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).

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 8 yards 0 feet 0 inches.

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

George Valentine Cox (1786–1875), the author of Recollections of Oxford (1868) lived here in the 1860s: he had previously lived in Cowley House, now part of St Hilda’s College. He is described in the 1861 census as an Esquire Bedel: a widower of 75, he was living here with his three spinster daughters

In 1867 this house was then altered into a shop. Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 19 October 1867 reports:

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.

In 1871 the shop was occupied by the Scottish tailor Joseph A. Muir, who lived upstairs with his family.

By the time of the 1881 census, this shop had tenants upstairs: a college servant, with his wife and two children. 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: 3 August, 2016

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