midland Bank
renamed HSBC in 1999

The former shops at 62–65 Cornmarket Street in the censuses


No. 62:The stationer Henry Sumersford (21) lived here with his sister Martha (26) as his housekeeper

No. 63: James Wickens, the landlord of the Sun, was obviously away on census night, as the only occupants were Frederick J. Wickens (16), described as the son of the head of the household, and a barmaid and a general servant.

No. 64: The linen-draper Harman J. Howland (31) lived over his shop. He was described as the employer of two men and two women, and these four lived on the premises with him. They had one female servant.

No. 65: The trunk-maker Thomas P. Pavier (35) lived here with his wife Eliza (33).


No. 62: William Sumersford (26), a coachman, lived here with his sister, Martha Sumersford, as his housekeeper. Both were unmarried.

No. 63: The Sun: John Slatter (41), a wine merchant’s clerk, lived here with a porter.

No. 64: William Oliver (46), linen draper lived here with his wife Eliza (42) and children Clara (5) and Horace (4). He was described as the employer of sixteen hands, and half of them (four shopwomen and four draper’s apprentices) lived over the shop with their master. The household had three female domestic servants.

No. 65: A mason’s labourer, Edward Simms (33) lived here with his wife Ann (39), who was the housekeeper for the offices below.


No. 62: William Sumersford (26), now a stationer, lived over his shop with his sister Martha (39).

No. 63: The Sun Vaults: Eliza Rose (37), the housekeeper of the head of the household (presumably the current landlady Charlotte Rose) lived here with a cook and the hotel manager, Richard Wellington.

No. 64: Two servants, seven shop assistants, a clerk, and an apprentice lived over Frank East's drapery store.

No. 65: John Archer (42), a general labourer, was the lodger here with his wife Jemima (36), described as a housekeeper. Four draper's salesmen also lived on the premises.


No. 62: Now the Burton Ale Stores, the living accommodation is listed as unoccupied.

No. 63: The “Sun Wine Vaults” at No. 63 were occupied by the widow Mrs Eliza Rose (69), described as head of the household and presumably the owner of the business. Living with her were Edward Stokes, described as her servant, who was a “Manager Wine Merchant”, and a female general servant.

No. 64: A draper’s assistant, Thomas Baker (26) was the head of the household over Shepherd’s tailor’s shop. Eight other young draper’s assistants (three male and five female) and one draper’s apprentice also lived in the household, and they had just one 16-year-old girl serving as a domestic servant. (Arthur Shepherd (47), their employer, lived in Woodstock Road with his wife and four children.)

No. 65: John Archer (53), a general labourer, still lived here with his wife Jemima (46), who was the housekeeper for the offices on the ground floor.


No. 62 & 63: Sun Wine Vaults: Martin Bush (32), a wine & spirit merchant's manager, lived here with his wife Emily (31) and their children Emily (8) and Dorothy (6). They had two general servants.

No. 64: Thirteen draper's assistants boarded here, looked after by two domestic servants.

No. 65: George Phillips (24), a solicitor, lived here with two servants (both described as caretakers).

Rebuilt in 1896/7

Nos. 62 & 63:Josiah Holder (49), a wine merchant, lived here with his son-in-law Percy Parker (28), who was his assistant in the business, his daughter Ada Parker (28), who acted as his housekeeper, and his grandchildren Grace Parker (5) and Donald Parker (1). A barmaid lived with them, and they had two domestic servants.

Nos. 64 & 65: Ernest Wilson (38), a draper's assistant, lived over Frank East's draper's shop with ten boarders (seven other draper's assistants, one draper's apprentice, a milliner, and a dressmaker), plus two domestic servants.


Nos. 62 & 63: Paul Loder (51), publican, lived in five rooms here at the Sun Vaults with his wife Carrie (31) and his son Fred (22), who assisted in the business, and their general servant.

Nos. 64 & 65: Ernest Edward Wilson (48), the unmarried manager of Frank East's drapery establishment, lived in nine rooms over this shop with ten members of his staff: two buyers, five shop assistants, a housekeeper, and a domestic servant.

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