Oxford History: The High


20: Oxford Blue Clearance

19-20 High Street


The group of five shops numbered 19–23 High Street dates from the late eighteenth century, and the upstairs rooms were converted to Brasenose College accommodation around 1930.


No. 20 (on the right of the building shown) is Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1369358).

The 1851 census shows Joseph B. Hillier (25), described as a “Draper (firm of 2)” living over this shop with three draper’s assistants and two servants. From 1853 he is listed in directories as a partner of J. C. Thorp; but in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 21 April 1855 Thorp announced he was discontinuing his business here to devote his entire attention to his Broad Street business, and A. H. Folker from London took over the premises.

By 1861 Richard Rowell, a watch and clock maker employing four men and one boy, lived here with his wife, a shop assistant, a house servant, and an errand boy. He was still there in 1871 when he was a widower, living with his assistant and nephew Thomas Rowell.

By the time of the 1881 census, the accommodation above the shop was rented out to a gardener and his wife and son.

The jewellers Rowell & Son became established in Oxford in 1797, and originally operated from 36 Broad Street. They moved to this shop in 1861, where they remained for 24 years before moving on to larger premises at 115 High Street in 1885.

Occupiers of 20 High Street


Butler & Margetts, Printsellers


Henry Hodgkinson, Chemist

By 1852–1855

John Charles Thorp & Co. (Thorp & Hillier in 1853), Hatter & gentlemen’s mercer


A. H. Folker, Hosier, glover, hatter, shirt-maker & outfitter


Richard Rowell, Watch makers, jewellers, & opticians
Later Rowell & Son, and Rowell & Co., and (for 1884 only) Rowell & Harris


William Innes, Printseller, carver, gilder, & picture-frame maker


Shepperd Brothers, Robe makers [plus No. 21]


Oxford University Co-operative Society Limited


Leslie Davey, later Leslie Davey & West, Jewellers


Black Sheep Galleries


Oxford Blue (Oxford Blue Clearance in 2016, with new Oxford Blue shop at No. 23)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 August, 2016

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