Oxford History: The High


42: Olives

42 High Street

No. 42 is the left-hand half of this timber-framed building, which dates from the sixteenth or seventeenth century (although the front was modernized in the eighteenth century). It is jointly Grade II listed with No. 43 next door (List Entry No. 1047281).

The building is owned by The Queen’s College, and the back has been incorporated into the Queen’s Lane quad behind: this can be glimpsed through the gate between the two shops.

In 1696 Thomas Higgs paid tax on 14 windows of this whole house.

At the time of the 1861, 1871, and 1881 censuses, James Hervey Hill, the chemist in this shop, lived upstairs with a housekeeper.

In 1901 the chemist Herbert Gunstone lived there with two servants.

Link lodgings

The University Link Lodgings were behind Nos. 42–43 (numbered 42a) and behind Nos. 44 and 45 (numbered 44A). They once contained fourteen sets of rooms.

In 1871 there were seven households here in apartments numbered 1–7 Fidler's Court, while Hannah Quarterman, a lodging house keeper, was living at what was described as No. 44A with her two daughters, a domestic servant aged 15, and just two lodgers.

The Sanitary Inspector’s report in 1885 stated:

“This is an old lathe and plaster house in fair repair. The rooms are well lighted and ventilated except the Kitchen. The top landing is well lighted and ventilated but the lower passages are dark. The WC is situated in the hall and is well lighted and ventilated and the apparatus is good being a shorthopper well flushed from a waste preventer. The drain is ventilated by a 3 inch pipe. The Scullery sink is not trapped or properly disconnected. The Kitchen and scullery are both dirty and the Kitchen is not ventilated.”

In 1886, when the landlord of the Link Lodgings was Norman E. Minty (the cabinet maker at Nos. 44 and 45), most of the rooms were converted into business premises, although two sets of rooms continued to be licensed to be let at rents of 28s. and 23s. per week.

In 1881 the Link Lodgings at 42 were occupied by an unemployed college servant, his wife, six children, and a housemaid.

Charles Bacon, a bookseller, operated from both Nos. 42 and 44 in 1876, presumably from the ground floor of the Link Lodgings behind Nos. 42–45.

Occupiers of 42 High Street


Elizabeth Green, Toy Warehouse

Jane Godfrey, Milliner & Dressmaker


George Cecil, Chemist and druggist

By 1852–1899

James Hervey Hill, Chemist


Herbert C. Gunstone, Chemist


William Ambrose, Chemist (and Post and Telegraph Office from 1925)


Cameron Price, Chemist & post office


University Insurance Brokers Ltd


Minrock, Rock & mineral specialists

By 1998–2006

Neg O Zio, Ladies’ fashion


Olives Delicatessen

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 August, 2016

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