Oxford History: The High


34: Reginald Davis

34 High Street

No. 34 has an eighteenth-century front, possibly on a seventeenth-century house. It is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1047278). It was in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

This was a private house until 1867.

In 1696 Sir Robert Harrison, twice Mayor of Oxford, paid tax on twenty windows at this house.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to Salter, No. 34 was then in the occupation of a Mr Wickham, and its frontage measured exactly 8 yards.

The surgeon James Hester was here until about 1840, but by the time of the 1841 census the house was occupied by the solicitor John Matthews and his three female servants.

At the time of the 1851 census this house was occupied by Anne Prichard, an annuitant, with her two daughters, her granddaughter, and two servants.

George Valentine Cox (1786–1875), the author of Recollections of Oxford (1868) who had previously lived in Cowley House (now part of St Hilda’s College), lived here at the time of the 1861 census: a widower of 75 described as an Esquire Bedel, he was accompanied by his three spinster daughters

In 1867 this house was changed into a shop. Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 19 October that year reported:

The house formerly occupied by Mr Valentine Cox, in the High-street, has been altered on the ground floor, so as to afford a shop widow for Mr Muir, the present occupant. It is not an example of any particular school of art, yet the effect is decidedly pleasing.

The Scottish tailor Joseph A. Muir was living upstairs with his family in 1871.

By the time of the 1881 census, this shop had tenants upstairs: a college servant, with his wife and two children.

In 1891 Robert Simmons (62), a tailor, lived upstairs with his wife Elizabeth, who kept a small lodging house here, and thir daughter and servant.

The well-known Oxford photographer Henry Taunt moved to this shop in about 1895 from No. 41 High Street, and he remained here until 1906, when he removed all his work to his home on the Cowley Road.

Occupiers of 34 High Street


James T. Hester, Surgeon


John Matthews, Solicitor


Revd C. E. Prichard


G. V. Cox, Esq., Esquire bedel


J. A. Muir, Tailor & robe maker; agent for Muir’s archery


H. J. Wheeler, Boot & shoe maker


Alan John Adamson, Tailor


Sidney Biggs & Co, Booksellers & stationers


Henry W. Taunt & Co., Photographers


Louis Valette, Church repository


Victor R. E. Drewe, Hairdresser


Oliver Smith, Antique furniture dealer (1932)
The Antiquary (1935–1939)


Reginald Davis, Jewellers

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 19 July, 2018

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